Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond Artistfacts

  • January 24, 1941
  • 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 explained during a Reddit AMA: "Although Neil Diamond may sound cool now, when I was about to put my first record out, it was just my name and pretty boring. My first name - Neil - was the one the kids around the street made fun of, because there was hardly anybody around who had it, so I was anxious to get rid of that name on my first record, but chickened out for personal reasons."

    "My two other main choices were:

    Noah Kaminsky (which had biblical underpinnings and great character) and secondly, Ice Charry (which I thought was pure rock & roll)."
  • 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.
  • According to Amusement Business magazine, Diamond was the top solo concert act of the '90s.
  • 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."
  • Legendary Brill Building songwriter Jeff Barry ("Chapel Of Love," "Leader of the Pack," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Do Wah Diddy Diddy") helped discover Neil Diamond when he was recording demos in the studio one day. "We brought Neil to our partners and wanted to sign him, and quite frankly they just didn't get it," Jeff told KRTH 101.1 FM's Gary Bryan. "So I took him over to one of my best friends Bert Berns who had Bang Records, so he ended up over there."
  • Diamond's first hits including "Solitary Man" and "Cherry, Cherry" were produced by Jeff Barry with Ellie Greenwich. The two producers can both be heard singing background on many of the tracks.
  • Neil Diamond gets asked to play "Sweet Caroline" all the time, but he revealed during a Reddit AMA that his favorite song to perform is "I Am...I Said." He explained: "I can really dig into it, the lyric has a real resonance in my life, and I don't do it nearly as often as "Sweet Caroline" but it is easily my favorite song to sing."
  • Neil Diamond's favorite covers of his songs are UB40's version of "Red Red Wine" and Frank Sinatra's rendition of "Sweet Caroline."
  • Neil Diamond's 2008 release Home Before Dark was his first #1 on the US album chart, 42 years after his debut LP.
  • Before Diamond was offered a songwriting deal during his senior year at New York University he planned on going to medical school and becoming a laboratory biologist. He recalled during a 2003 CNN interview with Larry King: "I really wanted to find a cure for cancer. My grandmother had died of cancer. And I was always very good at the sciences. And I thought I would go and try and discover the cure for cancer."

Comments: 14

  • Steven D. from Carson City, Nv.I saw Neil in 1970...or 71. Hey it was the 70's!! I don't remember what year but I was 16 yrs old and I'm almost 66 now. Because I enjoyed so much, I saw many concerts after that show! He was superb even that early in his career. I bought many of his albums!
  • Jokam from Broadview Heights, OhioThe most underated singer & songwriter of all time. A Great Great talent. Everything he touches turns to gold.
  • Lori from Northwest FloridaI've been a fan of Neil Diamond for as long as I can remember, almost since the beginning of his career - which says a lot because I am 57. I grew up listening to his work. My most favorites of his songs are; I Am, I Said; God Only Knows; and Forever In Blue Jeans. However, I don't think there are any of his songs I don't love. I even prefer his original version of Red, Red, Wine over UB40's. I also REALLY enjoyed seeing him in the movie, "The Jazz Singer." He has brought so much joy to my life over the years. Listening to his music just makes me so happy - I couldn't thank him enough.
  • Cynthia from Boston, MaI'm 73 and love Neil Diamond. I think my favorite song of his is "I Am . . . I said." The moment I heard it I knew he was really revealing himself in that song and I had so much empathy for the pain he had experienced. It's a beautiful song where a man is revealing his soul to the world. To me it showed he's a very sensitive person. Solitary Man also is another personal song that reveals a lot about himself. He's a good man. He has a kind heart. I saw him at a concert once in Boston. Saw The Jazz Singer Singer and loved it. He has so much talent. When I heard about his illness, my heart broke for him. I hope and pray that he will have many more years of good health and perhaps be able to make appearances in the U.S. occasionally. Thank you Neil and may God Bless you.
  • Charlie The Trucker from Glasgow, ScotlandThe first ND album I bought was 'Brother Loves Travelin' Salvation Show', my first concert was the London Palladium in the mid 70's.. been a fan since that first album.
  • Dw from UsaBrilliant man, accolades up there with other legends like Irving Berlin.
  • Diva Nogueira from BrazilAbout the song " I am, I said" : I think that anyone can be depressed but to take the feeling of loneliness, the despair of emptiness and change all this into such a beautiful et meaningfull song, one has to be more than a singer and songwriter, one has to be a POET, a really one.
  • Diva Nogueira from BrazilNeil Diamond songs touch me very deeply, I know exactly how he was feeling when he wrote some of his songs. I share his emotions, it's very strong. I know he has always been a wonderful human being, his songs told me so. I wish he could know that I care about his disease and wish him the best, long life and health.
  • AnonymousWho was his inspiration for "they're coming to America?
  • Scott from UsaI always liked Neil Diamond, especially the Jazz Singer which was a hit when I was a kid. Recently, I was listening to the 60's channel on satellite radio and heard Solitary Man for the first time. I loved the vocals and the lyrics and couldn't believe it was Neil Diamond. I recently watched him perform on the Band's the Last Waltz and was impressed as well. I discovered a whole new Neil Diamond of which I was unaware and I actually like him better.
  • Richard H Hankins from Nw7 LondonI met him and the Band in 1982 spent an hour with him at the Palladium lm a fan since the 60s. The last song l will ever hear be for l go will be “Iv been this way before “lv appreciated ever day of this Great mans work Thank you Neil M.R. Diamond
  • Jenny from SydneyI remember my dad playing Neil Diamond records when I was a little girl. I'm 50 now and I've NEVER lost my love of his music,voice and OH MY GOD that sexy look. Seen him several times live. Sad to hear of his diagnosis and retirement. Neil has given the world an amazing gift.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxDiamond also received Kennedy Center Honors and the award in 2011.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxNeil Diamond is behind only Elton John and Barbra Streisand in popular record sales with between 150-200 million records sold to date.
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