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The Essential Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond

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iTunes Review

No one can accuse Neil Diamond of aiming small. He launched his career with celebratory folk-rock tunes like “Cherry, Cherry” and “Kentucky Woman,” then quickly reached for melodramatic heights with epochal numbers like “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” and “Holly Holy.” Fortunately, Diamond grounded his aspirations towards grandeur in the solid traditions of Tin Pan Alley songwriting, allowing him to transition easily into his later status as a mature balladeer. The peaks of his greatest hit-making years (1966-1986) are surveyed on The Essential Neil Diamond. Pegged as a commercial artist early on, Diamond nevertheless managed to push against the pop medium’s restrictions. His catalogue includes personal manifestos (“I Am…I Said”), gemlike pop nuggets (“I’m a Believer”), esoteric tribal chants (“Soolaimon”) and nostalgic rock ditties (“Forever in Blue Jeans”). Even his more conventional MOR hits like “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and “Love on the Rocks” display real gravitas and passion. The inclusion of live cuts along with studio tracks gives a sense of Neil’s on-stage power. There are unexpected pleasures and revelatory moments to be found in this near-definitive set.

Customer Reviews

Neil Diamond

One of the best artists in America. The Essential Neil Diamond collection is all that you need to sit back, relax and enjoy an American Classic singer/songwriter.

Great songs... but live renditions

Can't argue with the song selection here. However, do we really need live mixes? This series should be for newcomers, and in being so should have the original versions. If someone wants to delve deeper, they can decide based upon hearing the original material.

Lush, Live Highlights!

Features six new (2001), carefully recorded live versions of gems such as Captain Sunshine, Play Me, Shilo and Lady Magdalene, along with original studio cuts of Sweet Caroline, I Am...I Said, Holly Holy and others. The new recording of Soolaimon reminds us that, well before Peter Gabriel took up translating "world music" to a Western audience, there was ND! If you want even earlier vintage Neil than the Bang songs selected here, and later Columbia highlights and marginalia, see the 3-volume box set (and book too) "In My Lifetime." For a fine representation of his whole range on just two discs, however, this is essential ND.


Born: January 24, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In a career that began in the 1960s, Neil Diamond became a major recording artist, an internationally successful touring act, and a songwriter whose compositions produced hits for himself and others. His earliest recognition, in fact, came as a songwriter associated with the Brill Building era of Tin Pan Alley in the early '60s. But he soon branched out into recording and performing, and by the early '70s was topping the charts with the self-written singles "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Song Sung Blue."...
Full Bio
The Essential Neil Diamond, Neil Diamond
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