Friday, October 7, 2016


Neil Leslie Diamond

An American singer-songwriter, 
actor, and musician, 
Neil Diamond has sold over 100 million records 

He is one of the best-selling music artists 
of all time.

Neil Leslie Diamond was born in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York on January 24,1941. The son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Neil wrote his first song in the 9th grade, which he titled "Here Them Bells".

At Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School, Neil sang in the school chorus, a 100-member choral group that included a classmate named Barbra Streisand. The choir was so large that the two future music superstars would not factually meet each other until 20 years later.

In 1958 Neil entered New York University's pre-med program to make his parents proud and become a doctor. He gained admission and tuition by receiving a competitive fencing scholarship. 

But medicine did not capture Neil's heart like music did, so he dropped out after junior year, needing only 10 credits to earn a degree in Biology. 

He then submitted an audition and went to work for Sunbeam Music on Manhattan's famous Tin Pan Alley. Now making $50 a week as a staff song-writer, Neil was barely surviving, but he was following his heart's desire to sing and write songs.

After finding the assembly line factory-like process of songwriting for B-level future stars unrewarding, Neil soon quit. He learned it's only the songwriter's with a previous hit record that get their songs submitted to the major stars.

So renting a storage room in a printer's shop located above the famed Birdland nightclub on Broadway, Neil began to live there and installed a $30 piano and a pay telephone, and set about writing his songs his own way.

A chance encounter with the hit record producers; Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich led to an artist singer-songwriter music contract with Bang Records for Neil. 

In 1966 he recorded his first album, featuring his songs; "Solitary Man" and "Cherry, Cherry". That same year based on the chart success of those songs, Diamond appeared twice on Dick Clark's New American Bandstand.

The Monkees even recorded several songs which Neil wrote including "I'm a Believer", and it too became a huge radio hit. 

A number of TV appearances followed, including singing on The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and playing a dramatic part as a rock singer on a TV episode of the cop show; Mannix (1967). 

After working on albums for Bang, Neil envisioned a musical void in the record industry. He saw there was a void that existed somewhere between Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Diamond worked to fill this void by honing a signature sound that would ensure wide acceptance among the young and the older crowd with his happy, peppy, and sentimental songs.

Now a huge success as an artist, CBS records picked up his music contract 
and the rest is history!

At the height of an amazing career in music 
Neil starred in a major motion picture based on his life. 

Well, the movie was a semi-biography. It was called; The Jazz Singer
The movie was a modest success and criticism followed that Neil had perfected a style that was not innovative nor edgy, he was too "middle-of-the-road" (MOR). That critique his dogged his music career until today.

Well, at ISR RADIO we consider Mr. Neil Diamond 
a WestCoast Hall of Famer, par excellence!

 "Schmaltz" and all, Neil, WE SALUTE YOU!

James Clark ISR

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