Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2011 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Neil Diamond

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Class of 2011 was officially announced today, so thought I’d share the official HOF bios of each of the inductees.

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond’s half-century as a prolific singer, songwriter and recording artist (nearly four decades on Columbia Records) is one of the eternal verities of American popular music.

He began taking pre-med studies at New York University, but was interrupted in 1962 by an offer to write songs for $50 a week at 1619 Broadway, the Brill Building. Like many writers there, including fellow Brooklynites Neil Sedaka and Carole King, Diamond was writing as much for himself as for others.

Thus, “I’m a Believer” was grabbed by the Monkees, who turned it into the top song of 1966 (followed three months later by their take on Neil’s “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You). No matter, because Bert Berns had already signed Diamond to his new Bang Records indie label.

He rocked the Hot 100 in 1966 with “Solitary Man” and “Cherry, Cherry,” followed in 1967 by “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” and “Kentucky Woman” (a Top 40 hit for Deep Purple in 1968). Produced by Brill-mates Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, these acoustic-guitar-driven rock and roll songs were the first notches in Neil’s singles discography.

He has had more than 70 U.S. chart entries to date, including “Sweet Caroline,” “Holly Holy” and “Cracklin’ Rosie” (along with some 48 charted albums). He has stayed true to his roots as a rocker onstage, including a performance at The Band’s Last Waltz concert.

Diamond continues to be a world-class, top-grossing concert draw, slinging his custom Gibson flat-top with a fury that remains undiminished at age 69.

Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline