Neil Leslie Diamond was born on January 24, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York and attended high school with Barbra Streisand, where they sang in the school choir. Receiving a guitar as a gift in his mid-teens, Neil was inspired by folk singer Pete Seeger.
At nineteen years of age Neil and a high school friend, Jack Parker landed a recording contract with Duel records, but “Neil and Jack” would end after one unsuccessful release.
Turning twenty-one, Neil was signed by Columbia Records, but that too proved unsuccessful after a single, “At Night” failed to raise much interest. Neil then turned to songwriting where he had success with a hit for The Monkees, “I’m a Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You”.
After signing with Bang Records, Neil had his first chart hit in 1966 with “Solitary Man” and in the summer of that year reached the top ten with his first gold record, “Cherry, Cherry”. The following year he again reached the top ten with “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon,” followed by “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” and“Kentucky Woman”.
Moving to Los Angeles and signing with Uni Records, Neil hit gold in 1969 with “Sweet Caroline” and “Holly Holy.” In 1970 “Cracklin’ Rose” gave him his first #1 chart topper. “I Am..I Said” was top five in 1971, followed by Neil’s second #1 hit,“Song Sung Blue.”
Returning to Columbia Records, Neil Diamond reached the top five with “Longfellow Serenade” in 1974. In the fall of 1978, his third #1 hit was a duet with old friend Barbra Striesend, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”
In 1980, after starring in the motion picture “The Jazz Singer” Neil Diamond’s songs from that movie, “Love on the Rocks,” “Hello Again” and “America” were each top five hit singles. Two years later in 1982 “Heartlight” also peaked at #5 on the charts.
Among Neil Diamonds numerous hits are, “Shilo,” “Play Me,” “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” “Desiree,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother,” “Forever In Blue Jeans” and “September Morn’.”
In 1972, Neil performed at ten sold out concerts at the famed Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The performance on Thursday August the 24th was recorded and released as the live double album “Hot August Night” that would become an international best seller and considered by his fans as a classic recording.
Today, Neil continues to tour and record, with his most recent album, “12 songs” debuting at #4 upon its release in November of 2005. At the time, Neil Diamond is estimated to have sold more than 120 million records worldwide.
A Golden Globe nominee, Neil Diamond also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2007 he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame and four years later in 2011 in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Visit Neil Diamond’s official website here.