"My voice is unadorned. I don't try for perfection. I try to be honest and truthful and soulful with the voice I have. If I make mistakes in notes, or there are cracks in notes, I don't fix them. That's the way it is." - Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond - A Poet of Enduring Greatness.
Neil Diamond is one of the most prolific and enduring singer-songwriters of the last many decades, but most of all it is that legendary voice which resonates in his music, at concerts halls, and most notably at "Fenway Park" for the Red Sox Nation. Neil Diamond is a true legend; his pop tunes have sold nearly 115 million albums worldwide. He is only thirds behind Elton John and his school mate Barbara Streisand in terms of record sales as an Adult Contemporary artist. Diamond is also a great songwriter; his standard theme of loneliness, isolation and un requited love is ever present. Neil Diamond has been performing live shows and tours for the last two decades ensuring a lasting legacy and also initiating new fans. He is also a great guitar player a fact which is often overlooked because of his other talents.
Oh That Voice
Neil Diamond was raised in Brooklyn, New York and while at school started singing and playing the guitar. By 1962 he signed with Columbia Records and at first was writing songs for other artists. In 1965 his first big success was when his songs "I'm a Believer" and "A Little bit me, a Little bit you" became hit songs for the Monkees. Diamond tired of writing songs for other artist moved to Bang records a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. It is here where he started releasing his albums. His first single "Solitary Man" in 1965 was a hit. He followed it up with "Kentucky Women" and "Cherry Cherry". Neil Diamond was also touring, opening for various acts including Herman's Hermits and The Who.
Diamond signed with MCA Records label and it would start his most prolific and ambitious records and mainstream success. He relocated to LA and his single releases "Sweet Caroline" and "Song Sung Blue" made it to the top 10, the latter single even topping the charts. After a slight slump in sales while his touring was successful he released in 1971 a very personal album "I am ... I said". As part of the tour for the album he performed at the Greek Theater in LA which culminated into what is not considered a classic album - "Hot August Night". The live album was pure joy and Neil Diamond's ultimate record. The album was not a run away hit on release but over the years has established itself as an iconic album and has sold over 2 million copies since its release.
In the 70s, In LA
In the nest few years Diamond released a string successful albums and shows which would be considered his golden period. In 1978, "You Don't Bring me Flowers" was a another multi-platinum effort with the title song a duet with his old school mate Barbara Streisand was a passionate and yet tragic love song about the disintegration of a relationship. The live performance during the Grammy Awards was again filled with passion which sparked rumors of an affair.
His surprise appearance on stage during the Band's Last Waltz in 1976 did not go down well with the other artists and fans alike. A few words were even exchange with Bob Dylan. Hi last album of the 70s was another platinum seller based on hit singles like "Red Red Wine"
The Jazz and the 80s
A soundtrack for the movie the Jazz Singer would give Diamond his most successful album. Even though the movie was not a big hit and his performance universally panned, it would be the soundtrack that would be a top 5 hit. The album has thus far sold 5 million units. Three songs from the album were also top 10 hits - "America", "Love on the Rocks" and "Hello Again".
Throughout the 80s Neil Diamond would record and perform at a continuous basis, but his popularity as a recording artist would slowly wane. Though his concert tours were very successful.
Did you know that...
- ...Neil Diamond always wears the sequin shirt while performing on stage. Specially designed they cost $5,000 each.
- ...Neil Diamond has made an appearance during the legendary The Last Waltz concert with The Band. The concert was filmed by Martin Scorsese.
- ...Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand sang in a school choir while they were students together New York City's Eraasmus High School.