Neil Diamond: His Fantastic Career Then & Now

Neil Diamond's career then and now
January 24, 2020 - 12:30 / Cynthia Springer

American singer Neil Diamond has sold more than 100 million internationally. He's best known for songs like "Sweet Caroline" and "Cracklin' Rosie" that topped the charts. Check out what the iconic singer has been up to these days, and how he initially rose to stardom! 

Neil Diamond is a true New Yorker. Born on January 24, 1941 in Brooklyn, the famous singer moved around several times with his parents, even attending a private school with Barbra Streisand at one point. One of his major hobbies was actually fencing, with his best friend and classmate Herb Cohen, turning into an Olympic fencer...

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Neil Diamond's impressive career then & now

Diamond's interest in music began at the age of 16 when he received his first guitar. He took lessons to play and even wrote poetry to impress girls in his class. A few years later, he eventually ended up at New York University on a fencing scholarship studying pre-med.

However, it was during this time that Diamond dropped out of NYU, just 10 units short of completing his senior year. Instead, he was offered a 16-week job to write songs for Sunbeam Music Publishing.

Neil Diamond in London for his first British concert during a tour of Europe

Although he was not rehired by Sunbeam, he did release his first song with his friend Jack Packer in the 1960's, which led to him being signed with Columbia Records. He was later dropped by them, but continued his singing and songwriting success during that decade, with his first single "Solitary Man", "Cherry Cherry", and of course the 1969 hit, "Sweet Caroline". 

Diamond's career continued with more and more hits 

By the '70s, Neil had reached new heights in his career. Not only did he release a number 1 single, "Cracklin' Rosie, but he also played at 7 sold out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

In 1973, he composed songs for the film Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, which earned him a Grammy AND Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. By this point, Neil was touring all across the globe, from Europe to Australia.  

Neil Diamond sings the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl XXI between the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos at the Rose Bowl on January 25, 1987 in Pasadena, California

In the 1980's, Diamond starred in the film The Jazz Singer, in which the album sold more than 5 million copies and landed him more Grammy and Golden Globe nominations. The album included some of his most beloved songs:  "America", "Love on the Rocks" and "Hello Again". 

Neil Diamond's recent career accomplishments

From the 1990s up until 2011, Neil Diamond had sold more than 17 million albums in the United States alone. He has a total of 34 studio albums, with recent albums including Melody Road and Acoustic Christmas. Overall, he's one of the best-selling musicians of all time. 

Neil Diamond attends a ceremony honoring him with the 2,475th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 10, 2012 in Hollywood, California

In 2011, Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then the following year, he was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Just in 2018, Diamond also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

It was this year where he also announced that he has Parkinson's disease, resulting in his retirement from touring. As a decorated man, Diamond continues to write and record songs. 

Neil Diamond is currently married to his third wife, Katie McNeil, and has four children from his previous marriages.