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...
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.
Although he was not rehired by Sunbeam, he did release his first song with his friend Jack Packer in the 1960s, 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.
In the 1980s, 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.
In 2011, Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then the following year, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Just in 2018, Diamond also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2020 he 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.