A brief history

Diamond Lil was formed during 1975 and continued until 1978 with the line up of Lorna Oakley (vocals), Harry Spooner (lead guitar), Alan Letch (bass guitar) and Marcus Foakes (drums).

The group started in Braintree Essex as a 'covers band' playing standards taken from groups such as Wishbone Ash, the Pirates, Thin Lizzy and other 70's bands as well as playing some rock classics. During their first year, Diamond Lil evolved from a pure covers band to become a totally original group playing a repertoire of some forty self penned songs. The band became popular on the local scene playing in pubs and clubs in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, East and Central London. The group played at such places as Whites in Norwich, The Griffin Bury St. Edmunds, The Alma in Cambridge, The Royal William in Ipswich, The Rock Garden in Covent Garden London as well as many more pub and club rock venues.

The group supported such 'New Wave' and 'Punk' acts as Ian Drury and The Blockheads and the Vibrators who were touring the colleges and clubs at the time. The band was soon performing a totally original set and became known and accepted as an 'original' band not reliant on covers to sustain a working itinerary.

As well as playing local gigs in Braintree Essex, Diamond Lil covered the East Anglian Pub circuit around Ipswich and Colchester, particularly at 'Whites' in Norwich where Diamond Lil began to get well known for its original material.

During this period Diamond Lil recorded an album of eleven songs, all originals and from the typical live set list at the time.

The compilation album provided a snapshot of the group as it was during the late 70's with four tracks recorded in 1976, four from 1977 and three from 1978. The group recorded eight of the tracks at Spaceward in Cambridge which at the time was involved in recording many of the new wave, punk and heavy metal bands that were around in the late 1970's. The remaining three tracks were recorded at Speedway Studios in Romford Essex.

The Album was never formally released but was produced in Acetate format with plain sleeve. Also there were a very limited number of Acetate singles produced. The Band produced a small run of album cassettes at the time. Amongst the tracks, 'I Don’t Care' and 'Tonight's the Night' were popular with both the band and followers. 'Yobbos and Tarts' became an 'anthem' for followers of the group. 

In 2004 Harry Spooner was approached by Malc Macmillan of Zerlinda Records with a view to releasing a limited edition single from the 1970's album produced by Diamond Lil. Malc Macmillan is the compiler, editor and historian who produced the 800 page New Wave of British Heavy Metal Encyclopedia which is a comprehensive account of many obscure and successful outfits operating in the late 70s and 80s period.The plan was to produce a run of 500 limited edition singles on 7" vinyl, each individually numbered.   The result was that the tracks "Patron Of Hell" and "The Loser" were selected and produced and issued in 2005.


The Set List

Diamond Lil eventually became a completely original band and produced approximately 40 original numbers (maybe more) over two to three years.   They were all written by Harry Spooner but Lorna Oakley and Alan Letch co-wrote two particularly good numbers, one of which was "Wild Fire Lover", which is on the Diamond Lil album, and "Hemophilia Rock".  

Of these numbers the following were recorded:

27th September 1976 at Spaceward Studios, Cambridge

"Black Rat", "Patron of Hell", "Red Man" and "The Loser"

21st July 1977 at Spaceward Studios, Cambridge

"I Don't Care", "Tonight’s The Night", "Discontinued Line" and "Wild Fire Lover"

26th May 1978 at Speedway Studios, Romford (we called it the "Fridge")

"It's Down To Me", "Spring Fever" and "Yobbos and Tarts"

During 1977/1978 some other tracks were informally recorded.

Good After Bad, Be With You Tonight, Crazy Nights, Come On and High Flyer were later recorded by Berlin Ritz during 1978-1980 period.