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Neil Diamond Biography

Home > Music > D > Diamond, Neil > Biography

Birth Name: Neil Leslie Diamond
Born: 1941/01/24
Birth Place: New York City, United States
Years Active: 1958–present
Genres: Rock, Pop, Folk, Country

Neil Leslie Diamond (born on January 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter. As a successful pop music performer, Diamond scored a number of hits worldwide in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Diamond spent his early career as a songwriter in the Brill Building. His first success as a songwriter came in November, 1965, with “Sunday and Me,” a Top 20 hit for Jay and the Americans on the Billboard charts. Greater success as a writer followed with “I'm a Believer,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)” and “Love to Love,” all by the Monkees. “I'm a Believer” was the Popular Music Song of the Year in 1966.

Other notable artists who recorded early Neil Diamond songs were Elvis Presley, who interpreted “Sweet Caroline” as well as “And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind,” Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere & the Raiders, who covered “And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind,” the English hard-rock band Deep Purple, which interpreted “Kentucky Woman,” Lulu, who covered “The Boat That I Row” and Cliff Richard, who released versions of “I’ll Come Running,” “Solitary Man,” “Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon,” “I Got The Feelin’ (Oh No No),” and “Just Another Guy.”

In 1966 Diamond signed a deal with Bert Berns's Bang Records, then a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. His first release on that label, “Solitary Man,” became his first hit. Prior to the release of “Solitary Man,” Diamond later followed with “Cherry, Cherry,” “Kentucky Woman,” “Thank the Lord for the Night Time,” “Do It,” and others.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and his sound mellowed, with such songs as “Sweet Caroline,” “Holly Holy,” “Cracklin' Rosie” and the country-tinged “Song Sung Blue,” the last two reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

In 1974, Diamond released the album “Serenade,” from which “Longfellow Serenade” and “I've Been This Way Before” were issued as singles. In 1976, he released “Beautiful Noise,” produced by Robbie Robertson of The Band. In 1977, Diamond released the album “I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight,” which included “You Don't Bring Me Flowers.” The song hit #1 in 1978 and became his third song to top the Hot 100 to date.

His last ‘70s album was “September Morn,” which included a new version of “I'm a Believer.” It and “Red Red Wine” are the two best-known Diamond original songs to have had other artists make more famous than his own versions.

Diamond starred in a 1980 remake of the Al Jolson classic, “The Jazz Singer,” opposite Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz. Though the movie was not a hit, the soundtrack spawned three Top 10 singles, “Love on the Rocks,” “Hello Again” and “America.”

During the 1990s Diamond would produce six studio albums. He would cover many classics from the movies and from famous Brill Building-era songwriters. He also released two Christmas albums, the first peaking at #8 on the Billboard’s 200 Albums chart. Keeping his songwriting skills honed, Diamond also recorded two albums of mostly new material during this period.

“12 Songs,” produced by Rick Rubin, was released in 2005 and the album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Diamond's album “Home Before Dark” was released in 2008 and reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. This marked the first chart-topping album of Diamond's storied career. “Home Before Dark” also entered the U.K. Album chart at #1, his second British #1 album, after hitting the summit in 1992 with a compilation album.

To date, Diamond has over 115 million records sold worldwide, including over 48 million records in the U.S. In terms of Billboard chart success, he is the third most successful Adult Contemporary artist ever, ranking behind only Barbra Streisand and Elton John.

Though his record sales declined somewhat after the 1980s, Diamond continues to tour successfully, and maintains a very loyal following. Diamond's songs have been recorded by a vast array of performers from many different musical genres.

Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984, in 2000 received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.