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Neil Diamond Celebrating His 77th Birthday

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Happy Birthday to Neil Diamond, who turns 77 today (January 24th). Diamond shocked fans across the globe on Monday (January 22nd) when he announced he was retiring from live performances following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

Diamond announcement read in part: “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

Diamond last performed live in Times Square on December 31st, 2017 singing “Sweet Caroline” as part of theDick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve telecast. Prior to that, back in October, he wrapped his massively successful “50 Year Anniversary World Tour” at London’s O2 Arena. A planned string of Down Under dates has since been canceled since his diagnosis.

Neil Diamond is beloved 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).”

2016 saw the release of Neil Diamond’s fourth holiday album, titled An Acoustic Christmas. Among the yuletide classics featured on the set are “O Holy Night,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Hark The Herald Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” The album was produced by Don Was and Jackknife Lee, who were behind the boards for Diamond’s last album, 2014’s Top Three set, Melody Road.

In 2013, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Diamond pledged all the proceeds from the-then recent sales spike of his 1969 hit “Sweet Caroline” to Boston’s One Fund. The song, which has been an incredible source of pride and joy for Boston since it became a Fenway tradition over a decade ago, was played in honor of Boston at various games following the tragedy — including the Sox’s archrivals, the New York Yankees.

In 2012, Neil 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 the 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 albums 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.”

A while back, Neil 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.'”

Neil Diamond will be honored on January 28th at The 60th Annual Grammy Awards by the Recording Academy with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event will be broadcast live on CBS from New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Photo Courtesy of Jesse Diamond

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