Diana Roselyn Trask (born 23 June 1940) is an Australian-born country and pop singer. In the early 1960s she was a regular pop music performer on United States TV shows, Don McNeill's Breakfast Club and Sing Along with Mitch. From 1968 to 1981 she was a country music singer in the US and in Australia. In the US, she had eighteen singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, where her top 20 hits are "Say When" and "It's a Man's World (If You Have a Man Like Mine)" (both 1973), "When I Get My Hands on You" and "Lean It All on Me" (both 1974). In January 1962 she married Thom Ewen, a Connecticut businessman, to become Diana Ewen. In the 1980s Trask withdrew from performing to look after Ewen, who had had a stroke: he subsequently died in 2009. The couple have two children. Trask co-authored her autobiography, Whatever Happened to Diana Trask: A Memoir, with Alison Campbell Rate, on 1 May 2010.
|Birth name||Diana Roselyn Trask|
|Also known as||Diana Ewen|
|Born||23 June 1940|
Camberwell, Victoria, Australia
Diana Roselyn Trask was born on 23 June 1940 in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell and raised in the then-rural town of Warburton. Her father was Lew, who ran a furniture business, and her mother is Thelma (nee Salisbury), who was a music teacher. Trask sang from an early age, performing at school functions and for her family. In August 1949 she won the Under 10 Solo Girls category at the Lilydale Eisteddfod. At 16, she received formal vocal lessons from her mother. She became a part of a singing group.
Trask won a talent show, TV Quest, in 1957. She signed with Lee Gordon as her promoter. Her first two singles were "Going Steady" (1958) on W&G and "Lover Is Another Name for Fool" (1959) on Gordon's Leedon label. Gordon arranged for her to open for international visitors, including Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., who each toured Australia in early 1959.
Acting on encouragement from Sinatra and Davis, Trask relocated to the United States. In August 1959 she debuted as a jazz singer at New York City's Blue Angel club. She became a regular on Don McNeill's Breakfast Club TV show and appeared as a dancer and singer on Jack Benny's TV show. Mitch Miller gave her a recording contract in 1960 with Columbia Records and also a regular spot on his TV show, Sing Along with Mitch.
By 1961 Trask was earning A£44,000 per year and lived at the Middletown Hotel, NYC. Late that year she became engaged to Thom Ewen, a businessman from Connecticut; they married in Warburton's Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church, on 7 January 1962. Ewen, who was 34 years old, had recently divorced his first wife, who retained custody of the couple's two children.
Trask released two albums, Diana Trask (1961) and Diana Trask on TV (1962), via Columbia, which were geared towards the pop market but neither was successful. After Miller's show was cancelled in 1964 Trask and Ewen moved to Melbourne to continue her career. She appeared regularly on In Melbourne Tonight on GTV-9 during that year. In 1965 she hosted her own 13-week TV variety programme, Di Trask Show, with Ewen as producer for the same channel. According to Nan Musgrove of The Australian Women's Weekly it "wasn't all that popular here but sold like hot cakes overseas in 26 countries."
In 1967 Trask and Ewen returned to the US and initially settled in NYC and then in Nashville; where she started as a country singer. She signed with Dial Records that year, and in July 1968 had her first charting single, "Lock, Stock, and Tear Drops", which reached the top 70 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.
Trask signed a record deal with Dot Records and released an album, Miss Country Soul (March 1969), which provided her nickname and reached No. 34 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. It was produced by Joe Tex and included her cover versions of his work. Her versions of Tex's R & B tracks, "Hold What You've Got" and "Show Me", display a soulful voice. They drew critical acclaim, while the lead single, "Hold What You've Got" (July 1968), reached the top 60. Rubber City Review's Tim Quine opined "I wouldn’t throw away the original, but Trask seems pretty comfortable taking the women's point of view on her version of Joe's hit 'Show Me'."
Trask released her fourth studio album, From the Heart, in November 1969, which peaked at No. 32. It provided her version of Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" (March 1970), which reached No. 37. She followed with a cover version of George Jones' "Beneath Still Waters" (February), which reached No. 38. Trask released her seventh studio album, Its a Man's World, in March 1974, which peaked at No. 25. It provided three singles, which reached the top 20 country songs chart, "Say When" (May 1973), "It's a Man's World (When You Have a Man Like Mine)" (August) and "When I Get My Hands on You" (February 1974).
She followed with Lean It all on Me (July 1974) and its title single, "Lean It All on Me" (May 1974) – her highest charting track, reaching No. 13 on the country charts. It was also issued as a single in the United Kingdom via Ember Records, backed with "Behind Closed Doors". She also toured the UK with Glen Campbell who wrote the sleeve notes for her Ember album. She continued with Dot Records singles, "If You Wanna Hold On (Hold on to Your Man)" (October 1974) and "Oh Boy" (March 1975), which are her last top 40 country hits.
Later career and presentEdit
Trask continued releasing albums and singles with Dot Records until 1977. She made a brief comeback via the Kari label with two non album singles, "This Must Be My Ship" (April 1981) and "Stirrin' Up Feelings" (September). The Ewen family returned to Australia, where she resumed her career. In 1979 Roger Climpson, host of Australia's version of This Is Your Life, surprised her during a rehearsal for the TV tribute show. Trask wrote the track, "I Think About Your Lovin'", which was recorded by the Osmonds in 1982.
In the 1980s Trask withdrew from performing to look after Ewen, who was incapacitated following a stroke: the couple lived on a yacht and cruised the Caribbean until Ewen's health began to fail in the late 1980s. From 2006 the couple lived in Woodbine GA until Thom Ewen died in 2009, after which Trask resided in nearby St. Mary's. Trask co-authored her autobiography, Whatever Happened to Diana Trask: A Memoir, with Alison Campbell Rate, which was published on 1 May 2010.
- Trask, Diana; Rate, Alison Campbell (1 May 2010), Whatever Happened to Diana Trask: A Memoir, Melbourne: Melbourne Books, ISBN 978-1-877096-80-8
- Berkeley, Margaret (31 May 1961). "Fame Is Bitter-Sweet for Diana". The Australian Women's Weekly. 28 (52). p. 3. Retrieved 18 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Money, Lawrence (25 September 2013). "Star Singer Glad to Be Back at the Counter". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
- "Lilydale Eisteddfod". The Age (29, 422). 15 August 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 18 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Laird, Ross. "The First Wave: Australian rock & pop recordings, 1955–1963" (PDF). National Film and Sound Archive. pp. 86, 115, 118. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
- Brennan, Sandra. "Diana Trask | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
- McGann, George (16 September 1959). "Diana Is a Hit on Broadway". The Australian Women's Weekly. Teenagers' Weekly. 27 (15). p. 6. Retrieved 18 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Marriage of Singer Approved". The Canberra Times. 36 (10, 116). 6 January 1962. p. 5. Retrieved 19 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Diana Trask to Wed Next Month". The Canberra Times. 36 (10, 090). 6 December 1961. p. 8. Retrieved 19 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Berkeley, Margaret (14 April 1965). "The Di Trask Show". The Australian Women's Weekly. 32 (46). p. 18. Retrieved 18 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Musgrove, Nan (2 September 1970). "Diana Trask Is Happy and Triumphant". The Australian Women's Weekly. 38 (14). p. 3. Retrieved 18 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Diana Trask | Chart History: Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "Diana Trask | Chart History: Top Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Quine, Tim (17 November 2012). "Country Soul Sisters | RCR | American Roots Music". Rubber City Review. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Trask, Kevin (8 April 2011). "Whatever Happened to... Diana Trask". Brisbane Seniors Newspaper. p. 5. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Howe, Bob (May 2010). "Whatever Happened to Diana Trask?". Capital News. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Dickson, Terry (5 May 2012). "A Singing Star is Reborn; Catch Her in St. Marys". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 19 October 2017.