Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is an American
singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades from the
1960s until the present.
SINGING "FOREVER IN BLUE JEANS"
As of 2001, Neil Diamond had sold over 115 million records worldwide
including 48 million in the United States alone. Neil Diamond
is considered to be the third most successful adult contemporary
artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton
John. Neil Diamond's songs have been covered internationally by
many performers from various musical genres.
Neil Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984
and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, Neil
Diamond received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000
and in 2011 was an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors. Neil
Diamond has had eight number one hit singles: "Cracklin Rosie",
"Song Sung Blue", "Desiree", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", "Love on
the Rocks", "America", "Yesterday's Songs", and "Heartlight".
Neil Diamond continues to record and release new material and
maintains an extensive touring schedule as well.
life and career
Neil Neil Diamond was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family
descended from Russian and Polish immigrants. Neil Diamond's father,
Akeeba Neil Diamond, was a dry-goods merchant. Neil Diamond grew up
in several homes in Brooklyn, attending Abraham Lincoln High
At Lincoln, the school from which Neil Diamond received Neil
Diamond's high school diploma, Neil Diamond was a member of the
fencing team. Neil Diamond later attended NYU on a fencing
scholarship, specializing in saber, and was a member of the 1960
NCAA men's championship team; into Neil Diamond's adult life Neil
Diamond maintained Neil Diamond's swordsmanship skills and continued
to warm up with fencing exercises before Neil Diamond's
concerts. In a live interview with TV talk show
host Larry King, Neil Diamond explained Neil Diamond's decision to
study medicine by pointing out:
I actually wanted to be a laboratory biologist. I wanted to study.
And I really wanted to find a cure for cancer. My grandmother had
died of cancer. And I was always very good at the sciences. And I
thought I would go and try and discover the cure for cancer.
However, during Neil Diamond's senior year in NYU, a music
publishing company made him an offer Neil Diamond could not refuse:
an offer to write songs for $50 a week. This started him on the road
Diamond's first recording contract was billed as "Neil and Jack", an
Everly Brothers–type duo comprising Neil Diamond and high school
friend Jack Packer *(Jack Parker). They recorded two unsuccessful
singles, "You Are My Love At Last" b/w "What Will I Do" and "I'm
Afraid" b/w "Till You've Tried Love", both released in 1962. Later
in 1962, Neil Diamond signed with the Columbia Records label as a
solo performer. Columbia Records released the single "At Night" b/w
"Clown Town" in July, 1963. Billboard gave an excellent review to
"Clown Town" in their July 13, 1963, issue, predicting it would be a
hit. Despite a tour of radio stations, the single failed to make the
music charts. Furthermore, sales and Top 40 airplay were
disappointing, and Columbia dropped Neil Diamond from the label
shortly thereafter. Neil Diamond was back to writing songs on an
upright piano above the Birdland Club in New York City.
Neil Diamond spent Neil Diamond's early career as a songwriter in
the Brill Building. Neil Diamond's 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. There is a popular misconception that Neil Diamond
wrote and composed these songs specifically for the made-for-TV
quartet. In reality, Neil Diamond had written and recorded these
songs for himself, but the cover versions were released before Neil
Diamond's own. The unintended, but happy, consequence was that
Neil Diamond began to gain fame not only as a singer and performer,
but also as a songwriter. "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 Neil Diamond signed a deal with Bert Berns's Bang Records,
then a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. Neil Diamond's first release
on that label, "Solitary Man", became Neil Diamond's first hit.
Prior to the release of "Solitary Man", Neil Diamond had considered
using a stage name; Neil Diamond came up with two possibilities,
"Noah Kaminsky" and "Eice Charry". But when asked by Bang Records
which name Neil Diamond should use, Noah, Eice, or Neil, Neil
Diamond thought of Neil Diamond's grandmother, who died prior to the
release of "Solitary Man". Thus Neil Diamond told Bang, "...go with
Neil Neil Diamond and I'll figure it out later". Neil Diamond later
followed with "Cherry, Cherry", "Kentucky Woman", "Thank the Lord
for the Night Time", "Do It", and others. Diamond's Bang recordings
were produced by legendary Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry and
Ellie Greenwich, both of whom can be heard singing background on
many of the tracks.
Neil Diamond's first concerts saw him as a "special guest" of, or
opening for, everyone from Herman's Hermits to, on one occasion, The
Who, which Neil Diamond confirmed on an installment of VH1's
documentary series program Behind The Music.
Neil Diamond began to feel restricted by Bang Records, wanting to
record more ambitious, introspective music. Finding a loophole in
Neil Diamond's contract, Neil Diamond tried to sign with a new
label, but the result was a series of lawsuits that coincided with a
dip in Neil Diamond's professional success. Neil Diamond eventually
triumphed in court, and secured ownership of Neil Diamond's Bang-era
master recordings in 1977.
After Neil Diamond had signed a deal with MCA Records, whose label
at the time was Uni (after MCA's parent company, Universal
Pictures), Neil Diamond moved to Los Angeles in 1970. Neil Diamond's
sound mellowed, with such songs as "Sweet Caroline", a US hit in
1969, "Holly Holy", "'Cracklin' Rosie" and "Song Sung Blue", the
last two reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100. "Sweet Caroline" was
Diamond's first major hit after Neil Diamond's slump. Neil Diamond
admitted in 2007 that Neil Diamond had written "Sweet Caroline" for
Caroline Kennedy after seeing her on the cover of Life in an
equestrian riding outfit. It took him just one hour, in a Memphis
hotel, to write and compose it. The 1971 release "I Am...I Said" was
a Top 5 hit in both the US and UK, and was Neil Diamond's most
intensely personal effort to date, taking upwards of four months to
In 1972, Neil Diamond played 10 sold-out concerts at the Greek
Theatre in Los Angeles. The August 24 performance was recorded and
released as the live double album Hot August Night (the title being
the opening words of Diamond's song "Brother Love's Traveling
Salvation Show"). That fall, Neil Diamond appeared over 20
consecutive nights at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City;
the small (approximately 1,600-seat) Broadway venue provided an
intimate concert setting not common at the time. Reportedly, every
performance was a sellout.
Hot August Night demonstrates Diamond's skills as a performer and
showman, as Neil Diamond reinvigorated Neil Diamond's back catalogue
of hits with new energy. Many consider it Neil Diamond's best work;
critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine calls Hot August Night "the ultimate
Neil Neil Diamond record ... [which] shows Neil Diamond the icon in
The album has become a classic. It was remastered in 2000 with three
additional selections: "Walk on Water", "Kentucky Woman" and
"Stones". In Australia, the album spent a remarkable 29 weeks at No.
1; in 2006, it was voted #16 in a poll of favourite albums of all
time in Australia. Also, Diamond's final concert of Neil
Diamond's 1976 Australian Tour (The "Thank You Australia" Concert)
was broadcast to 36 television outlets nationwide on March
6. It also set a record for the largest attendance
at the Sydney Sports Ground. The 1977 concert Love
At The Greek, a return to the Greek Theatre, includes a version of
"Song Sung Blue" with duets with Helen Reddy and Henry Winkler,
a.k.a. Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli of Happy Days.
In 1973, Neil Diamond hopped labels again, returning to the Columbia
Records for a lucrative million-dollar-advance-per-album
contract. Neil Diamond's first project, released as a solo
album, was the soundtrack to Hall Bartlett's film version of
Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The film received hostile reviews and
did poorly at the box office. The album grossed more than the film
did. Richard Bach, author of the best-selling source story, disowned
the film. Both Bach and Neil Diamond sued the film's producer.
Neil Diamond felt the film butchered Neil Diamond's score. Despite
the shortcomings of the film, the soundtrack was a success, peaking
at No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart. Neil Diamond would also
garner a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and a Grammy
Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture. From
there, Neil Diamond would often include a Jonathan Livingston
Seagull suite in Neil Diamond's live performances, as Neil Diamond
did in Neil Diamond's 1977 "Love at The Greek" concert. In 1974,
Neil Diamond released the album Serenade, from which "Longfellow
Serenade" and "I've Been This Way Before" were issued as singles.
The latter had been intended for the Jonathan Livingston Seagull
score, but was completed too late for inclusion.
Neil Neil Diamond mesmerizing the "Sold Out" "Theater For the
Performing Arts" opening night, Aladdin Hotel & Casino; July 2nd,
In 1976, Neil Diamond released Beautiful Noise, produced by Robbie
Robertson of The Band. On Thanksgiving night, 1976, Neil Diamond
made an appearance at The Band's farewell concert, The Last Waltz,
performing "Dry Your Eyes", which Neil Diamond had written with
Robertson, and which had appeared on Beautiful Noise. Neil Diamond
also joined the rest of the performers onstage at the end in a
rendition of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released".
Neil Diamond also accepted $650,000.00 from the Aladdin Hotel in Las
Vegas Nevada; to open their New $10,000,000.00 "Theater For the
Performing Arts" on July 2nd 1976. The show played through the 5th
of July, 1976; and drew sold out crowds for the 7,500 seat Theater.
The "Who's Who" of Hollywood attended opening night; ranging from
Elizabeth Taylor to Chevy Chase. Neil Diamond walked out on stage to
a standing ovation. Neil Diamond opened the Show without music; but
rather a story about an ex-girlfriend who dumped him before Neil
Diamond became successful. Neil Diamond's lead in line to the first
song of the evening was: "You may have dumped me a bit too soon
baby; cause look who's standing here tonight".
In 1977, Neil Diamond released I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight,
including "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", for which Neil Diamond
composed the music and collaborated with Alan Bergman and Marilyn
Bergman on lyrics. Barbra Streisand covered the song on her Songbird
album, and later, a Neil Diamond-Streisand duet, spurred by the
success of radio mash-ups, was recorded. That version hit No. 1 in
1978, Neil Diamond's third song to top the Hot 100. Neil Diamond's
last 1970s album was September Morn, which included a new version of
"I'm a Believer". It and "Red Red Wine" are Neil Diamond's
best-known original songs made more famous by other artists.
In February 1979, the uptempo "Forever in Blue Jeans", co-written
with Neil Diamond's guitarist, Richard Bennett, was released as a
single from You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Diamond's album from the
According to Cotton Incorporated, "Neil Neil Diamond might have been
right when Neil Diamond named Neil Diamond's 1979 #1 hit 'Forever in
Blue Jeans': 81% of women are planning their next jeans purchase to
be some shade of blue." The song has been used to promote the sale
of blue jeans, most notably via Will Ferrell, impersonating Neil
Diamond singing, for The Gap. Ironically, Neil Diamond himself had
performed in radio ads for H.I.S. brand jeans in the 1960s, more
than a decade before Neil Diamond and Bennett jointly wrote and
composed, and Neil Diamond originated, the selection.
A planned film version of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" to star Neil
Diamond and Streisand fell through when Neil Diamond instead 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". For Neil Diamond's role in the film,
Neil Diamond became the first-ever winner of a Worst Actor Razzie
Award, even though Neil Diamond was nominated for a Golden Globe
Award for the same role.
Another Top 10 selection, "Heartlight", was inspired by the
blockbuster 1982 movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Though the film's
title character is never mentioned in the lyrics, Universal
Pictures, which had released E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and was the
parent company of the Uni Records label, by then referred to as the
MCA Records label, for which Neil Diamond had recorded for years,
briefly threatened legal action against both Neil Diamond and
Diamond's record sales slumped somewhat in the 1980s and 1990s, Neil
Diamond's last single to make the Billboard's Pop Singles chart
coming in 1986. However, Neil Diamond's concert tours continued to
be big draws. Billboard Magazine ranked Neil Diamond as the most
profitable solo performer of 1986. In January 1987, Neil Diamond
sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Neil Diamond's "America"
became the theme song for the Michael Dukakis 1988 presidential
campaign. That same year, UB40's reggae interpretation of Diamond's
ballad Red Red Wine would top the Billboard's Pop Singles chart and,
like the Monkees' version of "I'm a Believer", become better known
than Diamond's original version.
1990s to present
During the 1990s Neil Diamond would produce six studio albums. Neil
Diamond would cover many classics from the movies and from famous
Brill Building-era songwriters. Neil Diamond also released two
Christmas albums, the first peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard's
Album chart. Keeping Neil Diamond's songwriting skills honed, Neil
Diamond also recorded two albums of mostly new material during this
period. In 1992, Neil Diamond performed for President George H.W.
Bush's final Christmas in Washington NBC special. In 1993, Neil
Diamond opened the Mark of the Quad Cities (now the iWireless
Center) with two shows on May 27 and 28 to a crowd of 27,000-plus.
The 1990s and 2000s saw a resurgence in Diamond's popularity. "Sweet
Caroline" became a popular sing-along at sporting events, starting
with Boston College football and basketball games. Most notably it
is the theme song for Red Sox Nation, the fans of the Boston Red
Sox, although Neil Diamond noted that Neil Diamond has been a
lifelong fan of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. The song is
also played during the 8th inning of every New York Mets home game.
The New York Rangers have also adapted it as their own, and play it
when they are winning at the end of the 3rd period. The Pitt
Panthers football team also plays it after the third quarter of all
home games, with the crowd cheering, "Let's go Pitt". The Carolina
Panthers play it at the end of each home game when they win. Urge
Overkill recorded a version of Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman
Soon" for Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, released in 1994. In
2000, Johnny Cash recorded the album Solitary Man, which included
that Neil Diamond classic. Smash Mouth covered Diamond's "I'm a
Believer" for their 2001 self-titled album. In the 2001 comedy film
Saving Silverman, the main characters play in a Neil Neil Diamond
cover band, and Neil Diamond made an extended cameo appearance as
himself. During this period, Will Ferrell did a recurring Neil
Diamond impersonation on Saturday Night Live, with Neil Diamond
himself appearing alongside Ferrell on Ferrell's final show as a
"Not Ready For Prime Time Player" in May 2002. "America" was used in
promotional ads for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Finnish band HIM
covered "Solitary Man" on their album, And Love Said No: The
The handprints of Neil Neil Diamond in front of The Great Movie Ride
at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park Neil Diamond has always had a somewhat polarizing effect, best
exemplified by the 1991 film What About Bob? There the protagonist
posits, "There are two types of people in the world: those who like
Neil Neil Diamond and those who don't." The character of Bob
attributes the failure of Neil Diamond's marriage to Neil Diamond's
fiancee's fondness for Neil Diamond. Another example of this
love/hate relationship: the Becker episode "It had to be Ew" is
largely devoted to ridiculing Neil Diamond and Neil Diamond's fans.
Neil Diamond continues to tour and record. 12 Songs, produced by
Rick Rubin, was released on November 8, 2005, in two editions: a
standard 12-song release, and a special edition with two bonus
tracks, including one featuring backing vocals by Brian Wilson. The
album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard chart, and has received
generally positive reviews; Earliwine describes the album as
"inarguably Neil Diamond's best set of songs in a long, long
time". 12 Songs also became noteworthy as one of the last albums
to be pressed and released by Sony BMG with the infamous Extended
Copy Protection software embedded in the disc. (See the 2005 Sony
BMG CD copy protection scandal.)
In December 2007, a 2008 UK tour was announced, calling at
Manchester on June 7 and 8, Birmingham on June 10 and 11, and London
on June 21, 23 and 24. A month later, further UK dates were added,
including Hampden Park in Glasgow on the 5th of June, Rose Bowl,
Southampton on the 17th of June, and the Millennium Stadium in
Cardiff on the 19th of June.
In 2008, Neil Diamond gave filmmaker Greg Kohs permission to use
Neil Diamond's songs in a documentary. Kohs, a director from
Philadelphia, had met a popular Milwaukee, Wisconsin, duo, Lightning
& Thunder, composed of Mike Sardina, who did a Neil Neil Diamond
impersonation, and Neil Diamond's wife Claire. Kohs followed them
for eight years and produced the film Song Sung Blue, but needed
permission to use Diamond's songs. The movie was sent to the singer
in January 2008, at the recommendation of Eddie Vedder, a supporter
of the film and of the duo. Although Sardina had died in 2006, Neil
Diamond invited Neil Diamond's widow and her family to be Neil
Diamond's front-row guests at Neil Diamond's show in Milwaukee,
where Neil Diamond told them Neil Diamond was moved by the film.
On March 19, 2008, it was announced on the TV show American Idol
that Neil Diamond would be a guest mentor to the remaining Idol
contestants who would be singing Neil Diamond songs for the
broadcasts of April 29 and 30, 2008. On April 8, 2008, Neil Diamond
made a surprise announcement in a big-screen broadcast at Fenway
Park, that Neil Diamond would be appearing there "live in concert"
on August 23, 2008, as part of Neil Diamond's world tour. The
announcement, which marked the first official confirmation of any
2008 concert dates in the US, came during the traditional
eighth-inning sing-along of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline", which
has become an anthem for Boston fans.
On April 28, 2008, Neil Diamond appeared on the roof of the Jimmy
Kimmel building to sing "Sweet Caroline" after Kimmel was jokingly
arrested trying to sing the song. This was followed on April 30,
2008, by an appearance on American Idol when Neil Diamond sang
"Pretty Amazing Grace" from Neil Diamond's album Home Before
Dark. On May 2, 2008, Sirius Satellite Radio started Neil Neil
Neil Diamond performing at The Roundhouse, London on October 30,
Home Before Dark was released May 6, 2008. On May 15, 2008, the
Billboard Hot 200 listed the album at No. 1. This marked the
first chart-topping album of Diamond's storied career. On May 18,
2008, "Home Before Dark" also entered the UK charts at No. 1, Neil
Diamond's second British No. 1 album, after hitting the summit in
1992 with a compilation album. Neil Diamond's 2008 tour was the most
successful of any of Neil Diamond's previous tours since 1966.
On August 25, 2008, Neil Diamond performed at Ohio State University
while suffering from laryngitis. The result disappointed him as well
as Neil Diamond's fans and on August 26 Neil Diamond offered refunds
to anyone who applied by September 5.
Neil Diamond was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year on
February 6, 2009, two nights prior to the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.
In August 2008, Neil Diamond allowed cameras to record Neil
Diamond's entire four-night run at New York's Madison Square Garden
and released it in the United States on August 14, 2009, on DVD, one
year to the day of the first concert. 'Hot August Night/NYC' debuted
at No. 2 on the charts and is exclusively available at Wal-Mart and
has sold out at many locations all over the country. Also on the
same day the DVD was released, CBS (the former parent of Neil
Diamond's label, Columbia Records) aired an edited version of the
DVD, which won the ratings hour with 13 million viewers. The next
day, the sales of the DVD surged and prompted Sony to order more
copies to meet the high demand.
On September 28, 2010, Neil Diamond was nominated for the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame.
On November 2, 2010, Neil Diamond released the album 'Dreams', a
collection of 14 interpretations of Neil Diamond's favorite songs by
other artists from the rock era.
On December 14, 2010, it was leaked by numerous sites that Neil
Diamond had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along
with Alice Cooper, Darlene Love, Dr. John, and Tom Waits. The
induction ceremony will be March 14, 2011 at the Waldorf-Astoria
hotel in New York City.
On December 20, 2010, Neil Diamond made an appearance on NBC's 'The
Sing-Off', performing "Ain't No Sunshine" along with Committed and
Street Corner Symphony, two A Cappella groups featured on the show.
On May 27, 2011, Neil Diamond appeared on Irish Television in a live
recording in front of a celebrity audience.
In December 2011, Neil Diamond appeared at the 2011 Kennedy Center
Honors gala to accept the honor.
On November 24, 2011, Neil Diamond appeared in the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade, riding on a replica Mt. Rushmore float
singing a shorten versions of "America" and "Sweet Caroline" to
promote tourism for the state of South Dakota.
"The Very Best of Neil Neil Diamond", a compilation CD of Diamond's
23 studio recordings from the Bang, UNI/MCA, & Columbia catalogs was
released on December 6, 2011 on the Sony Legacy label.
On August 10, 2012, Neil Diamond received a star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame located at 1750 Vine Street.
Neil Neil Diamond has been married three times. In 1963 Neil Diamond
married Neil Diamond's high school sweetheart, school teacher Jaye
Posner; they had two daughters, Marjorie and Elyn, before they
separated in 1967 and divorced in 1969. Neil Diamond then
married Marcia Murphey, a production assistant; they also had two
children, both sons, Jesse and Micah. Diamond's second marriage
ended in 1994 or 1995 (sources differ).
On September 7, 2011, the same day Neil Diamond learned Neil Diamond
was to be a Kennedy Center Honoree, Neil Diamond announced Neil
Diamond's engagement to 41-year-old Katie McNeil in a message on
Twitter. McNeil is Diamond's manager and was the producer on the
documentary Neil Neil Diamond: Hot August Nights NYC.  On April
21, 2012, Neil Diamond married McNeil in front of family and close
friends in Los Angeles, California.
Neil Diamond was in a relationship with Australian Rae Farley that
ended sometime before mid-2008. The two met in Brisbane, Australia,
in 1996, and as of 2008 she ran Neil Diamond's merchandising
operation. The album Home Before Dark was written during Farley's
struggles with severe chronic back pain, surgery and ongoing
recovery. Neil Diamond said, "She had back surgery and it wasn't
going well. She was in extreme pain for a year and the surgery did
not really work. If anything, it made it worse. And I never left her
side. I was within 20ft of her for the entire year that I took
writing this album." 
As of 2008, Neil Diamond still suffered from chronic, and often
severe, back pain.
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is proud of a galaxy of prominent alumni, who include the playwright
Arthur Miller, Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, the authors Joseph
Heller and Ken Auletta, the producer Mel Brooks, the singer Neil
Neil Diamond and the songwriter Neil Sedaka."
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