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Diamond, Neil

Neil Diamond

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

Neil Diamond is a pop music singer-songwriter with a devoted international following. In The Best of the Music Makers, George T. Simon called Diamond "a balance between sexy superstar and nice boy from Brooklyn," who "has a broad appeal to an audience that cuts across age levels, sophistication levels, and the traditional musical-preference categories." Diamond has been performing his own compositions since 1966, and his long list of hits—from "Cherry, Cherry" to "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Heart Light"—has spanned some 35-40 years. While Simon described the singer's work as "rock domesticated for everyone," Time magazine contributor Jay Cocks saw Diamond otherwise. "Neil Diamond is … fronting a big sound," Cocks wrote. "He has written and sung some of the smoothest and best contemporary pop, yet he remains a performer in search of a tradition, a megabucks pilgrim looking for roots he never had and a place in which to settle." Rock, even soft rock, has never been Diamond's milieu; it is equally wrong to categorize him as a club singer in the Frank Sinatra/Wayne Newton vein. In fact, Cocks concluded that Diamond "is revealed as a rouser, a showman, a kind of bandmaster of the American mainstream." According to Robert Christgau in the New York Daily News, Diamond's singing "combines rawness and control in a way that can please both rock fans … and stylish young adults."

Started as a Songwriter

Some of Diamond's best lyrics reflect a certain confusion about identity and disillusionment that is overcome only by immersing oneself in song. The adult personality who writes such unconventional pop verses can be traced to Neil Leslie Diamond, an insecure Jewish boy who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Diamond changed schools nine times as a child, and as he was intensely shy, he had great difficulty making friends. Instead, he immersed himself in a fantasy world populated by imaginary characters, and idolized the singing cowboys he saw in movies.

When Diamond was 16 he bought a second-hand guitar, learned some chord progressions, and began to compose songs. He also began to sing with the Erasmus Hall High School chorus group, a 100-member glee club that included Barbra Streisand. Diamond was a good student, and after high school he enrolled in pre-medical studies at New York University (NYU). He was in his senior year at NYU when the Sunbeam Music Company, a Tin Pan Alley songwriting mill, offered him a 16-week contract. He dropped out of college and never looked back.

Teaming with friend Jack Parker and billed as Neil & Jack, Diamond cut two Everly Brothers-influenced discs for the tiny New York label Duel Records, but they received little notice on their release in 1960 and 1961. Encouraged by legendary Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Diamond worked at a number of Tin Pan Alley companies and composed songs for the likes of Jay & the Americans, Cliff Richard, Jimmy Clanton, Bobby Vinton, and the Angels. Finally, in 1965 he decided to begin writing songs to sing himself. He performed his work at the Bitter End, a Greenwich Village nightclub, where he attracted the attention of Bert Berns, a producer who was beginning a new label, Bang Records.

A Major Hit Maker

In 1966, Diamond cut three hit singles for Bang: "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," and "I Got a Feelin'." Through publisher Don Kirschner he also contributed a song, "I'm a Believer," to the Monkees, who propelled it to a ten-million-selling, number one hit. In 1967 Diamond went on to release several more bestselling songs, including "Kentucky Woman" and "You Get to Me." His sound imbued both folk and gospel with an erotic edge, and were catchy enough to garner heavy airplay on Top 40 AM radio.

The young artist was not satisfied with Bang Records, however, so in 1968 he moved to the Uni label (a division of MCA's Universal Studios) in Los Angeles. With greater control over his own material and more artistic latitude, Diamond blossomed into an unusual mainstream singer whose work reflected irony, inner turmoil, and psychological depth. He made the Billboard Top Ten with songs as diverse as the jaunty "Cracklin' Rosie," the satirical "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show," and the cryptic "I Am, I Said." Meanwhile, Bang Records continued to lease material he had left behind, scoring Top 40 hits with "Shiloh," "Solitary Man" (first released in 1966), and "Do It."

By 1972, Diamond was a major force in pop music. He became the first pop-rock artist to headline a musical performance on Broadway at the prestigious Winter Garden Theatre with his One Man Show, and he also traveled widely, giving concerts in every major American city. However, the strain of constant touring caught up with Diamond after his Winter Garden engagement, and he went into temporary retirement. The hiatus lasted more than three years; he spent the time undergoing intense psychotherapy, regaining his family ties, and studying music theory. Ironically, his few recordings during this period were among his most successful. His 1973 soundtrack for the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull won a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe Award, and garnered an Oscar nomination. Simon noted that at the time "some predicted that [Diamond] would be forgotten if he stayed out of the tour circuit for long."

For the Record …

Born Neil Leslie Diamond on January 24, 1941, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Kieve (a dry goods store proprietor) and Rose Diamond; married; first wife's name, Jaye Posner, second wife's name, Marcia Murphy; children: (first marriage) Marjorie, Elyn; (second marriage) Jesse, Micah. Education: Attended New York University on a fencing scholarship.

Songwriter for Sunbeam Music Company and other songwriting shops, 1962–65; songwriter, singer, musician, and recording artist, 1965–; appeared on several network television programs including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and Mannix; composer of soundtracks for films Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 1973, Every Which Way But Loose, 1978, and The Jazz Singer, 1980; actor in film The Jazz Singer, 1980; host of television variety specials "The Neil Diamond Special," 1977, and "I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight," 1977, both NBC; released albums including 2005's 12 Songs; renowned international concert performer and entertainer.

Awards: More than 20 gold and platinum records; Grammy Award and Golden Globe Award, for "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" soundtrack, both 1974; ASCAP Award, Most Performed Feature Film Standard, for "America" from The Jazz Singer, 1980; inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame, and presented with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000.

Addresses: Record company—Columbia Records, 1801 Century Park W., Los Angeles, CA 90067, website: http://www.columbiarecords.com. Website—Neil Diamond Official Website: http://www.neildiamond.com.

A Major Concert Attraction

Diamond surprised the doubters when he returned to a full schedule in 1976. He played to sellout crowds in New Zealand and Australia, then returned for a three-performance, $500,000 stint at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Simultaneously, his concept album Beautiful Noise—and its single "If You Know What I Mean"—went gold. The following year Diamond starred in two television specials on NBC, "The Neil Diamond Special," and "I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight." He was also working under a million dollar advance per album contract with Columbia records.

Such continued success had its drawbacks. Diamond's work had generally received mixed-to-negative reviews; critics were particularly savage about his starring role in the 1980 film "The Jazz Singer." An album reviewer for the Rolling Stone Record Guide voiced the disdain some rock critics felt for Diamond. "Diamond was writing potboilers, and his thirst was for Pulitzerlevel poesy," the critic contended. "Unfortunately, his imagination and the very blandness of his voice condemned him to setting a model for the radical-[middle-of-the-road] singer/songwriter style of the Seventies…. Like so many of his pop predecessors, his talent is greatest when he reaches for less, not more."

Revived Artistic Passion

Diamond himself had admitted in People magazine that he had struggled with doubts about his songs. "After years of working with a psychiatrist," he said, "I have finally forgiven myself for not being Beethoven." Diamond may not be Beethoven, but the emotions he stirs among his millions of fans cannot be minimized—he has endured too long. People quoted screenwriter Stephen Foreman on Diamond's talent: "When you see a crowd of paunchy, middle-aged auto executives in Detroit get up and start dancing in the aisles, you realize something pretty unusual is going on." That "something unusual" is a bond created between Diamond and his audience by his meaningful lyrics, his soulful performances, and his comfortable, catchy tunes. "My music says what I am," Diamond told the New York Post. "It speaks about what I feel as a person, what I dream about, what I hope to be."

Boasting a fanatically loyal worldwide audience, Diamond's status as a music legend was certainly secure. Yet by 2003 he felt the need to once again be challenged as an artist. Aided by producer Rick Rubin, who had resuscitated Johnny Cash's faded artistic glory, Diamond recaptured the love of his craft. "I told Rick that I'd call when I had some new things to play," the singer said in the liner notes to 12 Songs, released in 2005. "Before long, song ideas, dummy lyrics, and melodic sketches began to pile up." Diamond further noted, "It was difficult but what a blast!" Rubin made the artist constantly rewrite, sing, and play live in the studio with limited back-up instrumentation. The resulting album contained some of the catchiest, most heartfelt music Diamond had made since the early 1970s. Even the oft-critical Rolling Stone lauded the effort. "He's as direct as he's ever been with his lyrics, which give them an extra poignancy," observed Stone reviewer Barry Walters, before concluding, "Diamond pleads for mercy and understanding, attaining a simple profundity—something both hard-core rock fans and your great aunt can understand."

Selected discography

Singles

"Solitary Man," Bang, 1966; rereleased, 1970.
"Cherry, Cherry," Band, 1966.
"I Got the Feelin' (Oh No No)," Bang, 1966.
"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," Bang, 1967.
"I Thank the Lord for the Night Time," Bang, 1967.
"Kentucky Woman," Bang, 1967.
"You Got to Me," Bang, 1967.
"Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," Uni, 1969.
"Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)," Uni, 1969.
"Holly Holy," Uni, 1969.
"Shilo," Bang, 1970.
"Soolaimon (African Trilogy II)," Uni, 1970.
"Cracklin' Rosie," Uni, 1970.
"He Ain't Heavy … He's My Brother," Uni, 1970.
"Do It," Bang, 1970.
"I Am … I Said," Uni, 1971.
"Stones/Crunchy Granola Suite," Uni, 1971.
"Song Sung Blue," Uni, 1972.
"Play Me," Uni, 1972.
"Walk On Water," Uni, 1972.
"Cherry, Cherry" (from Hot August Night), MCA, 1973.
"Be," Columbia, 1973.
"Longfellow Serenade," Columbia, 1974.
"I've Been This Way Before," Columbia, 1975.
"If You Know What I Mean," Columbia, 1976.
"Desiree," Columbia, 1977.
(With Barbara Streisand) "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," Columbia, 1978.
"Forever in Blue Jeans," Columbia, 1979.
"September Morn'," Columbia, 1980.
"Love on the Rocks," Capitol, 1980.
"Hello Again," Capitol, 1981.
"America," Capitol, 1981.
"Yesterday's Songs," Columbia, 1981.
"On the Way to the Sky," Columbia, 1982.
"Be Mine Tonight," Columbia, 1982.
"Heartlight," Columbia, 1982.
"Yesterday's Songs," Columbia, 1983.
"Front Page Story," Columbia, 1983.
"I'm Alive," Columbia, 1983.
"Turn Around," Columbia, 1984.
"Headed for the Future," Columbia, 1986.
"Story of my Life," Columbia, 1986.
"I Dreamed a Dream," Columbia, 1987.
"The Best Years of Our Lives," Columbia, 1989.
"This Time," Columbia, 1989.
"Don't Turn Around," Columbia, 1992.
"Hooked on the Memory of You," Columbia, 1992.
"You Are the Best Part of Me," Columbia, 2001.
"Delirious Love," Columbia, 2005.

Albums

The Feel of Neil Diamond, Bang, 1966.
Shilo, Bang, 1968.
Velvet Gloves & Spit, Uni, 1969.
Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show, Uni, 1969.
Touching Me, Touching You, Uni, 1969.
Gold, Uni, 1970.
Tap Root Manuscript, Uni, 1970.
Stones, Uni, 1971.
Moods, Uni, 1972.
Hot August Night, MCA, 1972.
Rainbow, MCA, 1973.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Columbia, 1973.
Serenade, Columbia, 1974.
Beautiful Noise, Columbia, 1976.
Live at the Greek, Columbia, 1977.
I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight, Columbia, 1977.
You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Columbia, 1978.
September Morn, Columbia, 1980.
The Jazz Singer, Capitol, 1980.
Best of Neil Diamond, World, 1981.
On the Way to the Sky, Columbia, 1981.
Love Songs, MCA, 1981.
Song Sung Blue, Columbia, 1982.
Heart Light, Columbia, 1982.
Neil Diamond's Twelve Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1982.
Primitive, Columbia, 1984.
Classics of the Early Years, Columbia, 1984.
Headed for the Future, Columbia, 1986.
Neil Diamond, Columbia, 1986.
Hot August Night II (Live), Columbia, 1987.
The Best Years of Our Lives, Columbia, 1988.
Lovescape, Columbia, 1991.
The Christmas Album, Columbia, 1992.
Up On the Roof: Songs from the Brill Building, Columbia, 1993.
The Christmas Album, Vol. 2, Columbia, 1994.
Live in America, Columbia, 1995.
Tennessee Moon, Columbia, 1996.
The Movie Album: As Time Goes By, Columbia, 1998.
Three Chord Opera, Sony, 2001.
Play Me: the Complete Uni Studio Sessions, MCA, 2001.
Stages: Performances 1970–2002, Columbia, 2003.
The Essential Neil Diamond, Sony, 2005.
12 Songs, Columbia, 2005.
Legends, Universal, 2006.

Sources

Books

The Rolling Stone Record Guide, Random House, 1979.

Simon, George T., The Best of the Music Makers, Doubleday, 1979.

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, December 14, 1980.

Daily News (New York, NY), October 6, 1972.

New York Post, October 30, 1972.

New York Times, October 1, 1972.

People, January 22, 1979; April 5, 1982.

Rolling Stone, September 23, 1976.

Time, January 26, 1981.

Online

"Neil Diamond," Rolling Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com (November 3, 2005).

"Neil Diamond," Songwriters Hall of Fame, http://www.songwriterhalloffame.org (March 1, 2006).

Additional information was obtained from the liner notes to 12 Songs, from which a quotation used in this entry was drawn.

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"Diamond, Neil." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Diamond, Neil

Neil Diamond

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Neil Diamond is pop musics perennial chart-topper, a singer-songwriter with a devoted international following. In The Best of the Music Makers, George T. Simon calls Diamond a balance between sexy superstar and nice boy from Brooklyn who has a broad appeal to an audience that cuts across age levels, sophistication levels, and the traditional musical-preference categories. Diamond has been performing his own compositions since 1966, and his long list of hitsfrom Cherry, Cherry to You Dont Bring Me Flowers and Heart Lighthas spanned some 15 years. While Simon describes the singers work as rock domesticated for everyone, Time magazine contributor Jay Cocks sees Diamond otherwise. Neil Diamond is fronting a big sound, Cocks writes. He has written and sung some of the smoothest and best contemporary pop, yet he remains a performer in search of a tradition, a megabucks pilgrim looking for roots he never had and a place in which to settle. Rock, even soft-rock, has never been Diamonds milieu; it is equally wrong to categorize him as a club singer in the Frank Sinatra/Wayne Newton vein. In fact, Cocks concludes, Diamond is revealed as a rouser, a showman, a kind of bandmaster of the American mainstream. According to Robert Christgau in the New York Daily News, Diamonds singing combines rawness and control in a way that can please both rock fans and stylish young adults.

Some of Diamonds best lyrics reflect a certain confusion about identity and disillusionment overcome only by immersing oneself in song. The adult personality who writes such unconventional pop verses can be traced to Neil Leslie Diamond, an insecure Jewish boy who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Diamond changed schools nine times as a child, and as he was intensely shy, he had great difficulty making friends. Instead, he immersed himself in a fantasy world populated by imaginary characters and idolized the singing cow-boys he saw in movies.

When Diamond was 16 he bought a second-hand guitar, learned some chord progressions, and began to compose songs. He also began to sing with the Erasmus Hall High School chorus group, a 100-member glee club that included Barbra Streisand. Diamond was a good student, so after high school he enrolled in pre-medical studies at New York University. He was in his senior year at NYU when the Sunbeam Music Company, a Tin Pan Alley songwriting mill, offered him a 16-week contract. He dropped out of college and never returned. It just absorbed me and became more and more important as the years passed.

Between 1962 and 1965 Diamond worked at a number of Tin Pan Alley companies, trying to crank out mainstream

For the Record

Full name, Neil Leslie Diamond; born January 24, 1941, in Brooklyn, N.Y.; son of Kieve (a dry goods store proprietor) and Rose Diamond; married; second wifes name, Marcia Murphy; children: (first marriage) Marjorie, Elyn; (second marriage) Jesse, Micah. Education: Attended New York University.

Songwriter for Sunbeam Music Company and other songwriting shops, 1962-65; songwriter, singer, musician and recording artist, 1965; composer of soundtracks for films Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 1973, Every Which Way But Loose, 1978, and The Jazz Singer, 1980; actor in film The Jazz Singer, 1980; host of television variety specials The Neil Diamond Special, 1977, and Im Glad Youre Here with Me Tonight, 1977, both NBC.

Awards: More than twenty gold and platinum records; received Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Academy Award nomination, all 1974, all for Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack; received Grammy Award nomination with Barbara Streisand, for song You Dont Bring Me Flowers, 1979.

Addresses: Office c/o Columbia Records, 1801 Century Park W., Los Angeles, Calif., 90067.

tunes to order. Finally, in 1965, he decided to begin writing songs that he wanted to sing himself. He performed his work at the Bitter End, a Greenwich Village nightclub, where he attracted the attention of Bert Berns, a producer who was beginning a new label, Bang Records. In 1966 Diamond cut three hit singles for Bang: Solitary Man, Cherry, Cherry, and I Got a Feelin. He also contributed a song, Im a Believer, to the Monkees, who propelled it to a 10 million-selling, number one hit. Diamond went on in 1967 to release several more bestselling songs, including Kentucky Woman and You Get to Me.

The young artist was not satisfied with Berns and Bang Records, however, so in 1968 he moved to the Uni label (a division of MCAs Universal Studios) in Los Angeles. With greater control over his own material and more artistic latitude, Diamond blossomed into an unusual mainstream singer whose work reflected irony, inner turmoil, and psychological depth. He made the Bill-board top ten with songs as diverse as the jaunty Cracklin Rosie, the satirical Brother Loves Travelling Salvation Show, and cryptic I Am, I Said. By 1972 he was a major force in pop music. He became the first pop-rock artist to headline a musical performance on Broadway at the prestigious Winter Garden Theatre, and he also travelled widely, giving concerts in every major American city.

The strain caught up with Diamond after his Winter Garden engagement, and he went into temporary retirement. The hiatus lasted forty months; he spent the time undergoing intense psychotherapy, regaining his family ties, and studying music theory. Ironically, his few recordings during this period were among his most successful. His 1973 soundtrack for the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull won a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Oscar nomination. Still, Simon notes, some predicted that he would be forgotten if he stayed out of the tour circuit for long.

Diamond surprised the doubters when he returned to a full schedule in 1976. He played to sellout crowds in New Zealand and Australia, then returned for a three-performance, $500, 000 stint at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Simultaneously, his concept album Beautiful Noise and its single If You Know What I Meanwent gold. The following year Diamond starred in two television specials on NBC, The Neil Diamond Special, and Im Glad Youre Here with Me Tonight. He was also working under a million-dollar-advance-per-album contract with Columbia records.

Such continued success had its drawbacks, however. Diamonds work has always received mixed-to-negative reviews; critics were particularly savage about his starring role in The Jazz Singer, a 1980 film. An album reviewer for the Rolling Stone Record Guide perhaps summarizes the disdain some rock critics have felt for Diamond. Diamond was writing potboilers, and his thirst was for Pulitzer-level poesy, the critic contends. Unfortunately, his imagination and the very blandness of his voice condemned him to setting a model for the radical-[middle-of-the-road] singer/songwriter style of the Seventies. Like so many of his pop predecessors, his talent is greatest when he reaches for less, not more.

Diamond himself had admitted in People magazine that he used to struggle with doubts about his songs. After years of working with a psychiatrist, he said, I have finally forgiven myself for not being Beethoven. Diamond may not be Beethoven, but the emotions he stirs among his millions of fans cannot be discountedhe has endured too long. People quotes screenwriter Stephen Foreman on Diamonds talent: When you see a crowd of paunchy, middle-aged auto executives in Detroit get up and start dancing in the aisles, you realize something pretty unusual is going on. That something unusual is a bond created between Diamond and his audience by his meaningful lyrics, his soulful performances, and his comfortable, catchy tunes. My music says what I am, Diamond told the New York Post.It speaks about what I feel as a person, what I dream about, what I hope to be.

Selected discography

The Feel of Neil Diamond, Bang, 1966.

Shilo, Bang, 1968.

Velvet Gloves & Spit, Uni, 1969.

Brother Loves Travelling Salvation Show, Uni, 1969.

Touching Me, Touching You, Uni, 1969.

Gold, Uni, 1970.

Tap Root Manuscript, Uni, 1970.

Stones, Uni, 1971.

Moods, Uni, 1972.

Hot August Night, MCA, 1972.

Rainbow, MCA, 1973.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Columbia, 1973.

Serenade, Columbia, 1974.

Beautiful Noise, Columbia, 1976.

Love at the Greek, Columbia, 1977.

Im Glad Youre Here with Me Tonight, Columbia, 1977.

You Dont Bring Me Flowers, Columbia, 1978.

September Morn, Columbia, 1980.

The Jazz Singer, Capitol, 1980.

Best of Neil Diamond, World, 1981.

On the Way to the Sky, Columbia, 1981.

Love Songs, MCA, 1981.

Song Sung Blue, Columbia, 1982.

Heart Light, Columbia, 1982.

Neil Diamonds Twelve Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1982.

Primitive, Columbia, 1984.

Classics of the Early Years, Columbia, 1984.

Headed for the Future, Columbia, 1986.

Neil Diamond, Columbia, 1986.

Sources

Books

The Rolling Stone Record Guide, Random House, 1979.

Simon, George T., The Best of the Music Makers, Doubleday, 1979.

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, December 14, 1980.

Daily News (New York), October 6, 1972.

New York Post, October 30, 1972.

New York Times, October 1, 1972.

People, January 22, 1979; April 5, 1982.

Rolling Stone, September 23, 1976.

Time, January 26, 1981.

Anne Janette Johnson

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Diamond, Neil 1941–

DIAMOND, Neil 1941


PERSONAL


Full name, Neil Leslie Diamond; born January 24, 1941, in Brooklyn, NY; married Jaye Posner (divorced, 1967); married Marcia Murphey, 1969 (divorced March, 1995); children: (first marriage) Marjorie, Elyn; (second marriage) Jesse, Micah. Education: Attended New York University.


Addresses: Contact c/o 10345 West Olympic Blvd., #200, Los Angeles, CA 900642548; c/o Friends of Neil Diamond, P.O. Box 3357, Hollywood, CA 90028.

Career: Singer, musician, composer, and actor. Bang Records, recording artist, 196568, then Uni Records, 196873, then Columbia Records, 1973.


Awards, Honors: Grammy Award nomination, outstanding pop vocalmale, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1971, for "I Am, I Said"; Grammy Award nomination (with others), record of the year, 1972, for "Song Sung Blue"; Grammy Award nomination (with others), album of the year, 1972, for Moods; Grammy Award, outstanding original scoremotion picture or a television special, 1973, Golden Globe Award, best original film score, 1974, both for Jonathon Livingston Seagull; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding specialvariety or music, 1977, for The Neil Diamond Special; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding specialcomedyvariety or music, 1978, for Neil Diamond: I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight; Grammy Award nomination (with others), song of the year, 1978, for "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"; Grammy Award nominations (with others), record of the year and outstanding pop vocalduo, group, or chorus, 1979, both for "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"; Grammy Award nomination (with others), best original scoremotion picture or a television special, Golden Globe Award nominations (with others), best original songmotion picture and best motion picture actormusical/comedy, 1981, all for The Jazz Singer; American Music Award, special award of merit, 1990; ASCAP Award, most featured film standards, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 1991, for The Jazz Singer; New York University, honorary degree, 1995.


CREDITS


Film Appearances:

The Last Waltz, 1978.

Yussel Rabinowitz, The Jazz Singer, 1980.

Himself, Neil Diamond: Greatest Hits Live, 1988.

Himself, Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume I, 1994.

Himself, Neil Diamond: Under a Tennessee Moon, 1996.

Himself, Saving Silverman (also known as Evil Woman and Evil Women ), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2001.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Neil Diamond Special, NBC, 1977.

The Neil Diamond Special: I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight, NBC, 1977.

The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1985.

An AllStar Celebration Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., NBC, 1986.

Liberty Weekend, ABC, 1986.

Neil Diamond ... Hello Again, CBS, 1986.

Welcome Home, HBO, 1987.

Neil Diamond's Greatest HitsLive, HBO, 1988.

American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special, ABC, 1992.

Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1992.

Neil Diamond's Christmas Special, HBO, 1992.

Neil Diamond: The Christmas Story, ABC, 1993.

Opryland's Country Christmas, CBS, 1994.

Sinatra Duets, CBS, 1994.

American Bandstand's Teen Idol, 1994.

Neil Diamond ... Under a Tennessee Moon, ABC, 1996.

Neil Diamond: The Making of "The Movie Album, " AMC, 1998.

ABC 2000, ABC, 1999.

Neil Diamond Live by Request, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Himself, Reel Comedy: Saving Silverman, 2001.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 49th Annual Academy Awards, 1977.

The 21st Annual Grammy Awards, 1979.

The 17th Annual American Music Awards, 1990.

The 23rd Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1996.

The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 2000.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"The Many Deaths of Saint Christopher," Mannix, 1967.

(Uncredited) Himself, Saturday Night Live, NBC, 2002.

Himself, V Graham Norton, Channel 4, 2002.

Himself, Top of the Pops 2, 2003.

Also appeared as himself, The Music Scene.

Television Work; Specials:

Executive producer, Neil Diamond: The Christmas Special, HBO, 1992.

Executive producer, Neil Diamond: The Christmas Special, ABC, 1993.

Television Song Performer; Pilots:

(Theme song only) Chris and the Magical Drip, syndicated, 1981.

Stage Appearances:

(Broadway debut) Neil Diamond One Man Show, Winter Garden Theatre, 19721973.

RECORDINGS


Albums:

The Feel of Neil Diamond, Bang, 1966.

Just for You, Bang, 1967.

Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits, Bang, 1968.

Velvet Gloves and Spit, MCA, 1968.

Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show/Sweet Caroline, MCA/UNI, 1969.

Touching You, Touching Me, MCA, 1970.

Tap Root Manuscript, MCA, 1970.

Shilo, Bang, 1970.

Neil Diamond, MFP, 1970.

Stones, MCA, 1971.

Do It!, Bang, 1971.

Neil Diamond Gold, MCA, 1971.

Moods, MCA, 1972.

Hot August Night, MCA, 1972.

Jonathon Livingston Seagull, Columbia, 1973.

Rainbow, MCA, 1973.

Double Gold, Bang, 1973.

Gold, Universal City, 1973.

His Twelve Greatest Hits, MCA, 1974.

Serenade, Columbia, 1974.

Focus on Neil Diamond, London, 1975.

And the Singer Sings His Songs, MCA, 1976.

Beautiful Noise, Columbia, 1976.

Love at The Greek, Columbia, 1976.

I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight, Columbia, 1977.

You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Columbia, 1978.

Early Classics, Frog King, 1978.

20 Golden Greats, EMI, 1978.

Carmelita's Eyes, CBS, 1978.

September Morn, Columbia, 1980.

The Jazz Singer, Capitol, 1980.

Diamonds, MCA, 1981.

Solitary Man, Hallmark, 1981.

Love Songs, MCA, 1981.

On the Way to the Sky, Columbia, 1981.

Best of Neil Diamond, World, 1981.

Song Sung Blue, MFP, 1982.

Live Diamond, MCA, 1982.

Heartlight, Columbia, 1982.

Twelve Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, Columbia, 1982.

Very Best of Neil Diamond, Vols. 1 & 2, KTel, 1983.

Greatest Hits, CBS, 1983.

Stones/Moods, MCS, 1983.

Classics: The Early Years, Columbia, 1983.

Love Songs: Gold, MCA, 1984.

Primitive, Columbia, 1984.

Hot August Night II, Columbia, 1986.

Headed for the Future, Columbia, 1986.

Red Red Wine, Pickwick, 1988.

The Best Years of Our Lives, Columbia, 1988.

Lovescape, Columbia, 1991.

The Christmas Album, Columbia, 1992.

Up on the RoofSongs from the Brill Building, Columbia, 1993.

Live in America, Columbia, 1994.

The Christmas Album, Volume II, Columbia, 1994.

I Knew Love, Ariola Express, 1996.

Tennessee Moon, Columbia, 1996.

In My Lifetime, 1996.

Live in Concert, Reader's Digest, 1997.

The Movie AlbumAs Times Goes By, Sony, 1998.

The Best of the Movie AlbumAs Time Goes By, Sony, 1999.

Three Chord Opera, 2001.

Recorded Voices of Vista: Show #200, Nola.

Videos:

Neil Diamond OpenEnd Interview, Uni, 1971.

Love at The Greek, Vestron, 1977.

Greatest Hits Live, CBS, 1988.

WRITINGS


Film Scores:

Jonathon Livington Seagull, Paramount, 1973.

The Jazz Singer, 1980.

Film Songs:

Every Which Way But Loose, Warner Bros., 1978.

Something Wild, Orion, 1986.

Arthur 2 on the Rocks, Warner Bros., 1988.

Theme music, Switching Channels, 1988.

Many of Diamond's songs, including "Holly Holy," "I'm a Believer," and "Sweet Caroline," have been featured in numerous films, including Shrek, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, EdTV, and Something Wild.

Stage Music:

(With others) Dancin', Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 19781980 then U.S., Canadian, and European cities, 19801984.

Television Songs; Specials:

Neil Diamond ... Hello Again, CBS, 1986.

The Temptations and Four Tops, Showtime, 1986.

Neil Diamond's Greatest HitsLive, HBO, 1988.

Neil Diamond's Christmas Special, HBO, 1992.

Neil Diamond: The Christmas Story, ABC, 1993.

The 1994 Billboard Music Awards, 1994.

Neil Diamond ... Under a Tennessee Moon, ABC, 1996.

Neil Diamond: The Making of "The Movie Album, " AMC, 1998.

Songbooks:

Deluxe Book of Songs, G. Hansen Publishing, 1970.

The Neil Diamond Songbook, Putnam Publishing Group, 1982.

OTHER SOURCES


Books:

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Schirmer, 2001.

Contemporary Musicians, Volume 1, Gale Research, 1989.

Grossman, Alan, Bill Truman, and Roy Oki Yamanaka, Diamond, A Biography, Contemporary Books, 1987.

Harvey, Diana Karanikas and Jackson Harvey, Neil Diamond, MetroBooks, 1996.

Wiseman, Rich, Neil Diamond, Solitary Star, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1987.

Periodicals:

Entertainment Weekly, February 9, 1996, p. 26.

Interview, January, 1994, p. 30.

New York Times, July 20, 1986.

People Weekly, April 29, 1996, p. 124.

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Diamond, Neil

NEIL DIAMOND

Born: Brooklyn, New York, 24 January 1941

Genre: Pop, Rock, Country

Best-selling album since 1990: Tennessee Moon (1996)


Asinger/songwriter who has enjoyed a long and varied career, Neil Diamond first achieved recognition during the mid-1960s, writing and recording hits in an exuberant, breezy style associated with the tuneful "Brill Building" sound popular during the era. By the late 1960s and early 1970s he had evolved into a moody rock star, achieving success with powerful songs such as "Holly Holy" (1969) and "Solitary Man" (1970). Never popular among critics, who often lambasted his lack of subtlety and blunt singing style, Diamond gained increased popularity during the 1970s and 1980s, releasing a string of heavily orchestrated pop hits that many writers described as bombastic. Despite critical reservations, Diamond fostered an ardent cult following, its members known informally as "Diamondheads." Always seeking new opportunities as an artist, Diamond in the 1990s made successful forays into country and classic pop standards before returning in 2001 to his former rock-based style.

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, where as a child he was a friend of future music superstar Barbra Streisand, Diamond began writing songs and performing during his mid-teens. He made his first singles for the small Duel label in 1960 before becoming a full-time songwriter in 1962. After writing pop group the Monkees's number one hit, "I'm a Believer" (1966), Diamond returned to performing, signing with the small Bang label and releasing youth-oriented hits such as the engaging "Cherry Cherry" (1966). In 1968 he moved to Uni Records, a subsidiary of major label MCA, and pursued a tougher, sharper style in the mold of rock stars Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. During this period, he enlisted the services of the American Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, popular with rock and R&B performers such as Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett, and, most famously, Elvis Presley. There, he recorded the hits often judged by critics to be his finest: "Sweet Caroline," "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," and the brooding "Holly Holy" (all 1969).

In the 1970s and 1980s, Diamond began to take himself more seriously as an artist, recording songs about poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ("Longfellow Serenade," 1974) and scoring the film soundtracks Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) and The Jazz Singer (1980), a film in which he starred. Criticized by music reviewers for his over-wrought vocal style and lack of humor, Diamond nonetheless built up a loyal fan base through the strength of his dynamic, entertaining live performances. In 1978 he released one of his biggest hits, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," a glossy ballad duet with Streisand.

In the 1990s Diamond recorded Lovescape (1991), a sophisticated pop album, before returning to his roots on Up on the RoofSongs from the Brill Building (1993). A celebration of the hit music created at the famous edifice in Manhattan, where songwriters such as Carole King and Burt Bacharach crafted pop hits during the 1960s, the album features versions of classic songs such as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "Spanish Harlem," and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin," a duet with country star Dolly Parton. While Diamond captures a yearning romantic quality on songs such as "A Groovy Kind of Love," his melodramatic tendencies are often in evidence on other tracks. For instance, in the middle of "Up on the Roof," a hit made famous by the pop and R&B group the Drifters in 1963, he shouts out, "Look at those stars, darlin'!" Aside from moments such as these, Diamond largely retains the phrasing and sound of the original versions, although his new arrangements substitute synthesizers for strings.

Given the nostalgic pop orientation of Up on the Roof, Diamond's next move came as a surprise: a legitimate country album, recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, the country capital. Critics inclined to dismiss Tennessee Moon (1996) were impressed by Diamond's credible, assured performances of songs such as the romantic "Deep Inside of You" and the breezy title track. Recorded in the streamlined, polished style popular within the world of 1990s country radio, Tennessee Moon became a substantial hit, reaching the number three position on the country album charts. Next, Diamond collaborated with legendary film arranger Elmer Bernstein on The Movie Album: As Time Goes By (1998), a collection of classic pop songs including "Secret Love" and "Moon River." Despite the effulgence of Bernstein's arrangements, Diamond often sounds unsuited to this type of material, primarily because his gruff vocal style does not translate easily to lush ballads. In 2001 Diamond returned to form with Three Grand Opera, an album that comes close to capturing the drive and energy of his late 1960s hits. On songs such as "You Are the Best Part of Me," nicely arranged with steel drums, he achieves power through a new sense of restraint.

Beginning his career in the mid-1960s as a songwriter, Diamond assumed a variety of rolesranging from hard rocker to dramatic pop belteras the decades progressed. Although critical acclaim for the most part eluded him, Diamond attained unwavering support from listeners who responded to his heart-on-sleeve brand of romanticism.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

The Feel of Neil Diamond (Bang, 1966); Tap Root Manuscript (Uni, 1970); Hot August Night (MCA, 1972); You Don't Bring Me Flowers (Columbia, 1978); Heartlight (Columbia, 1982); Lovescape (Columbia, 1991); Up On the RoofSongs from the Brill Building (Columbia, 1993); Tennessee Moon (Columbia, 1996); The Movie Album: As Time Goes By (Columbia, 1998); Three Chord Opera (Columbia, 2001). Soundtracks: Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Sony, 1973); The Jazz Singer (Sony, 1980).

WEBSITE:

www.neildiamond.com.

david freeland

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"Diamond, Neil." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Diamond, Neil." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/diamond-neil