Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941 in the New York City borough of Brooklyn ) is an American singer-songwriter. Diamond is one of pop music's most enduring and successful singer-songwriters. As a successful pop music performer, Diamond scored a number of hits worldwide in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. As of 2001 Diamond has 115 million records sales worldwide,including 48 million records in the U.S. In terms of Billboard chart success, he is the third most successful Adult Contemporary artist ever, ranking behind only Barbra Streisand andElton John. He is known as "the Jewish Elvis." Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 2000 received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award.
His first release on that label, "Solitary Man," was his first hit. Prior to the release of "Solitary Man," Neil had considered using a stage name; he came up with two possible stage names, "Noah Kaminsky" and "Eice Chary." But when asked by Bang Records which name he was going to use, Noah, Eice, or Neil, he thought of his grandmother, who died prior to the release of Solitary Man. Thus he told Bang Records, "...go with Neil Diamond and I'll figure it out later." Diamond followed it with "Cherry, Cherry," "Kentucky Woman," "Thank the Lord for the Night Time," "Do It," and others.
His sound mellowed, with such songs as "'Cracklin' Rosie," "Sweet Caroline," "Holly Holy," and the country-and-western tinged "Song Sung Blue," which reached #1 on the Hot 100. "Sweet Caroline" was Diamond's first major hit after his slump. Diamond recently admitted in 2007 that he had written "Sweet Caroline" for Caroline Kennedy after seeing her on the cover of Life Magazine in an equestrian riding outfit. It took him just one hour, in a Memphis hotel, to write and compose it. The 1971 "I Am...I Said" was a top five hit in both the U.S. and UK, and was his most intensely personal effort to date, taking upwards of four months to complete.
In February 1979, "Forever in Blue Jeans," an up-tempo selection by Diamond, which he wrote and composed in collaboration with his guitarist, Richard Bennett, was released as a single by Columbia. It was taken from You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Diamond's album from the previous year.
According to Cotton Incorporated, "Neil Diamond might have been right when he named his 1979 #1 hit 'Forever in Blue Jeans:' 81% of women are planning their next jeans purchase to be some shade of blue." The song has been used to promote the sale of blue jeans, most notably via Will Ferrell, impersonating Neil Diamond singing, for The Gap. Ironically, Diamond himself had performed in radio ads for H.I.S. brand jeans in the 1960s, more than a decade before he and Bennett jointly wrote and composed, and he originated, the selection.
In January 1987, Diamond sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl. His song "America" was the theme song for the Michael Dukakis 1988 Presidential campaign. In 2007, Diamond was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. [wikipedia]