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January 24, 1941
Artistfacts for Neil Diamond
Diamond is probably the most famous Jewish male musician. He is known in some circles as "The Jewish Elvis."
He began his career as a songwriter, working in New York City near the end of the Tin Pan Alley era in the mid-'60s. His songs were recorded by Jay and the Americans, Cliff Richard and The Monkees.
He went to Erasmus high school in Brooklyn, New York, where he sang in the chorus with Barbra Streisand (they never spoke). He later went to Abraham Lincoln High, which is where he graduated. Carole King and Neil Sedaka also went there.
Unlike many Rock Stars, Diamond tends to stay out of trouble. Will Ferrell used to imitate him on Saturday Night Live, poking fun of his mild demeanor in bits where he would use crude language and talk about things like hanging his agent out of the Brill building.
Neil Diamond is his real name, but despite this good fortune, he considered using that stage names Eice Cherry and Noah Kaminsky.
He wears shiny shirts adorned with beads on stage. This can come off as cheesy, but he does it to make himself easier to see.
In 1968, Neil Diamond and Bert Berns, founder of Bang Records, had a disagreement about the path Neil Diamond's career was to follow, and as a result, Berns refused to release the song "Shilo" as a single. After a heated confrontation, Neil Diamond left Bang Records and signed on with Uni Records.
Asked if he enjoys the songwriting process by the Daily Telegraph in 2014, Diamond replied: "No, I hate it. I hate it. But all right, nobody told me it was gonna be easy. And so what? I'm a ditch-digger when I'm writing songs. My back hurts? Who cares? I gotta get that ditch dug deep and strong and it's gotta serve its purpose. There are no short cuts. There are only long cuts. That's what it is. But I've been doing it a long time now. I can't find another way to make a living."