Jim Diamond

Still gigging - Jim Diamond

One of the surprising and agreeable side-effects of writing rude and unpleasant things about Scottish "musicians" has been the assistance that other musicians have given us in preparing articles. We won't mention any names, but you know who you are and your assistance is much appreciated.

The main dilemma that confronts us when we are preparing an article is whether the "artiste" is going to end up in Good Pop or Bad Pop. For some, like Neil Reid and Lena Zavaroni, it's a no-brainer. For others like Rod Stewart, we sit on the fence and put them into both Good and Bad Pop.

When we started this article, Jim Diamond was heading towards the Bad Pop section. But with the assistance of one of Jim's old pals, we have been persuaded to deposit him, with respect and affection, into Good Pop.

It might be worth putting the man into some context before embarking on the body of this article. Bob Geldolf mentions Jim in a biography. It was during the time that Band Aid was being organised and the Band Aid single was due for release:

"At Number 1 that week was a singer called Jim Diamond who had never had a hit record before. I heard him interviewed about his success and he said:

"I'm delighted to be Number 1, but next week I don't want people to buy my record, I want them to buy Band Aid ".

I couldn't believe it …….. I knew what it cost him to say that. He had just thrown away his first hit for others. It was genuinely selfless."
Which "Gully Foyle" is Jim Diamond? A clue: look for a hairy hippy doing the peace sign.
Which "Gully Foyle" is Jim Diamond? A clue: look for a hairy hippy doing the peace sign.

Aye well, Geldolf doesn't know as much about music as he may pretend. "I Should Have Known Better" was Jim Diamond's second top 3 hit in the UK.

Jim Diamond, born in Glasgow in 1953, stocky, red headed, fiery tempered and absolutely and passionately committed to music, has been a professional musician since his late teens. His introduction to the world of professional touring was on the European circuit with Scottish band Gully Foyle in the early '70s.

How much the experience of playing on the same bill as Sacha Distel in Southern France affected him, or having his Old Spice after-shave bartered in exchange for the waiver of cross border tariffs. It may even have been the squelchy soundtrack to the act of horizontal jogging with a Fraulein or two, on top a long forgotten sack of grapes in the back of a tour van.
More Gully Foyle. Jim is 2nd from left. Fashion experts will be able to pinpoint the date, the month, and probably "Man at C&A"
More Gully Foyle. Jim is 2nd from left. Fashion experts will be able to pinpoint the date, the month, and probably "Man at C&A"

Whatever, he parted company with Gully Foyle to form Bandit. They were signed by Arista and released a debut album which was brilliantly timed to coincide with the explosion of punk music in 1977. It sank without trace and the band split shortly afterwords.

Many musicians have experiences that either form or underpin their later careers. With Alex Harvey it was the discipline and work ethic associated with five years as a session musician in a London West End musical. With Jim Diamond, it was probably his time with Alexis Korner, the "Godfather of British Blues".

Although he features on only one Alexis Korner album (Just Easy, 1978), it was a good time and for some time afterwards (and who knows, maybe he still does), he was carrying around in his passport, a piece of Welsh heather that Alexis had given him.

There was an LA period in the late 70's with some Bowie and Rod Stewart session musicians before he returned to the UK in the early 80's and formed PhD with a couple of Jeff Beck Band musicians.
Alexis Korner - the "Godfather of British Blues"
Alexis Korner - the "Godfather of British Blues"

An album, imaginatively titled "PhD", was released in 1982. It met with commercial and critical success and spawned the single "I Won't Let You Down", a multi-million selling hit which has gone on to become a classic in its own right. Another single, "I Don't Know", featuring Jeff Beck, dived in the UK but had much more success in Europe.

PhD only lasted a couple of years. A bout of Hepatitis took it's toll. With musicians, if you ain't workin' you ain't earnin' and Jim wasn't workin.

When he made his return in 1984, it was as a solo artist with A&M, one of the more respected labels of the era. 1984 saw the release of his signature tune and number one UK hit, "I should have known better". His co-writer was Benny Gallagher of Gallagher and Lyle, stablemates at A&M and a fellow Scot.

Even now, nearly 20 years later, the distinctive voice and fabulous melodies make this a stand-out track and one that most musicians would be proud to call their own.

That was as good as it got. He had a final top 10 hit in 1986 with the theme tune to a television detective programme and has been pretty quiet commercially since then.
Jim Diamond today - move your mouse over the photo to see what he would look like with hair
Jim Diamond today - move your mouse over the photo to see what he would look like with hair

But commercial silence and musical activity are not mutually exclusive. Jim has been playing with Snake Davis, - of 'M People' and 'Eurythmics' fame, in 'The Blue Shoes', to enthusiastic audiences for the last couple of years.

We have his site bookmarked http://jimdiamond.pedisol.com/, and will be happy to publish Scottish dates for him.

We think he's earned that, at least.

Jim Diamond

Just glad to hear that you put Jim on the Good Pop list !! Remember he has made some very beautiful songs and his voice has still got that magic touch...so let's hear more !
Donna ....in Aberdeen !

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