2008/07/25

The Blue Diamonds

The Blue Diamonds were two brothers Ruud and Riem de Wolff. They were born in Indonesia and moved to the Netherlands in 1949. Their break came in 1959 with the single "Till I Kiss You". They covered many Everly Brothers' songs, but they became very famous with an up tempo version of a musical song, "Ramona", originally sang by Dolores del Rio. The song topped the hits charts in Belgium, Norway and Germany. A Spanish version was released later and also became a big hit in Mexico and Spain. Their popularity gradually spreaded to the S.E. Asia region.
Some of their greatest hits over the years included Near You, Mona Lisa, All Of Me, Jealousy, Baby Face, Always, Margie, Sukiyaki, Pagan Love Song, Little Ship, Cathy's Clown, Rio Nights, Let It Be Me, Save The Last Dance For Me, among many others.

2 comments:

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

There was a time in my life when The Blue Diamonds meant more to me than did any other acts in pop music. Oh, how I worshipped those two brothers, Ruud and Riem de Wolff, with all my heart and with all my soul when I was a young brat.

That was right smack during my most favorite period of my life in Singapore, too, between 1960 and 1963, when Cliff Richard and The Shadows overshadowed everyone else on the radio and on records.

The Blue Diamonds were quickly dubbed The Everly Brothers of Holland. This period was the heyday of The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil charting with one big hit record after another with their perfect harmony back then that still sends chills down my spine even today.

Rediffusion came into our home in the early 60's, and I always looked forward to "Top Tunes Of The Week." Loved to follow the weekly progress of the records that I liked, watched how they would jump up from #5 to #1, and how they would stay at #1 for three weeks before being bumped off by another favorite on the rise.

I believe that the first Blue Diamonds song that caught my attention was "Oh Carol." Neil Sedaka's original hit version was excellent, but this other rendition was also very interesting to me.

Maybe it was the rhythmic strumming on the neck of the lead guitar that thrilled me, or maybe it was the boys' distinctive harmonizing, or maybe it was their shrill "Ooooooooooooooo" intro, or maybe it was their cheeky intonation in the middle,
"Oh Carol,
I am but a fool,
Darling, I love you
Though you treat me cool;
You hurt me
And you make me cry,
But if you leave me,
I will surely die!"

In retrospect, what probably captivated me the most about The Blue Diamonds was the way they looked and the way they sounded. Even though the two brothers had Dutch names, they did not look or sound like the typical Caucasian Europeans. They looked like Malay to me, and they had our type of Southeast Asian accent, and - wow! - their records were on the radio!!! It wasn't until years later that I found out that they were born in Indonesia. For the longest time, I thought they were from Malaya.

And their name, The Blue Diamonds. What a fabulous name. I loved it. It just connoted something really rare and precious, and Ruud and Riem de Wolff were precisely that, rare and precious in the world of pop music.

I like it that they were never afraid to release new versions of their past hits. Of course, this could probably be because they got more lucrative recording contracts in their later years than what they got when they started in 1959 and the early 60's, so more power to them.

But it's their original hit recordings that are near and dear to me, the ones with their boyish voices. In more retrospect, my two most favorite Blue Diamonds recordings from the early 60's are "Oh Carol" and "Little Ship."

"Little Ship, keep sailin',
Sailin' cross the sea,
Bring my lovin' baby
Safely home to me."

vintagehits said...

The Blue Diamonds are my all-time favourite duo.

I have several of their CDs. When I had Riem autograph them at a charity do a couple of years ago, he gave me two pecks on the cheeks. Felt like a teenager again. I was sorry to have missed his get-together last year. Hoping he will come again this year.

I love Carmen My Love best.

Can anyone help me get Tokyo Geisha please?