Detroit Groups    04-0-10-2013(updated)

Information on these pages is provided for the purpose of promoting greater understanding and appreciation for vocal group harmony. Copyright 1998-2013. All Rights Reserved. Property of Nikki Gustafson & Jim Dunn. Not to be duplicated, reproduced or otherwise used without permission.

To listen to Detroit Groups In streaming Real Audio, click the following:

"Harmony Train" -DETROIT Special

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L-R  Jim. Willie, Filmel, Jay, Mike ( 4-10-2013)

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On Stage at LAR Enterprises Doo-Wop Weekend 4/07/2013

L-R Jim, Filmel, Willie, Jay, Mike


"The Wind" live at LAR Enterprises Doo-Wop Weekend 4/07/2013

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(L-R: Jay Johnson, Willie Jones , Filmel Johnson, Michael Salter- bottom-Jim Dunn )

Detroit's legendary Diablos, with original member ( since 1956)  and Fortune recording artist Jay Johnson, are still performing. The current lineup came together in 2007 and has performed to delighted audiences in Pittsburgh , Boston and Florida. Jay has been fine tuning the roster since then, and has worked hard to maintain the unique sound of the original Diablos.

The current lineup of the Diablos includes original member Jay Johnson, Willie Jones, Filmel Johnson,  Michael Salter, and Jim Dunn - Guitar/ Keyboard .

Here's another shot of the guys with some of the Fortune 45s that are favorites among fans of the Diablos.

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Here's a live Acappella clip of the Diablos from June 5, 2009, as part of their Interview with Sheldon Kay on the Rock & Roll Lawyer show. This was recorded off the live Internet stream, so the audio is not of optimum quality, but you can hear the guys really nailing the harmonies.



In March, 2008 the Diablos were inducted into the Doo-Wopp Hall Of Fame Of America®. The Diablos are available for booking through this website. Please e-mail, using the following link,   with your contact information and any information you have regarding your event.

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Upcoming Shows








Sunday Apr 7-2013 3:00 PM Hauppauge H.S. Hauppague, NY All Star Doo-Wop Weekend


Oct -2013 TBA

McKeesport Palisades

McKeesport, PA Benefit - Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation

Some Past Major Shows








Sunday Nov, 2012


3:00 PM Hauppauge H.S. Hauppague, NY All Star Doo-Wop Weekend
Saturday June 4-2011 9:00 PM

McKeesport Palisades

McKeesport, PA Benefit - Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation
Saturday Nov 22-2008 9:00 PM Foxwoods Resort Mashantucket, CT Harvey Robbins -Doo-Wop Hall Of Fame & Friends Show
Friday Jan -9- 2009 8:00 PM Peabody Auditorium Daytona Beach, FL Harvey Robbins - Doo-Wop H.O.F. American Gala Concert
Saturday Jan 10- 2009 8:00 PM Center For The Arts Coral Springs, FL Harvey Robbins - Doo-Wop H.O.F. American Gala Concert
Friday Mar - 7 -2009 8:00 PM Performing Arts Center Providence, RI Harvey Robbins - Royalty Of Doo-Wop  Concert

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Diablos on Facebook

Read on to learn more of the history of Fortune recording artist The Diablos.


The Diablos -Velvet Angels - Four Sonics

Special thanks go to Jay Johnson for his patience and time in answering questions for us and providing information and pictures regarding his days with the Diablos, Velvet Angels and Four Sonics.

Fortune Of Hits

Some Diablos 45s

Many of us remember the unique sound of the Diablos, especially the high ethereal lead tenor voice of Nolan Strong. While much has already been written about the group, there are some new revelations we’ve discovered through a series of interviews with Jay Johnson, who sang bass with the Diablos on many of their recordings. The Diablos were known for many songs, such as "The Wind" , "Adios My Desert Love", "Can’t We Talk This Over", "Mambo of Love", "If I", "Harriet", "I Am With You", "Goodbye Matilda", "I Wanna Know", "Beside You", "Mind Over Matter", and many, many more. The group formed around 1950 and originally consisted of:

Nolan Strong - Lead Tenor

Juan Guitierriez- Tenor

Willie Hunter - Baritone

Quentin Eubanks- Bass

Bob "Chico" Edwards - Guitar

Early Diablos

Diablos circa late 1954

( L-R Quentin Eubanks, Willie Hunter, Jimmy Strong, Nolan Strong, Bob "Chico" Edwards)

The name Diablos is said to have come from a book , "El Nino Diablo" (The Little Devil) that Nolan was reading for a high school book report. In 1954, the Diablos went in to Detroit’s Fortune Records to cut some demo sides, with the hopes of furthering their career. Their hopes were realized even more quickly than they expected. Those demos obviously impressed Jack & Devora Brown, owners of Fortune, who immediately signed the group up. Their first recording for Fortune was the Devora Brown penned "Adios My Desert Love".

Desert Love

(Desert Love Promotional Card courtesy of Charlie Horner)

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But it was their second Fortune outing which would establish the group among the R&B legends. Written by the group members, "The Wind" had a haunting sound, with the group chanting "Blow Wind" in harmony behind Nolan’s delicate tenor lead, and smooth as silk talking bridge.

The Wind

Following the release of "The Wind", Juan and Quentin left the group to be replaced by Nolan’s brother Jimmy on tenor and George Scott on bass. The group lineup was now:

Nolan Strong - Lead Tenor

Jimmy Strong- Tenor

Willie Hunter - Baritone

George Scott- Bass

Bob "Chico" Edwards - Guitar

Over the next two years this configuration of Diablos would turn out several records, including "Route 16", "Do You Remember What You Did", "Daddy Rockin’ Strong", "The Way You Dog Me Around", "You Are", and one of our favorite Diablos ballads "A Teardrop From Heaven". By late 1956, more changes were in store for the Diablos. Bass singer George Scott decided to leave the group about this time to join Hank Ballard & The Midnighters. The Diablos again were in need of a bass. Enter Jay Johnson ! Jay was introduced to Nolan through fellow Fortune artist Andre Williams. Although not quite 17 at the time, Jay was already a veteran singer, having sung bass with Andre Williams’ "New" group on "Bacon Fat", "Just Because Of A Kiss", "Mean Jean" and "Bobby Jean". Andre Williams’ "New" group consisted of, Gino Parks, Bobby Calhoun, Steve Gaston, and Jay Johnson.

Andre Williams

Nolan was impressed and the Diablos had their new bassman. Jay’s first session with the Diablos was on "Can’t We Talk It Over" and "Mambo of Love", recorded in late 1956 and released in 1957. By the time the first "Fortune Of Hits" album came out, Jay had already replaced George Scott with the group. Unfortunately, the picture on the album cover  (see below) didn’t reflect this change, and shows the group with George Scott instead of Jay Johnson.


(L-R Bob "Chico" Edwards, Willie Hunter, George Scott, Jimmy Strong, Nolan Strong)

This oversight may be a factor in many believing that Jay Johnson didn’t join the group until several years later. But the group at this point now consisted of :

Nolan Strong - Lead Tenor

Jimmy Strong- Tenor

Willie Hunter - Baritone

Jay Johnson - Bass

Bob "Chico" Edwards - Guitar

Also in late 1956, Nolan received a call from his "Uncle Sam" and was soon off to the service for a two year stint. While Nolan was in the service, the Diablos released one single without him. This was "Harriet" b/w "Come Home Little Girl", and featured baritone Willie Hunter on lead. (not Jimmy Strong, as some sources indicate) Harriet must have been quite a lady, because she not only got one song but two from the Diablos. When Nolan returned from the service he recorded "Harriette It’s You".

In several conversations with Jay Johnson, we asked who inspired him the most. He replied: "That would include Gospel groups like the Soul Stirrers, Archie & The Blind Boys and R&B groups like the Cadillacs, Del-Vikings, and the Dells."

Since You've Gone

Jay is heard on bass on more Diablos recordings than either Quentin Eubanks or George Scott. Among these are: "Beside You", "Mind Over Matter", "Everything They Said Came True", "Welcome Baby To My Heart", "I Wanna Know", "If I Could Be With You", "Since You’re Gone", "Harriet", "Harriette It’s You", "I Am With You", "Are You Making A Fool Out of Me", "You’re My Happiness", "Village of Love", "For Old Times Sake", "My Heart Will Always Belong To You", & "Come Home Little Girl".


On "Village Of Love" Jay Johnson was also the bass on the original version by Nathaniel Mayer & the Fabulous Twilights as well as the cover by the Diablos.


Village Of Love            Nolan Strong Picture Sleeve


Jay recalls that a few of the Diablos tunes were recorded by both Jay, as well as George Scott in the bass roll, but wasn’t sure which version was actually released by Jack and Devora Brown, such as "I Am With You" and "Goodbye Matilda". Also of note is that according to Jay, the bass on the recording of "You’re The Only Girl Dolores" was not George Scott but Thomas Sodberry of the Five Embers.


Jay recalls his days with Nolan as very pleasant and Nolan being a good guy to work with. Regarding Nolan, Jay comments: "Nolan was not into drinking, or smoking, a true leader, and a true person in what he believed in." Jay reminisced about his appearance with the Diablos at the Apollo in 1959 - Jack Brown was with them. But performances at the time were mostly at local night clubs. The photo shown below was taken in 1959 at the "509 Club" in Detroit.


Diablos with Jay Johnson

Diablos circa 1959 at "509 Club" in Detroit- from the personal collection of Jay Johnson and used by permission.

(L-R Nolan Strong, Willie Hunter, Jay Johnson, Jimmy Strong)

Jay shares that Clyde McPhatter was Nolan’s idol because "he was so smooth". And speaking of idols, Jay also confirms the adulation that Smokey Robinson had for Nolan. Jay remembers a time, while Nolan was in the army, when Smokey was "jamming" with the Diablos. Smokey knew all the Diablos tunes and was very good at emulating Nolan’s style.

Mind Over Matter

Smokey Robinson was not the only Motown person to have an appreciation for Nolan Strong & The Diablos. Berry Gordy had wanted to bring the Diablos into his fast growing Motown complex. According to Jay, Berry offered Jack & Devora Brown $5,000 for the Diablos contract, but the Browns countered with $15,000 and the deal never transpired. Jay recalls this as being a disappointment to the group who felt that Motown could have done a better job in promoting and recording them. Later, Gordy would cover the Diablos "Mind Over Matter" on his Mel-O-Dy label with a group called the Pirates (a.k.a. Temptations).


After Nolan came back from the service, things weren’t quite the same. Perhaps in keeping with the times, more of the attention was being focused on Nolan and not the group. Back in 1954, records showed "The Diablos featuring Nolan Strong". Then the billing changed to "Nolan Strong & The Diablos". And by 1962, when "Mind Over Matter" was climbing the charts, the label just read "Nolan Strong", although the Diablos were most definitely on the record as prominent as ever. This lack of recognition along with financial inequities ( lack of royalties & unequal pay to the group members vs. Nolan), inevitably had to lead to one thing, the groups demise. But where one story ends, another begins. And for Jay Johnson, the next story is the Velvet Angels. ( see following article)

Until we got in touch with Jay Johnson, no members of the Diablos were thought to be alive. Unfortunately, when the group was inducted into the UGHA Hall of Fame in April of 1997, we had not yet made contact with him. According to Jay, he also believes George Scott to be alive; he last saw him about 2 years ago in Detroit. Jay has been trying to locate him since, but to no avail. Juan Guitierriez (per his ex-wife, who spoke recently to Jay) is alive, and lives in California. There seems to be a bit of confusion on who died first between Nolan and Jimmy Strong. Thus, Jay made contact with Nolan’s sister (Doris Strong Reedus*, now an ordained minister), and got the exact dates of deaths, which were: Jimmy died at age 34 on January 29, 1970 , followed by Nolan, at age 43, February 21, 1977. Willie Hunter passed away in 1978. Bob "Chico" Edwards  was thought to have died earlier; but we just learned of his passing in Detroit on March 11, 2001. Quentin Eubanks is presumed to be deceased.

(* Thanks to Nolan Strong's cousin Teena Green for corrected spelling of last name)

Jay receives UGHA HOF award from Ronnie I.

On May 5, 2001 Jay Johnson was honored for his work with the Diablos by the United In Group Harmony Association (UGHA) at their annual Hall Of Fame Tribute Ceremony. The Diablos had been previously inducted in to the Hall Of Fame  in 1997, and now, four years later, Jay was able to receive his much deserved award. The tradition of the Diablos continued on as Jay entertained the UGHA audience along with his "New Diablos" group, doing both Diablos and Velvet Angels material. We hope this return to the perfoming stage will mark the start of a new chapter in the pages of the Diablos history, and further establish Jay Johnson as one of the finest bass singers ever in R&B vocal group harmony.

Jay & New Diablos

Jay Johnson & "New Diablos"

( Jay Johnson, Jim Dunn, Steve Monetti, Vinnie DiVita )

Diablos Discography


Fortune 509 -Adios My Desert Love / Old Fashioned Girl- 1954

Fortune 511 -The Wind / Baby Be Mine -1954

Fortune 514 - Route 16 / Hold Me Until Eternity- 1955

Fortune 516 -Do You Remember What You Did / Daddy Rockin’ Strong- 1955

Fortune 518 -The Way You Dog Me Around / Jump Shake & Move- 1955

Fortune 519 - You Are / You’re The Only Girl Dolores- 1956

Fortune 522- A Teardrop From Heaven / Try Me One More Time- 1956

Fortune 525- Can’t We Talk This Over / Mambo Of Love- 1957*

Fortune 529- For Old Times Sake / My Heart Will Always Belong To You- 1958

Fortune 531- I Am With You / Goodbye Matilda- 1959

Fortune 532- I Wanna Know / If I (Oh I)- 1959

Fortune 536- Since You’re Gone / Whatcha Gonna Do- 1960

Fortune 544- Blue Moon / I Don’t Care- 1962

(Labels on the above 45s credit Nolan Strong & Diablos)

Fortune 546- Beside You / Mind Over Matter- 1962

Fortune 553 -I Really Love You / You’re My Love- 1963

Fortune 553X -I Really Love You / Everything They Said Came True- 1963

Fortune 556- You’re Every Beat Of My Heart / It’s Because Of You- 1963

Fortune 563- Real True Love / Village Of Love- 1964

Fortune 564- Are You Making A Fool Out Of Me / I Want To Be Your Happiness- 1964

Fortune 569 -Ali Coochie / You’re Not Good Looking But You’re Presentable- 1964

Fortune 574- The Way You Dog Me Around / Jump Shake & Move (Acappella)- 1978

(Labels on the above 45s show Nolan Strong - Diablos are uncredited)

Fortune 841 -Harriet / Come Home Little Girl-  1958

( Diablos without Nolan Strong- Willie Hunter on lead)

Fortune 851- (Georgia Mae Is) Movin’ ( flip with 5 Dollars)- 1960

(shows Andre Williams & Gino Parks with the Diablos)

Tracks appearing only on Albums

Someday You'll Want Me To Want You - LP 8010

Ooh! Ooh! Those Eyes - LP 8010

White Christmas - LP 8012

Danny Boy - LP 8012

The Masquerade Is Over - LP 8015

Welcome ( Baby To My Heart) - LP 8015

You Are Love- LP 8015

Are You Sincere - LP 8015

That's  What You're Doing To Me ( 1954 unreleased) - LP 8016

Wild Side Of My Baby (1972unreleased) -LP 8016

Tender Passion (1955 unreleased) - LP 8016

Old McDonald * ( 1960's unreleased) - LP 8016

Fools Rush In* (1960's unreleased) - LP 8016

Tender Passion - (1955 unreleased)- LP 8016

* These two are alternately (and more accurately) credited to the Velvet Angels

The Wind - ( 1954 alternate take)  - LP 8020

Come Home - (1954 unreleased) - LP 8020

Is This Really Real - ( Nolan solo) - LP 8020

Since I Fell For You/Rockin' Robin - (acappella medley) - LP 8020

I Wanna Know ( alternate version) - LP 8020

My Kind Of Lovin' - ( 1954 unreleased) - LP 8020

Remember Me - (1954 unreleased, evolved into "I Really Love You") - LP 8020

Adios My Desert Love - (1953 practice tape, prior to released version) - LP 8020

Daddy Nolan Strong - ( unreleased variation on Daddy Rockin' Strong) - LP 8020

So Long - ( 1960's unreleased acappella, features Jay Johnson on bass) - LP 8020


Fortune Of Hits  Fortune LP 8010 - Fortune Of Hits

Fortune Of Hits Vol-2 Fortune LP 8012 - Fortune Of Hits Vol 2

Mind Over Matter Fortune LP 8015 - Mind Over Matter

Daddy Rock Fortune LP 8020 - Daddy Rock

diabs-5dollars-LP.jpg (33196 bytes) Fortune LP 8016-From The Beginning To Now ! (Diablos & Five Dollars)


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