|Over the course of a career that kicked in with the adolescent rush of
Cherry Cherry in 1966 and crescendoed thirty years later with the 3-CD
retrospective In My Lifetime, Neil Diamond has never failed to delight and
surprise his fans with fresh approaches to the music that moves him the
The happy saga of Neil Diamond, one of the most creatively bold and
prolific singer-songwriters to emerge in the rock era, is one American
tale well worth repeating. At age 16, he received a guitar as a birthday
present, and soon he focused on lessons and, later, songwriting. He later
attended NYU as a pre-med student on a fencing scholarship, but songwriting
remained his first love. He left college six months before graduating to
accept a songwriting position with a publishing company for $50 a week,
and has never regretted the decision. Diamond eventually leased an office
on Broadway for $35 a month where he could devote all his time to writing.
After several lean years, he was approached by producers Jeff Barry and
Ellie Greenwich. This meeting led to his eventual signing with Bang Records.
At his first Bang session in 1966, Neil recorded what would become his
first three hit singles: Solitary Man,Cherry, Cherry,and I Got The
Feeling (Oh No, No). He also scored his first #1 record as a writer with
the Monkees I'm A Believer. Diamond's Bang Records catalog included
the albums The Feel of Neil Diamond (his 1966 debut), Just For You (1967),
Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits (1968) and Shilo (1970).
1969 brought him his biggest record of the early years, Sweet Caroline, from the album Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show/Sweet Caroline,
an album that combined gospel themes with pop formats. The following
year, he released the albums Touching You Touching Me, which included the
hit single "Holly Holy," and "Tap Root Manuscript (1970)," which experimented with African-inspired arrangements. At the height of his touring popularity, Diamond announced a sabbatical
from the stage to devote more time to his family, but in 1976, he resumed
performing with record-breaking tours of Australia and New Zealand.
In 1973, Neil signed with Columbia, with which he has enjoyed his greatest
successes. His first release for the label, Jonathan Livingston Seagull,
became his #2 all-time best-seller and earned him Grammy and Golden
Globe awards. In 1974 he released Serenade, which yielded the hit,
"Longfellow Serenade." In 1976 he recorded the platinum Beautiful Noise
with producer Robbie Robertson.
The late 70s found Diamond on both the radio and TV airwaves. In 1976,
he returned to the Greek Theater for eight SRO shows, resulting in his first
TV special and his second live LP, 1977's platinum Love At The Greek. On
the singles charts, his 1978 duet ballad with Barbra Streisand, "You Don't
Bring Me Flowers," reached #1.
In 1994, Diamond released Live In America, which documented his
record-breaking two-year "Love In The Round" world tour, in which he
performed on a 360-degree stage built in the middle of every arena he
played. The Tennessee Moon project, which Diamond recorded in Nashville
with the help of such stellar country artists as Waylon Jennings and the
Mavericks' Raul Malo, followed in 1996, and included a companion TV special
and home video.
Also in 1996 came the extraordinary 70-song In My Lifetime boxed-set
containing 37 hit singles, 16 previously unissued early demos, alternative
versions of well known classics, the newly written and recorded title track,
and a full-color 72-page booklet with extensive liner notes including an
interview with Diamond, scores of rare photos, a complete discography, and
song-by-song annotations by Diamond. It was a fitting package for the
enduring artist who had already sold 110 million records and set box office
records at major venues all over the world.
Neil Diamond won a Grammy in 1973 as composer of the Best Original
Score Written For A Motion Picture (Jonathan Livingston Seagull) and
achieved one of his biggest successes with the soundtrack to the movie
The Jazz Singer, in which he starred opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. In
1998 Neil Diamond, the interpretive vocalist, returned to the movies as the
inspiration for The Movie Album As Time Goes By, a two-disc collection of
20 classic songs from the treasure trove of motion picture music. True to
the spirit and magic of Hollywood at its best, The Movie Album As Time
Goes By was recorded live on 20th Century Fox's Newman Scoring Stage
and conducted by the legendary film composer/conductor Elmer Bernstein.
The album received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal
Unchallenged as one of the rock era's greatest live solo performers,
Diamond's latest world tour began in October, 1998 and continued through
1999, performing 117 SRO shows in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia/
New Zealand. His spectacular New Year's Eve concert appearance in
Denver was broadcast worldwide during ABC-TV's Millennium coverage.
Amusement Business named Diamond the #5 touring performer of the 90's.
On June 15, 2000, the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Diamond the
coveted Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, making him one of a
select few composers to be honored twice by the organization. Most
recently, Diamond appeared in a cameo role in the motion picture Saving