Category: Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond – All-Time Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Neil Diamond            diamond

TITLE: All Time Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #15 US, #25 UK

SINGLES: Top 10: Cherry Cherry (#6 US), Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon (#10 US), Sweet Caroline (#4 US, #8 UK), Holly Holy (#6 US), Cracklin’ Rosie (#1 US, #3 UK), I Am..I Said (#4 US, #4 UK), Song Sung Blue (#1 US, #14 UK), Longellow Serenade (#5 US), Love on the Rocks (#2 US, #17 UK), Hello Again (#6 US, #51 UK), America (#8 US), Heartlight (#5 US, #47 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Almost every major hit by him is here

LINEUP: Neil Diamond, session musicians

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Almost (ALMOST!) the ultimate collection for every casual Neil Diamond fan.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Singer, songwriter, very serious man Neil Diamond is seemingly timeless. Almost everyone has heard at least one song (especially those attending sporting events), and he’s an artist whose work spans generations. Grandmothers who swooned to him in 1972 are bringing their granddaughters to his concerts now.

This is a collection of all of his big hits until 1983, well, all but one. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” is represented, but as a solo song, not his hit duet with Barbra Streisand. The collection is also weirdly sequenced – like they went to a random number generator or something to put the tracks together.

Though he released a lot of albums in the 70’s (with a lot of pretentious album titles), this distills Diamond into one nice-sized chunk for almost everyone who has an inkling that they may like Diamond.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He didn’t have a #1 album until 2008’s Home Before Dark. 

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+-:  The sequencing would be better chronologically. And it missed the Streisand duet.

Neil Diamond – The Bang Years 1966-68

ARTIST: Neil Diamond MI0003147196
TITLE: The Bang Years 1966-68
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: Original Albums: The Feel of Neil Diamond #137, Just for You #80.
SINGLES: Solitary Man (#21), Cherry, Cherry (#6), I Got the Feelin’ (Oh No No) (#16), You Got to Me (#18), Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon (#10), Thank the Lord for the Night Time (#13), Kentucky Woman (#22), New Orleans (#51), Red, Red Wine (#62), Shilo (#24)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He did some covers of well known tunes.
LINEUP: Neil Diamond + session musicians
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: All of the songs he recorded for Bang Records in one nice, tidy package, and a better value than the two albums he released for that label.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Neil Diamond was already known as a songwriter in New York when he signed his recording contract with Bang Records, and over two years produced these 23 master takes for the label. 220px-The_Feel_of_Neil_Diamond

It’s an understatement to say that these sides made an impact. It solidified Diamond as a songwriter and a hit producer. More importantly, these are probably the most quintessential pop/rock songs Diamond ever produced. These songs were recorded for the singles market – they had to have hooks, be radio friendly and memorable. Most all of these fit that bill. The only stumbles are the covers that wound up on his first album.

Diamond felt restricted by this – he wanted to become an ‘artist’ and split from Bang, leading to artistic freedom (and lawsuits, of course). He’d sometimes lose the way in the future, and become a punchline for many. Here, though, is the man as he should be remembered. 220px-Neil_diamond_justForYou

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Diamond attended NYU on a fencing scholarship. En garde! Also, Solitary Man only hit #55 on its initial release, but clocked in at #21 in 1970 when Bang re-released the single (in their efforts to exploit Diamond’s earlier work).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A-: Many of these are pop masterpieces. Skip some of the covers. The deep tracks he wrote are pretty decent, too.