Free 2 Day Shipping With Amazon Prime

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sweet Sounds

Neil Diamond
If there is one major factor in my life it has to be music.  The love of my life and I clicked because of our similar taste in music.  Because I have been in the music business in one way or another most of my life I have a more varied taste (sometimes tolerance) for music than my wife does.  Just the same music is one of the many things that we have in common.  There definitely are many other things that make-up who I am, but music is definitely one factor.
Of the many musical talents that I enjoy and admire Neil Diamond has to be ranked in the top 5.  I can listen to his music on a long trip and not feel overwhelmed.  Other musician’s talents can be like chocolate, you can only take so much, before you have to switch to something else.  One of his songs that has always amazed is Sweet Caroline.  The song is so popular that year after year it finds its way into the Top 200 Most Requested songs at wedding receptions.  This by the way is not a list that I compile but rather one that is national in scope.
  • Diamond spent his early career as a songwriter in the Brill Building. His first success as a songwriter came in November 1965, with "Sunday and Me", a Top 20 hit for Jay and the Americans on the Billboard Charts. Greater success as a writer followed with "I'm a Believer", "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)", and "Love to Love", all by The Monkees. There is a popular misconception that Diamond wrote and composed these songs specifically for the made-for-TV quartet. In reality, Diamond had written and recorded these songs for himself, but the cover versions were released before his own.

·       In 1966 Diamond signed a deal with Bert Berns's Bang Records, then a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. His first release on that label, "Solitary Man", became his first hit. Prior to the release of "Solitary Man", Diamond had considered using a stage name; he came up with two possibilities, "Noah Kaminsky" and "Eice Charry". But when asked by Bang Records which name he should use, Noah, Eice, or Neil, he thought of his grandmother, who died prior to the release of "Solitary Man". Thus he told Bang, "...go with Neil Diamond and I'll figure it out later". Diamond later followed with "Cherry, Cherry", "Kentucky Woman", "Thank the Lord for the Night Time", "Do It", and others. Diamond's Bang recordings were produced by legendary Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, both of whom can be heard singing background on many of the tracks.  His first concerts saw him as a "special guest" of, or opening for, everyone fromHerman's Hermits to, on one occasion, The Who.


  • After Diamond had signed a deal in 1968 with MCA Records, whose label at the time was Uni (after MCA's parent company, Universal Pictures), he moved to Los Angeles in 1970. His sound mellowed, with such songs as 1969's "Sweet Caroline" and "Holly Holy", 1970's "'Cracklin' Rosie", and 1972's "Song Sung Blue", the last two reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100. "Sweet Caroline" was Diamond's first major hit after his slump. Diamond admitted in 2007 that he had written "Sweet Caroline" for Caroline Kennedy after seeing her on the cover of Life in an equestrian riding outfit. It took him just one hour, in a Memphis hotel, to write and compose it. The 1971 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 upwards of four months to complete.

If you are not a fan take a listen, who knows you too may get hooked.  The best is yet to come…

1 comment: