b. DiFosco 'Dee' T. Ervin Jnr. (a.k.a. Big Dee Irwin), 6th July 1932, Harlem, New York, U.S.A.
d. 27th August 1995, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Dee Ervin was born in Harlem, New York in 1932.
In 1954 he went into the services, joining the United States Air Force, his unit being based at Narsarssuak Air Base in Greenland.
Whilst in the services, he formed a group called the Pastels.
the pastels in 1957: l to r: richard travis, jimmy willingham, tony thomas and dee ervin
The Pastels featured Dee as lead singer, Richard Travis (first tenor), Tony Thomas (second tenor) and Jimmy Willingham (baritone).
The group performed during his national service, initially in Greenland, and later, in Washington, following a transfer.
The Pastels performed in the show, 'Tops In Blue', in 1957 on national television.
the pastels: l to r: richard travis,dee ervin, tony thomas and jimmy willingham
Following these shows the Pastels were signed with the Hull Records imprint, based in New York.
One of their early recordings was a Dee Erwin penned tune entitled 'Been So Long' b/w 'My One And Only Dream'.
The single was released on Hull's subsidiary, the Mascot label.
'Been So Long' was later leased to Chess Records who issued it on their Argo imprint.
Following the members of the Pastels, Dee was discharged from the Air Force in 1958.
'Been So Long' eventually made number 4 on the Billboard R&B chart and # 24 on the national chart.
In 1958 the Pastels appeared on Alan Freed's touring Big Beat Show, alongside Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Frankie Lymon, Larry Williams, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
A follow up single called 'You Don't Love Me Anymore' b/w 'Let's Go To The Rock & Roll Ball', was released that year, which was followed by a performance at the Apollo Theater, after which the group went their separate ways.
Remaining at Hull Records, Dee began a solo career under the name Dee Erwin.
He, also, recorded for the Bliss and Dimension imprints, under the name Big Dee Erwin.
swinging on a star - 1963
Dee released his version of the Bing Crosby song 'Swinging On A Star' b/w 'Another Night With The Boys', which also featured Little Eva as a co-vocalist.
In 1963 'Swinging On A Star' reached number 38 on the U.S. pop chart, and number 7 on the U.K. chart.
The British success was followed by a tour, which spanned the larger part of that year.
A follow up single 'Happy Being Fat' b/w 'Soul Waltzin', proved less successful, despite the further inclusion of Little Eva as a co-singer.
Throughout the 1960's Dee released several sides, and began work as a songwriter for Ray Charles, Bobby Womack, amongst others.
you satisfy my needs / i wanna stay right here with you - 1965 single
One such single, 'You Satisfy My Needs' b/w 'I Wanna Stay Right Here With You' became a highly collectable single on the Rotate Records label in 1965.
Dee recorded for several labels throughout the Sixties including Dimension, 20th Century Fox, Rotate, Astra, Cub, Polydor, Redd Coach and Imperial imprints.
youn broke my face - 1976 / the i love you song - 1978
In 1976, under his other name DiFosco, he released the disco singles 'Face To Face' b/w 'You Broke My Face' and 'The I Love You Song' b/w 'I Can't Get You Off My Mind' in 1977, both for the Roxbury imprint.
His last record release was 'The I Love You Song' in 1978 on 20th Century Records.
Dee passed away from heart failure in Las Vegas during 1995.
His son, David Ervin, is a professional piano player and studio musician.
Another Night with Big Dee Irwin (Westside Records 1997)