Neil Diamond

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File:Essentialneildiamond.jpg
Essential Neil Diamond album cover

Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is a singer/songwriter who has had a number of hits in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and who has maintained a very loyal following with popular live performances to this day.

Diamond was born and raised in Brooklyn, attending high school with Barbra Streisand (and singing with her in the school choir). He learned to play guitar after receiving one as a gift on his 16th birthday.

He spent his early career as a writer in the Brill Building, and had an early success writing the song "I'm A Believer" for The Monkees.

He signed a deal with Bang! Records, and had a string of singles as the primary performer, including "Kentucky Woman", "Cherry, Cherry", and "Solitary Man".

He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1970, and signed a deal with MCA Records. His sound mellowed, with such songs as "Sweet Caroline" and "Song Sung Blue".

In 1973, Diamond hopped labels again, this time to Columbia Records, where he recorded the soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull. In 1974, he released the album Serenade (songs: "Longfellow Serenade", "I've Been This Way Before"). In 1976, he released Beautiful Noise, produced by The Band's Robbie Robertson.

In 1977, he released an album I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight, which included the track "You Don't Bring Me Flowers". The song was covered by Barbra Streisand on her album Songbird, which led one disc jockey to combine the two in a virtual duet. The popularity of the virtual duet motivated Diamond and Streisand to record the real thing, which became a very large hit in 1978.

Diamond starred in The Jazz Singer in 1980, opposite Lucie Arnaz. Though the movie was not successful, the soundtrack was a hugely successful album, spawning the singles "America", "Love On The Rocks", and "Hello Again". This would be the apex of his recording career.

In 2000, he was awarded the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame

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