Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 10/07/2019

The Paradons were formed in the late fifties by friends William Powers and Bill Meyers when they recruited additional singers Chuck Weldon and West Tyler. They sang together in Bakersfield, California, mostly playing at school dances and small clubs.

In a single night, the group recorded eight tracks for a small record label. The one hit that came from that session was Diamonds and Pearls which reached #18 in 1960. The record label credits member West Tyler as the songwriter.

Member Chuck Weldon went on to a long, successful acting career. He acted in the San Francisco version of the play Hair and went on to appear in plays on Broadway and in films and television shows. Towards the end of his acting career, he appeared in several popular legal dramas including Law and OrderHill Street Blues, and L. A. Law. Chuck died in 2018.

Walter sold the group’s name to Joe Karp in 1962. Joe then trademarked Joey and the Paradons. Joe and Bill then kept that group active on the oldies circuit and the group is still booking appearances.

There was also a doo-wop group in New York called the Paragons made up of a completely different group of singers that was active from 1957 to 1967. The only time the Paragons hit the national charts was when the song If reached #82 in 1961. The song may have been a local hit in New York since I find the song somewhat familiar. Confusion about the two groups abounds online and on compilation albums that sometimes list the Paragons as having recorded Diamonds, Pearls when they do not appear to have recorded the song. It even appears that Collectables Records may have included the Paradons single on a CD entitled The Very Best of the Paragons, although the Paragons may have recorded the single as a cover (I can’t find a copy of that album to compare the songs and it was not included in the Collectables CD The Best of the Paragons).

Another unrelated group called the Paragons were formed in Jamaica and recorded an early version of Blondie’s The Tide Is High.


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