Happy Birthday to Neil Diamond, who turns 72-years-old today (January 24th)!!! Diamond is best remembered known for his string of hits, including such classics as "Cracklin' Rosie," "Song Sung Blue," "I Am. . . I Said," "Cherry Cherry," "Kentucky Woman," "Thank The Lord For The Night Time," "Solitary Man," "Red, Red Wine," "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon," "Love On The Rocks," "Hello Again," and "America," among many others. Diamond also wrote the Monkees' Number One hit, "I'm A Believer," as well as other Monkees favorites including the Top Two hit, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You," and "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)."
Last year, Diamond married his co-manager Katie McNeil in Los Angeles. Diamond, who's 30 years older than McNeil, has been married two other times; first in 1963 to his high school sweetheart, Jayne "Posey" Posner, with the couple splitting six years later. Diamond walked down the isle with second wife Marcia Murphey that same year with the couple calling it quits in 1994. Diamond reportedly paid Murphey a whopping $150 million divorce settlement. Both of Diamond's previous marriages produced two children each.
In November 2010, Diamond released his latest self-produced collection, called Dreams. The album features scaled-back versions of legendary tracks by the Beatles, the Eagles, Bill Withers, Leon Russell, Randy Newman, and even the Monkees, with Diamond covering his own "I'm A Believer."
Diamond's previous mainstream studio release, 2008's Home Before Dark, debuted at Number One -- marking the first time he ever topped the Billboard 200 album chart.
Out now is The Very Best of Neil Diamond - The Original Studio Recordings. The 23-song set is the first Neil Diamond collection to draw from his complete studio discography as featured on the Bang, Uni/MCA, Capitol, and Columbia labels. Highlights on the set include "Cherry, Cherry," "I Am. . . I Said," "Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie," "Solitary Man," "Song Sung Blue," "Hello Again," "Kentucky Woman," "I'm A Believer," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," "Shilo," and "America," among others.
In 2007 Diamond made news when he revealed that Caroline Kennedy was the inspiration behind his 1969 hit "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)."
A while back, Diamond said that despite being on and off the charts, and at various times considered out of favor and then hip again, he's comfortable being himself: "We were in rehearsal for the show, and one of my newer musicians sat down next to me while I was watching from the seats. And he finally turned to me and said, 'Do you like being you?' And I, y'know, I thought it was an interesting question. I never thought about it. And I've never really been asked that question before. And I thought for a moment and, y'know, I said to him, 'Hell yeah,' y'know, 'there's no question about it.'"
Diamond told us that, for him, songwriting offers a way to express personal thoughts and ideas that he might not say in a more intimate setting: "A lot of things I've said here that I could never really say to someone directly, to another person. It just seems a little easier if I put them into a song form and can kinda hide behind that a little bit, even though I know it's me.''
Photo Courtesy of Jesse Diamond