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Music / Neil Diamond

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Diamond in his 1970s heyday.

"What a beautiful noise
Coming into my room
And it's waiting for me
Just to give it a tune."
— "Beautiful Noise"

Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York) made his debut as a Singer-Songwriter in the mid-Sixties, with such hits as "Cherry Cherry", "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", and "Sweet Caroline". Diamond also had a massive hit with 1972 concert album Hot August Night. He has revived his career many times, starting with the successful soundtrack album from the failed movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The momentum that had run out by the beginning of The '80s was given new force with the song "Heartlight", which was rejected from the soundtrack of the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial but was accepted by millions of fans.

Diamond faded a bit in The '90s but still has a following.

Elected to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1984 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Album discography (excluding compilations):

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    Studio albums 
  • The Feel of Neil Diamond (1966)
  • Just for You (1967)
  • Velvet Gloves and Spit (1968)
  • Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show (1969)note 
  • Touching You, Touching Me (1969)
  • Tap Root Manuscript (1970)
  • Stones (1971)
  • Moods (1972)
  • Rainbow (his first Cover Album) (1973) - this is a compilation of covers that appeared on his Uni Records albums.
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack album (1973)
  • Serenade (1974)
  • Beautiful Noise (1976)
  • I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight (1977)
  • You Don't Bring Me Flowers (1978)
  • September Morn (1979)
  • The Jazz Singer soundtrack album (1980)
  • On the Way to the Sky (1981)
  • Heartlight (1982)
  • Primitive (1984)
  • Headed for the Future (1986)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1988)
  • Lovescape (1991)
  • The Christmas Album (1992)
  • Up on the Roof: Songs from the Brill Building (his second Cover Album) (1993)
  • Tennessee Moon (1995)
  • The Movie Album: As Time Goes By (his third Cover Album) (1998)
  • Three Chord Opera (2001)
  • 12 Songs (2005)
  • Home Before Dark (2008)
  • A Cherry Cherry Christmas (2009)
  • Dreams (his fourth Cover Albumnote ) (2010)
  • Melody Road (2014)

    Live albums 
  • Gold: Recorded Live at the Troubadour (1970)
  • Hot August Night (1972)
  • Love at the Greek (1977)
  • Hot August Night II (1987)
  • Live in America (1994)
  • Stages: Performances 1970-2002 (2003)
  • Hot August Night/NYC (2009)

Film and TV appearances:

"They're troping to America, today":

  • Brooklyn Rage: Diamond was born and raised in Brooklyn.
  • Christmas Songs: Despite being Jewish, Diamond has released three albums of these (though he ended A Cherry Cherry Christmas with a Cover Version of Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song").
  • Concept Album: The second side of Tap Root Manuscript is a suite of African-themed songs.
  • Cover Album: As noted in the discography, he's released four of them. Also, his 1971 album Stones comes close to this trope, since it has only two originals (the Title Track and "I Am... I Said") mixed with covers.
  • Dead Sparks: "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", which was a hit duet between Diamond and Barbra Streisand in 1978.
  • Don't Think, Feel: "Don't Think, Feel", appropriately enough.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "Red Red Wine" and "Cracklin' Rosie."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Like fellow 1970s Soft Rock singer-songwriter Carole King, Neil Diamond started out as a musician in the Brill Building pop/rock genre, much like Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, and a certain other Neilnote . He was also in a duo with his high school friend known as Neil and Jack.
  • Fatal Attractor: The singer in "Solitary Man" seems to be very unlucky in love and is currently unattached.
  • Genre Roulette: He has recorded music in many genres including pop, rock, country, showtunes, folk, folk-rock, etc. throughout his career.
  • "I Am" Song: "I Am... I Said."
  • Imaginary Friend: "Shilo."
  • Isn't It Ironic?: Possibly subverted with "Sweet Caroline". This song sounds like a romantic love ballad, but on two occasions, Diamond stated that he had written it for Caroline Kennedy, then five years old at the time. However, in 2014, Diamond gave a different account, stating that it was about his then-wife Marcia, but the name "Caroline" was substituted to fit the meter.
  • List Song: "Done Too Soon", ostensibly a meditation on notable people who died young, though the presence of Buster Keaton (died at 70) and Ho Chi Minh (died at 79) stretches the definition a bit.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "If You Know What I Mean."
    Now, here's to the songs we used to sing
    And here's to the times we used to know,
    It's hard to hold them in our arms again, but
    Hard to let them go...
    Can you hear 'em, babe?
    Can you hear 'em, babe?
    It was another time, it was another place,
    Do you remember it, babe?
  • Location Song: "Kentucky Woman" celebrates the singer's sweetheart from that state.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: He starred in the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer, which was critically-reviled but a modest hit at the box office, and the soundtrack birthed three Top 10 hits ("America", "Love on the Rocks", "Hello Again").
  • Ode to Sobriety: "The Pot Smoker's Song" is of the "deconstructed ode to intoxication" variety: Neil sings a commercial-jingle-esque chorus extolling the pleasures of Marijuana use, while the verses use Spoken Word in Music clips of young people in rehab to illustrate that it can lead to use of harder drugs.
  • Patriotic Fervor: "America."
  • Pop-Star Composer: His soundtrack for Jonathan Livingston Seagull was a much bigger hit than the movie.
  • Preacher Man: "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show."
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: "Two Bit Manchild" contains the line "Ain't got no eye for a tight pair of shoes when my bare feet'll do."
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Sweet Caroline" is well known today for its use at various sporting events (most notably Boston Red Sox home games), where it rarely fails to get the fans out of their seats and singing along.
  • Wolverine Publicity: An odd case of a popular artist using a less-well-known artist for this. There's a prominent "Produced by Robbie Robertson" credit on the cover of Beautiful Noise. Instead of helping sales, Diamond did this to help his artistic reputation, since The Band was one of the most critically acclaimed outfits of that era, so getting their guitarist/songwriter to produce his album was a big coup for Diamond.