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The Bang Years

Neil Diamond

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iTunes Review

Released to coincide with his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Bang Years is a fantastic reminder of just how skilled a singer and songwriter Neil Diamond was from the moment he made the determined shift from Brill Building songwriter to performer. These are great pop tunes, produced with a vibrancy that remains just as sharp forty-plus years later. The horns of “Solitary Man,” the handclaps of “Cherry, Cherry,” the Spaghetti Western tension of “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” the hip swagger of “Kentucky Woman,” the blistering keyboard and guitar of “I’m A Believer” (a hit for the Monkees) and his own ease with classic pop-rock, Paul Simon’s “Red Rubber Ball” (a hit for the Cyrkle) and Ritchie Valens’ hit, “La Bamba,” there was nothing Diamond couldn’t do well. Over the years he would settle into more relaxed and glossier productions, but for fans of ‘60s pop-folk-rock, there are so many tracks to recommend. Even obscure tunes such as “I’ll Come Running” and “The Time Is Now” are essential cuts for Diamond fans and casual listeners alike.

Customer Reviews

Neil Diamond: The Bang Years 1966-1968

After 45 years of waiting they are finally here on March 8, 2011!!! The recordings that were made in 1966 & 1967 that would help to create a legend are now the recordings that made him a legend that we all know as "Neil Diamond!!!" Flawless-perfection in the restoral and remastering of Diamond's early classical gems. Diamond fans can rejoice on this day - our wait is over! Thank you Neil for the long awaited gift! I can now die a happy man having them to listen to and soon having you finally in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where you have belonged a long time ago! I now have lived to see it all!!!

Finally, a long lost song finds a permanent home...

Ah, the Bang years. There were actually 25 original songs that Bang Records released. Although 24 of these songs were rehashed on new albums, remastered to original or rechanneled stereo with added vocals or intruments, and/or released as alternate takes, these are the songs that brought Neil onto the stage. The two missing songs from this collection, as noted already, are "Crooked Street" and "Shot Down". But those two songs pale in comparison to the issuance of the one song that was only release as a B side to "Solitary Man" and other early singles; that being "The Time Is Now". If only one song makes this collection worthy, it is this song. Here we have an original Diamond song that brings out the bluesy side of Neil very well. Worthy of being a Diamond classic, Bang Records never bothered releasing it on an album. It was the one track that I had hoped would be digitally remastered and released. And, finally, it has found a permanent home.

The young Neil Diamond graduates from songwriter to performer

Before Neil Diamond became a singing superstar he was a songwriter, but even as a songwriter he wasn’t an instant success. He spent his teen years tramping from one publishing house to another, occasionally selling a song against royalties for hits that never came. It wasn’t until an unsuccessful year on the staff of Leiber & Stoller’s Trio Music and, ironically, a transition to recording, that Diamond found his voice as a songwriter. He first charted with Jay and the Americans’ “Sunday and Me,” and hit his commercial stride with the Monkees chart-toppers “I’m a Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.” Other songs in his catalog found favor among British Invasion acts that included Cliff Richard and Lulu.

Diamond’s earlier attempts at a performing career (with Dual in 1959 and Columbia in 1963) had gone nowhere, but his signing to Bang in 1966 unlocked his songwriting talent and paired him with producers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. It was during this initial run at Bang that Diamond proved himself a talented songwriter, unique vocalist and commanding hit maker. His first seven singles reached the chart, six making the top 20; for good measure he extended the chart run with “Red, Red Wine” and a soul-power cover of Gary U.S. Bonds’ “New Orleans.” Several of his B-sides, including “The Boat That I Row” and “Do It” were as good as the A’s, and cover versions of “Red Rubber Ball,” “Monday, Monday” and “La Bamba” were blessed by the Diamond touch.

Barry and Greenwich (who can be heard singing backing vocals) hired the cream of New York’s session players, and together with arranger Artie Butler and engineers Brooks Arthur, Tom Dowd and Phil Ramone, cranked out these brilliant capsules of AM radio pop. Diamond would go on to even greater chart and performance glory, but the seeds of his success can be heard in the craft of these twenty-three sides, particularly his eighteen original compositions. The mono masters are housed in a tri-fold digipack with a 20-page booklet that features pictures and revealing liner notes by Diamond himself. For the next phase in Diamond’s career, check his mid-period work on Play Me: The Complete Uni Studio Recordings… Plus! [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]


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 Bang Years, Neil Diamond
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: Mar 08, 2011

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