130 million records sold!
Growing up in New York, classmates with Barbara Streisand in 1955, there is no way Neil Diamond could have known that he and Barbara would have a #1 worldwide hit decades later, but that is indeed what actually happened.
The road to Neil’s and Barbara’s success would be long and complicated. Let’s take a look at how Neil got there.
It was an early obsession with songwriting after seeing Pete Seeger perform at a youth camp that got him going.
Writing poetry for girls in school, turned them into songs, even writing for his mates who would use them to sing for other girls.
Neil must have thought he had a knack for it as he would skip school to travel to Tin Pan Alley, hoping to get noticed. Eventually, it did work as he got a job as a songwriter and immediately dropped out of college.
The job offer was for 16 weeks, but he couldn’t have done well enough, as there was no extension offered on his first contract.
Diamond’s first release came in 1962 as a duo with Jack Packer signed to Columbia. After a few failed attempts, they were dropped and Neil went back to plan A: working as a songwriter, which he would spend the next seven years doing for various publishing houses.
In 1966, he decided to start releasing his own tunes again, this time on his own. This marks the beginning of an eleven-year stint where he’d write some timeless tunes and cover some classics too.
Here are the best-known originals Neil Diamond would release up until 1977:
- Solitary Man (1966)
- Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon (1967)
- I’m A Believer (1967)
- Red Red Wine (1967)
- Sweet Caroline (1969)
- You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (1977)
The best covers include:
- La Bamba (1966)
- Monday Monday (1966)
- Mr. Bojangles (1969)
- Everybody’s Talking (1969)
- Both Sides Now (1969)
- He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (1970)
- Suzanne (1971)
- God Only Knows (1977)
- Dancing In The Street (1979)
- Baby Can I Hold You (1988)
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers is the one he would first record himself (1977), then have Barbara cover it (1978).
DJs would play both versions, sometimes simultaneously, leading Neil and Barbara to come together again in 1978, It must have been strange to reunite two decades after they first met in school.
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers would be Neil’s last big tune. Perhaps coming full circle did something to him.
Throughout his career, Neil Diamond sold 130 million records, the majority in the 12 years between Solitary Man and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, re-recorded with Barbara.
Neil Diamond tunes | Related pages
Dancing In The Street
You can learn how to play Dancing In The Street by Martha and the Vandellas using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| E7 | E7 (D/E) | E7 | E7 (D/E) |
Callin’ out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat…
I’m A Believer
You can learn how to play I’m a Believer by The Monkees using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| G | D | G | G |
I thought love was only true in fairy tales…
You can learn how to play Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| B | B | E | E |
Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing…