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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Neil Diamond

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Album Review

Like any record company worth their salt, MCA knows a good gimmick when they see it, and when the millennium came around, well, the 20th Century Masters — The Millennium Collection wasn't too far behind. Supposedly, the millennium is a momentous occasion, but it's hard to feel that way when it's used as another excuse to turn out a budget-line series. But apart from the presumptuous title, 20th Century Masters — The Millennium Collection turns out to be a very good budget-line series. True, it's impossible for any of these brief collections to be definitive, but they're nevertheless solid samplers that don't feature a bad song in the bunch. For example, take Neil Diamond's 20th Century volume — it's an irresistible summary of his MCA years, rivaling the previous His 12 Greatest Hits. There may be a couple of noteworthy songs missing, but all the big hits of that era are here, including "Sweet Caroline," "Holly Holy," "Song Sung Blue," "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," "Play Me," "Brooklyn Roads," "Crunchy Granola Suite," "Stone," "Soolaimon," "I Am...I Said" and "Cracklin' Rosie." Serious fans will want something more extensive, but this is an excellent introduction for neophytes and a great sampler for casual fans, considering its length and price. That doesn't erase the ridiculousness of the series title, but the silliness is excusable when the music and the collections are good.

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Biography

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."...
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