Forty eight million records sold in the U.S.
makes Neil Diamond the third most successful Billboard adult contemporary
artist. Worldwide he has sold over 120 million. Not bad for a guy from New York
and who was born in 1941. By the time he had got to the 1960s he had been in
bands and was writing great songs like I’m A Believer, A Little Bit Me, A
Little Bit You, The Boat I Rowed Ashore and of course his own Sweet Caroline.
In 1970 Neil signed up with MCA and had five top twenty hits with Shilo, Until It’s Time For You To Go, Soolaimon, Solitary Man and He
Ain't Heavy He’s My Brother. But one record was a hit in the
UK and the USA that year, which was Cracklin’ Rose from the album Tap Root
Manuscript. The song is about a sparkling wine from Canada. The single was
mono, but the sound was great.
More singles in 1971, and the biggest being I Am..I Said for which Neil got a Grammy nomination. The song was in fact about Neil being torn in many directions, including where he wanted to live. LA or New York?
1972 several U.S.
hits including Play Me
and Walk On Water. But the big hit in UK and U.S. was Song Sung Blue and gave Neil two more Grammy nominations, although
he did not win. This was inspired by Mozart's "Piano Concerto no.
1973 several singles, but none made the top thirty, and in 1974 only one did and that was Longfellow Serenade that got to No. 5 in the U.S.
and No.29 in the UK. The title of the song is a reference to
the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
1975 no UK, but 1976 he came back with If You Know What I Mean from the album Beautiful Noise which became a single hit itself later in the same year. The title came from the fact that Neil’s daughter was listening to a parade outside the window and turned to her dad and said "What a beautiful noise daddy”. And it was truly a beautiful noise.
1977 and Desiree was the biggest single hit for Neal.
It was the third of June
On that summer's day
When I became a man
At the hands of a girl
Almost twice my age
1978 he had a worldwide hit with a duet with Barbra Streisand and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers a Platinum selling single. The song was in fact supposed to be a theme for a TV show called All That Glitter, but the show failed. Neil had the song on a 1977 album and the next
year Barbra had it on one of her albums. The reason the song was made was
because of a divorce by a radio jock. He spliced the two songs together to make
one recording and gave it to his wife. The song got airplay, and an official
single was made. The power of the people!
1979 and still the singles followed on. Forever In Blue Jeans. The song came out of a radio commercial for jeans by a man pretending to be Neil Young. He was so good at it, that Neil did it himself and had a worldwide hit.