Neil Diamond Enters Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at 70

[Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond early in his career.
A more recent photo of Neil Diamond.

Neil Diamond was born in New York City on January 24, 1941. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2011. First thought is what took them so long to induct him, behind a band named Traffic, which was inducted in 2004. Traffic may have been a great group, but I can’t recall the name of even one of their songs, or band members and wasn’t even sure what they looked like, till I saw their photo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website. There is no reason for Neil Diamond to wait 45 years to be inducted, after writing a No.1 song in I’m A Believer, which was also Popular Music Song of the Year in 1966.

Sweet Caroline perhaps his best known recording peaked at No.3 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart but went platinum. Diamond had Holly Holy in 1969, Cracklin’ Rosie and 1979’s duet You Don’t Bring Me Flowers with Barbra Streisand all reach the platinum status.

Neil Diamond singing Dry Your Eyes in The Last Waltz a 1978 movie.

Cracklin’ Rosie First No.1 Hit

Diamond achieved fame as a songwriter, before recording is first No.1 hit in 1970’s Cracklin’ Rosie, which was written and sung by Diamond. Two years later in 1972 Diamond would place Song Sung Blue, in both the U.S. and U.S. Adult Contemporary categories on the record chart.

Then Diamond continuing the trend of having a No.1 hit every two years, recorded Longwell Serenade, which was a No.1 song in U.S. Adult Contemporary in 1974.

Diamond would record ten No.1 hits during his career, with the last No. 1 being Heartlight released in 1982.

Only One No.1 Studio Album

The first studio album was released by Diamond in 1966. It would be 42 years later, in 2008 when he had Home Before Dark, a studio album place No. 1 on the record chart.

No other Neil Diamond album ever went to No.1, but six of his albums were designated as multi-platinum.

Neil Diamond singing his classic Sweet Caroline.

Third Most Popular Adult Contemporary Artist

Only Barbra Streisand and Elton John have sold more albums than Diamond among all adult contemporary artists. He is still touring at the age of 70 and drawing huge crowds.

Even at age 70, Diamond was No.1 in ticket sales according to this news from ahead of No.2 Jason Aldean and No.3 Dolly Parton:

Neil Diamond shines at No. 1 on the latest Hot Tours ranking with $4 million in ticket sales reported by London’s O2 Arena, the final venue on his tour outing during the spring and summer.  The veteran singer/songwriter played three shows in London on July 9, 11 and 13 with a combined attendance total of 36,000 for all three nights, capping off a slate of June/July arena performances in five markets in the U.K. and Ireland.  Diamond kicked off his 2011 tour in New Zealand at the end of February and played dates in Australia and South Africa during March and April.  The European leg began in Belgium in early June.

Dubious Claim To Fame

There is one thing that Neil Diamond would probably not want to be remembered for. His America would be used as the theme song, in the presidential campaign  of Michael Dukakis, in his futile bid for the presidency in 1988.

Katie McNeil 2011 - P
Katie McNeil is the fiancée of Neil Diamond who announced their engagement last month via Twitter.

Neil Diamond has had an eventful year, having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, even though some thought he was drunk when he made his acceptance speech, if it can be called a speech.

His concerts are drawing huge crowds and earning millions of dollars, but even more importantly, he has announced his engagement with his manager Katie McNeil.

Diamond has been in the music business for about 50 years, but he seems as popular as ever, since his fans are still showing up in droves in whatever venues, that he appears.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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