We hung out in the front of Erasmus High and smoked cigarettes. By writing poems for girls he was attracted to in school, he soon learned it often won their hearts. His male classmates took note and began asking him to write poems for them which they would sing and use with equal success. There he first met Jaye Posner, who would years later become his wife. He began cutting classes and taking the train up to Tin Pan Alley , where he tried to get some of his songs heard by local music publishers.
Later in , Diamond signed with Columbia Records as a solo performer. Columbia dropped him from their label and he went back to writing songs in and out of publishing houses for the next seven years.
He wrote wherever he could, including on buses, and used an upright piano above the Birdland Club in New York City. One of the causes of this early nomadic life as a songwriter was his songs' wordiness: I wasn't under the gun, and suddenly interesting songs began to happen, songs that had things none of the others did. It remains one of his personal all-time favorites, as it was about his early years as a songwriter, even though he failed to realize it at the time: It wasn't until years later, when I went into Freudian analysis, that I understood that it was me.
It was an outgrowth of my despair. His first success as a songwriter came in November , with " Sunday and Me ", a Top 20 hit for Jay and the Americans. Diamond wrote and recorded the songs for himself, but the cover versions were released before his own.
Other notable artists who recorded his early songs were the English hard-rock band Deep Purple , Lulu , and Cliff Richard. His first release on that label, " Solitary Man ", became his first true hit as a solo artist. It was the first time he had seen a band smashing their instruments and amplifiers to pieces. Berns wanted to release "Kentucky Woman" as a single, but Diamond was no longer satisfied writing simple pop songs, so he proposed " Shilo ", which was not about the Civil War but rather an imaginary childhood friend.
Bang believed that the song wasn't commercial enough, so it was relegated to being an LP track on " Just for You ". In addition to being dissatisfied with his royalties , Diamond tried to sign with another record label after discovering a loophole in his contract that did not bind him exclusively to either WEB IV or Tallyrand, but the result was a series of lawsuits that coincided with a slump in his record sales and professional success.
A magistrate refused WEB IV's request for a temporary injunction to prevent Diamond from joining another record company while his contract dispute continued in court, but the lawsuits persisted until February 18, , when he triumphed in court and purchased the rights to his Bang-era master tapes.
In Diamond said he had written "Sweet Caroline" for Caroline Kennedy after seeing her on the cover of Life in an equestrian riding outfit,  but in , he said in an interview on the Today Show that it was written for his then wife, Marcia. He could not find a good rhyme with the name "Marcia", and so used the name Caroline. The release " I Am I Said " was a Top 5 hit in both the US and UK and was his most intensely personal effort to date, taking over four months to complete.
The outdoor theater, which was noted for showcasing the best of current entertainers, added a stereo sound system for the first time. Diamond was also backed by a piece string orchestra and six backing singers. I love it because it's so satisfying I hate it because it forces you to dig inside yourself.
It is without question the most difficult thing I do. Performing, on the other hand, is the most joyful and happiest thing I do. The bigger the audience the more anticipation, the more excitement. Neil Diamond,  In August , he played again at the Greek, this time doing 10 shows. When the show was first announced, tickets at the seat theater sold out rapidly. We went all out to really knock 'em dead in L. Hot August Night demonstrates Diamond's skills as a performer and showman, as he reinvigorated his back catalogue of hits with new energy.
In Australia, which at the time had the most Neil Diamond fans per capita of any country, : Neil Diamond's one-man show seemed, on the face of it, to be a brash idea. One-man shows have traditionally been associated with talents like Judy Garland and Danny Kaye.
Diamond is clearly a brash young man and one with both the musical track record and the performance macho to bring it off He needn't worry about comparisons with the likes of Garland and Kaye. He said years later, "I knew I'd come back, but I wasn't sure when. I spent one year on each of those albums I'd been on the road six years.
So for four years I devoted myself to my son Jesse. The film received hostile reviews and did poorly at the box office, and the album grossed more than the film did. Bach , author of the best-selling source story, disowned the film, and he and Diamond sued Bartlett, though for differing reasons; in Bach's case, it was because he felt the film omitted too much from the original novella, whereas in Diamond's case, it was because he felt the film had butchered his score.
Often his arrogance is just a cover for the lonely and insecure person underneath. He also again appeared at the Greek Theater in a concert, Love at the Greek. The latter had been intended for the Jonathan Livingston Seagull score, but Diamond had completed it too late for inclusion. That same year he appeared on a TV special for Shirley Bassey and sang a duet with her.
The show played through July 5 and drew sold-out crowds at the 7,seat theater. A "who's who" of Hollywood attended opening night, ranging from Elizabeth Taylor to Chevy Chase , and Diamond walked out on stage to a standing ovation.
He opened the show with a story about an ex-girlfriend who dumped him before he became successful. His lead-in line to the first song of the evening was, "You may have dumped me a bit too soon, baby, because look who's standing here tonight. The concert and interviews were taped by film director William Friedkin , who used six cameras to capture the performance.
Barbra Streisand covered the song on her album Songbird , and later, a Diamond-Streisand duet was recorded, spurred by the success of radio mash-ups. That version hit No. They appeared unannounced at the Grammy awards ceremony, where they performed the song to a surprised and rapturous audience.
It and " Red Red Wine " are his best-known original songs made more famous by other artists. In February , the uptempo "Forever in Blue Jeans", co-written and jointly composed with his guitarist, Richard Bennett, was released as a single from You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Diamond's album from the previous year. Though the movie received poor reviews, the soundtrack spawned three Top 10 singles, "Love on the Rocks", "Hello Again", and " America ", the last of which had emotional significance for Diamond.
In a way, it speaks to the immigrant in all of us. The song was also the one he was most proud of, partly because of when it was later used: At the time, a national poll found the song to be the number-one most recognized song about America, more than "God Bless America". Critic David Wild noted that the film showed that Diamond was open about his religion: Though the film's title character is never mentioned in the lyrics, Universal Pictures , which had released E.
The Extra-Terrestrial and was the parent company of the Uni Records label, by then called MCA Records , for which Diamond had recorded for years, briefly threatened legal action against both Diamond and Columbia Records.
Diamond's record sales slumped somewhat in the s and s, his last single to make the Billboard's Pop Singles chart coming in , but his concert tours continued to be big draws. Billboard magazine ranked Diamond as the most profitable solo performer of Three weeks later he starred in Hello Again, his first television special in nine years, performing comedy sketches and a duo medley with Carol Burnett.
His "America" became the theme song for the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign. The s[ edit ] During the s, Diamond produced six studio albums.
He covered many classic songs from the movies and from famous Brill Building-era songwriters. He also released two Christmas albums, the first of which peaked at No.
Diamond also recorded two albums of mostly new material during this period. In , he performed for President George H. In , Diamond opened the Mark of the Quad Cities now the iWireless Center with two shows on May 27 and 28 to a crowd of 27,plus.
The s saw a resurgence in Diamond's popularity. It was used at Boston College football and basketball games. College sporting events in other states also played it,  and it was even played at sports events in other countries, such as a Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament  or a soccer match in Northern Ireland.
The Pitt Panthers football team also played it after the third quarter of all home games, with the crowd cheering, "Let's go Pitt". The Carolina Panthers played it at the end of every home game they won.
The Davidson College pep band likewise played it at every Davidson Wildcats men's basketball home game, in the second half. A more severely stripped-down-to-basics album, 12 Songs , produced by Rick Rubin , was released on November 8, , in two editions: The album debuted at No.
On April 8, , Diamond made a surprise announcement in a big-screen broadcast at Fenway Park that he would be appearing there "live in concert" on August 23, , as part of his world tour.
The announcement, which marked the first official confirmation of any concert dates in the US, came during the traditional eighth-inning singalong of "Sweet Caroline", which had by that time become an anthem for Boston fans. On April 28, , Diamond appeared on the roof of the Jimmy Kimmel building to sing "Sweet Caroline" after Kimmel was jokingly arrested for singing the song dressed as a Diamond impersonator.
Diamond performing at The Roundhouse , London on October 30, On the same day the DVD was released, CBS aired an edited version, which won the ratings hour with 13 million viewers. The next day, the sales of the DVD surged, prompting Sony to order more copies to meet the high demand. The result disappointed him as well as his fans, and on August 26, he offered refunds to anyone who applied by September 5. The s[ edit ] Diamond On November 2, , Diamond released the album Dreams , a collection of 14 interpretations of his favorite songs by artists from the rock era.
The album also included a new slow-tempo arrangement of his " I'm a Believer ". The years and were marked by several milestones in Diamond's career. He also appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was the first game at Fenway since the bombings at the Boston Marathon.