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Nov 04

JET HARRIS AND TONY MEEHAN – “Diamonds”

Popular26 comments • 6,043 views

#146, 2nd February 1963

The saturnine Harris and fresh-faced Meehan were ex-Shadows, and even though they didn’t write “Diamonds” its curious structure makes it sound like the work of people keen to cram as much as they can into a short time in the spotlight. The record switches between extended drum solos (Meehan), lonesome country atmospherica driven by moody bass runs (Harris), and an incongruous chunk of horn-led jive. Frankly it’s a bit of a mess, but a very entertaining one, with a character and bite their former band were beginning to run out of.

6

Comments

  1. 1
    Mike Phoenix on 28 Nov 2006 #

    What movie from 1963 did “Diamonds” feature in?

  2. 2
    keith morris on 24 May 2007 #

    Dear Tom,

    What a load of rubbish! ‘Diamonds’ is one of the great instrumentals by two of Britains finest
    musicians. Superb technicians. Tony Meehan’s drumming on all his recorded music was
    just fantastic. A drummers drummer! His rythmns and fills were exclusively his. Keith. No
    one could match him.

  3. 3
    Marcello Carlin on 24 May 2007 #

    See, Tom, this is what you get for giving records good reviews.

  4. 4
    Lena on 24 May 2007 #

    Jet Harris sounds like an interesting guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_Harris

    This was one of the UK’s many #1 singles that never made a dent in the US, though.

  5. 5
    Marcello Carlin on 24 May 2007 #

    Among the supporting cast on the record: John McLaughlin, John Paul Jones, John Surman and sundry other future Brit improv gods.

  6. 6
    Tom on 24 May 2007 #

    I think 6 may have been a bit harsh – I have played this “out” a few times since and it’s a winner! Crazy man crazy.

  7. 7
    Stewart Mills on 11 Jul 2007 #

    I can’t agree with Tom. Clearly not a mess. very extreme comment. Meehan’s drumming was good probably some of his best. Much tighter than when with the shads and Harris excellent as ever and he still is.

  8. 8
    norman pearson on 29 Jul 2007 #

    Applejack ,and Scarlett O’Hara were equally as good . Never let them fade away .

  9. 9
    Tony Robinson on 6 Nov 2007 #

    First heard Diamonds in 1963 and thought it was easily the best guitar instrumental ever – nothing before or since has changed my mind although Jack Bruce of the great Cream is fantastic but a different style.
    Every note is perfect and the tone and timing is brilliant.I saw Jet recently in Worcester and he still sounds great.
    Everybody to their own taste – I bet you like Boy bands hey Tom ???

  10. 10
    Marcello Carlin on 7 Nov 2007 #

    Alas, you might be right there, Tone…

  11. 11
    Johnny Tunes on 1 Feb 2008 #

    From what I understand Jimi Page played the guitar when Diamonds
    was recored.

  12. 12
    SteveIson on 21 Jul 2008 #

    Wonderfully atmospheric,strange and haunting..I can’t think of another instrumental like this either 8

  13. 13
    Peter W on 22 Sep 2008 #

    I recently saw Jet at Shadowmania 2008 and got to talk to him in the interval and get his autograph. He is a bloody nice bloke and very funny yet he came across very modest.

    I first heard “Diamonds” when i was a little’un in the 70’s when my dad used to play it and it is a tune that has always stuck in my mind. hearing him play it live was absolutely brilliant as were the other tunes he played like “Scarlet o Hara” and “Applejack” he is very talented and If I had one ounce of the talent he has i’d be very happy :)

    The drums in this track are amazing and just fit so well, alas Tony is no longer with us but he still shines.

    Personaly I would give the track 10 out of 10 but then I love this sort of music and it rightfully deserves more than 6 but each to their own opinion :)

  14. 14
    keith morris on 7 Dec 2008 #

    Jet Harris & Tony Meehan were together for too short a time. Unfortunate circumstances meant the great duo couldn’t record again. As I have said before Tony had a wonderful and original style of drumming, no one could really match him. He really swung The Shadows and likewise as in the Jet & Tony duo. I don’t think enough has been written on him which is a little sad for such a great drummer. Jet equally has his unique style going back to Besame Mucho and right up to today’s albums. I would love to see him record a ‘standards’ album. Probably acoustic. Would be fantastic. Jimmy Page played rhythm guitar on ‘Diamonds’.

    ‘Diamonds’, ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ and ‘Applejack’ what a triumvirate!

    Keith, Sydney, 07.12.08

  15. 15
    Chris Hughes on 15 Jun 2009 #

    “Among the supporting cast on the record: John McLaughlin, John Paul Jones, John Surman and sundry other future Brit improv gods.”

    John McLaughlin only came into the act after Jet pulled out following a car accident. JPJ joined once Diamonds had been recorded and the stage group was put together for touring.
    I think I may have been the only member of that group that was on the recording, playing saxophone.

    The stage personnel was Tony, Jet, Joe Moretti, John Baldwin (JPJ), Glenn Hughes and me.

    “From what I understand Jimi Page played the guitar when Diamonds
    was recored.”

    No — that is Jet on Diamonds.

    Chris Hughes, 15/06/09

  16. 16
    Erithian on 15 Jun 2009 #

    Always good to hear from one of the participants in a number one, Chris – more reminiscences welcome!

    Tom – are you keeping track of the number of writers/performers who have contributed to this site? We’re getting a good list going.

  17. 17
    Johann Haidenbauer on 5 Jan 2010 #

    Hello Chris,

    did any of that mentioned state personnel also play on the Song
    of Mexico single by Tony Meehan?

    Johann

  18. 18
    Chris Hughes on 30 Sep 2010 #

    @17

    Well I did! The three tracks of soprano sax in the middle… I honestly can’t remember, but I’m sure John Baldwin (John Paul Jomes) was on bass for that. Joe Moretti would have been the lead guitar.

  19. 19
    Lazarus on 5 Feb 2011 #

    This, to quote the Bee Gees on their last hit, is where I came in.

    Didn’t know the song for years, though.

  20. 21
    Jimmy the Swede on 18 Mar 2011 #

    Yes, sad news, this. I would suspect that his funeral will be well attended. RIP.

  21. 22
    wichita lineman on 18 Mar 2011 #

    I interviewed him once over the phone – by the end of the chat he’d invited me to stay as his house on the Isle of Wight whenever I liked. An incredibly nice man, and owner of the first electric bass guitar in Britain amongst other claims to fame. RIP.

  22. 24
    tm on 25 Jul 2014 #

    Since we’re discussing recording technology on the Believe thread, I recall my Shads-obsessed guitarist uncle telling me that on Diamonds Jet Harris plays, not a bass but a regular Gretsch Country Gent guitar tuned down two semitones.

  23. 25
    lonepilgrim on 23 Jan 2015 #

    this is far more lively and enjoyable to my ears than the previous Shadows hit. There is far more sense of youthful energy rather than dutiful precision and the tune bounds along engagingly.

  24. 26
    Lazarus on 23 Jan 2015 #

    But was it the first drum ‘n’ bass hit?

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