Neil Diamond – The best-selling musician of all time – Michelle S.
Neil Diamond is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actor who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, he received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and in 2011 was an honoree at the Kennedy Center. In 2018, Diamond received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Not too shabby for the legendary troubadour nurtured on Tin Pan Alley!
He started out as a songwriter writing songs for other artists, when he saw the success they were having, in 1966 he decided to try things on his own as singer opening as “the Special guest” for bands like the Herman’s Hermits and the Who. He wasn’t happy just being a guest singer and had other ideas for his direction in music which of course didn’t agree with the labels that currently had him under their thumb. Lawsuits ensued when he found a loop hole in his contract and tried to leave and of course this went on for quite awhile and his records sales were in a slump. In 1977, he finally triumphed when he was able to buy back the rights to his early releases and signed on with Universal Records.
His first major hit was “Sweet Caroline” in 1972, the tipping point that got his career going and yes, despite some up’s and downs in his musical career throughout the years, he kept himself busy and continued to release a lot of albums and worked on other musical projects and appearances here and there.
Besides, being a great musician, performer and singer, he is someone that also likes to inspire people and make a difference. After the attacks at the Boston Marathon in 2013, Diamond made an unannounced appearance at Fenway Park to sing “Sweet Caroline” during the 8th inning. It was the first game after this tragedy, he also released the single Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down) and gave 100% of the purchase price benefiting One Fund Boston and the Wounded Warrior Project.
He started touring again in 2015 which is when I was able to see him live in concert. I have to say, despite being in the nose bleed seats with a crazy drunk women screaming ‘Neil, up here! Can you see me?” To answer this, no, he couldn’t see her but lucky for us, she finally drank enough alcohol to put her asleep in her seat. It ended up being in the top ten list of best concerts I have ever seen.
In 2018, Neil Diamond, made an announcement that he was retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This announcement happened just days before he would be concluding his 50th Anniversary tour. It was sad to hear but six months after his announcement about retiring from touring, Neil Diamond returned to a small stage to give thanks to the firefighters that were battling the Lake Christine wildfires. There was a sparkle in eye as he said that he won’t let Parkinson’s slow him down while hinting about a new DVD. Stay tuned!