Neil Diamond is celebrating his 80th birthday this week.
Born in New York (as he confirms in the song I Am…I Said, ‘I was New York born and raised’), he had chart 38 songs on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart. Many believed his first single to be Solitary Man in 1966, but it was actually his second. His first was called Clown Town in 1963.
His first UK hit didn’t arrive until Cracklin’ Rosie which reached number three in 1970, a position he, surprisingly, never beaten. Even the follow-up, and the song that has become his swansong, Sweet Caroline ‘only’ peaked at number eight.
His only film role was as Jess Robin, alongside Laurence Olivier in the Jazz Singer in 1980.
In 2018, he announced that he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease which resulted in the cancellation of the final leg of his 50 Year Anniversary World Tour in Australia and New Zealand.
During the COVID pandemic he recorded a video from his home with new appropriate lyrics to Sweet Caroline, let’s watch that as well as the 1974 release of the song Longfellow Serenade.