Biography of Neil Diamond - Singer and Songwriter
Neil Diamond, a pop music singer and songwriter captivated the world with his songs, lyrics and stage performances. He wrote songs and composed music that took the world by storm. He continues to enthrall the world with his voice and brilliant music even today.
Sharing with you the biography of one of my favorite singers, the one, and only Neil Diamond, read on.
Early Life of Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond was born in Brooklyn, New York to Rose and Akeeba Diamond. He attended Erasmus High School and went on to study at Abraham Lincoln High School to receive his high school diploma.
Neil Diamond excelled in fencing and was a member of the fencing team. As a result of his excellence in fencing, he got a scholarship and went to New York University with his fencing scholarship.
When he was very young, he was deeply affected when his grandmother died of cancer. This sad event made him decide that he wanted to become a biologist to find a cure for cancer. Fate chose otherwise.
Neil Diamond did not complete his studies at NYU; he wanted to pursue a career in music. In 1960, he took up an offer to write songs for $50; this was his very fist job as a songwriter.
Heart Aches and Heart Breaks
In the year 1963, Neil Diamond married his classmate Jaye Posner, who studied with him in high school and had two daughters Marjorie and Eyln. Their marriage did not last long; the pair divorced in 1965.
He then met Marcia Murphy, a production assistant at ABC television and fell in love with her. He married her in 1969, and they had two children Jesse and Michah. This marriage was not meant to last; Neil Diamond divorced Marcia Murphy in 1994.
After the divorce with, Marcia he met Rae on his tour to Australia in 1996. This relationship was short lived. After this breakup, Neil Diamond fell in love with Katie. Katie entered his life when his career was not doing so well.
Neil Diamond stated that his busy schedule was to blame for the failure of both his marriages. Neil Diamond believed in love and never gave up. At the age of 71, Neil Diamond married his manager Katie McNeil 41 years of age on April 21, 2012.
Neil Diamond's Musical Journey - Highlights of His Career
Neil Diamond's very first recording was with Jack Parker, his high school friend in the year 1960. He recorded two singles (You Are My Love At Last b/w What Will I Do, and I'm Afraid b/w Till You've Tried Love). Both these singles did not do well.
Neil Diamond took up a job was with Sunbeam Music on Manhattan’s Tin Pan Alley for a salary of $50 for a week. In this job, he worked on improving the songs of other singers. Neil Diamond was not happy and soon quit this job and rented a storage room in a printer’s shop. This place was located just above the Birdland Nightclub on Broadway. It was here that Neil Diamond began to write songs in his signature style.
In the year 1962, Diamond signed a contract with Columbia Records and released the single At Night b/w Clown Town in 1963. Clown Town did not do very well, and soon Columbia Records dropped him from their label.
In the year 1965, Neil Diamond wrote the song Sunday and Me for the pop group Jay and the Americans that went on to become a great success. He followed this up with songs that he wrote for The Monkees (pop/rock band) such as I'm a Believer, A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You, Look Out and Love to Love.
In the year 1966, Neil Diamond released his first album The Feel of Neil Diamond with Bert Bern's Bang records that featured hit songs such as Solitary Man and Cherry Cherry.
During the year 1967, he recorded several songs for The Monkees. One of the songs that he wrote for The Monkees was I am a Believer went on to become a big hit.
In the year 1969, Neil Diamond split with Bang Records. After this split, he entered into a contract with Uni Label of California. He recorded many songs with Uni Label.
The year 1969 was a great year for Neil Diamond. It was during this period Neil Diamond released super hit songs such as Sweet Caroline and Holly Holly. The album Touching You, Touching Me reached the gold status the same year.
Neil Diamond appeared on many TV shows such as Dick Clark’s New American Bandstand in 1965, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show and the Mannix Show.
In 1971, Neil Diamond signed on with Columbia Records. During this time, he was flooded with more recording contracts, and he gave many live performances.
Neil Diamond concerts in The Greek Theater and The Winter Garden Theater, in New York City, were super hits and all tickets were sold out. After this Neil Diamond took a break from touring.
In the year 1973, he wrote the music for the film Jonathan Livingston for which he won a Grammy Record. Though the movie did not fare well, the song went on to become a big hit. Neil Diamond was asked to act in many movies, but he declined.
In 1979, Neil Diamond had a tumor removed from his spine. This operation confined him to a wheelchair for three months. After he had recuperated he acted in a movie called The Jazz Singer, this movie was a big flop. After this Neil Diamond never acted again but he wrote the scores for many movies in collaboration with other artists.
After the year 1979, Neil Diamond continued to write songs, produce albums and give live performances. His musical journey has never stopped and still continues even today.
Neil Diamond's Top Ten Songs
- Sweet Caroline (1969) was a big hit with the crowds and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Charts and No. 8 on the UK charts. He wrote this song about Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F.Kennedy.
- Song Sung Blue (1972), the second number 1 hit in the US that reached No.14 in the UK Singles Chart
- Play Me (1972) was not well received and criticized still the song reached No.11 in US charts.
- I Am, I Said (1971) took four months for Neil Diamond to complete this song and it reached No.4 on the US charts. This was a dramatic song with the signature style of Neil Diamond.
- Stones released in 1971 was a beautiful song that Neil Diamond referred to as a “desperate love song”. This song was all about broken relationships.
- Cracklin Rose released in 1970 was Neil Diamond’s first No.1 hit in the US, and this song was on the Top 40 list for 14 weeks.
- Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon released in 1967 was written especially for teenage girls, and it reached No.10 on the charts.
- You don’t bring me flowers was released in 1968; Neil Diamond sang this song with Barbara Streisand. This song climbed to No.1 on the charts and stayed in the Top 40 for 15 weeks.
- Love on the rocks released in 1980 is a ballad that featured in the film The Jazz Singer; Neil Diamond acted in this movie. Though the movie was a flop, the song became a big hit and climbed to No.2 on the Billboard charts and No.17 in the UK charts.
- I am a Believer released in the year 1966 was written by Neil Diamond when he was still struggling to make his name as a famous singer and songwriter. He wrote this song for the Monkees. This song became a No.1 hit and sold ten million copies.
Neil Diamond - Ever Shining Star
In the year 2014, Neil Diamond signed on with Capitol Records and released the studio album Melody Roads produced by Don Was assisted by Jacknife Lee. Both Don Was and Jacknife Lee coaxed Neil Diamond to start writing songs just like he used to in the height of his career. These songs reflected some of his past life experiences.
Neil Diamond captured hearts of many people across the world. He still continues to awe his fans each and every time he releases an album or performs live. His songs are evergreen and will live on forever in the music world.
Which song is your favorite?
© 2015 Nithya Venkat