Neil Diamond - Career - 1960s

1960s

Diamond's first recording contract was billed as "Neil and Jack", an Everly Brothers–type duo comprising Diamond and high school friend Jack Packer *(Jack Parker). They recorded two unsuccessful singles, "You Are My Love At Last" b/w "What Will I Do" and "I'm Afraid" b/w "Till You've Tried Love", both released in 1962. Later in 1962, Diamond signed with the Columbia Records label as a solo performer. Columbia Records released the single "At Night" b/w "Clown Town" in July 1963. Billboard gave an excellent review to "Clown Town" in their July 13, 1963, issue, predicting it would be a hit. Despite a tour of radio stations, the single failed to make the music charts. Furthermore, sales and Top 40 airplay were disappointing, and Columbia dropped Diamond from the label shortly thereafter. Diamond was back to writing songs on an upright piano above the Birdland Club in New York City.

Diamond spent his early career as a songwriter in the Brill Building. His first success as a songwriter came in November 1965, with "Sunday and Me", a Top 20 hit for Jay and the Americans on the Billboard Charts. Greater success as a writer followed with "I'm a Believer", "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)", and "Love to Love", all by The Monkees. There is a popular misconception that Diamond wrote and composed these songs specifically for the made-for-TV quartet. In reality, Diamond had written and recorded these songs for himself, but the cover versions were released before his own. The unintended, but happy, consequence was that Diamond began to gain fame not only as a singer and performer, but also as a songwriter. "I'm a Believer" was the Popular Music Song of the Year in 1966. Other notable artists who recorded early Diamond songs were Elvis Presley, who interpreted "Sweet Caroline" as well as "And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind"; Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere & the Raiders, who covered "And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind"; the English hard-rock band Deep Purple, which interpreted "Kentucky Woman"; Lulu, who covered "The Boat That I Row", and Cliff Richard, who released versions of "I'll Come Running", "Solitary Man", "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", "I Got The Feelin' (Oh No No)", and "Just Another Guy".

In 1966 Diamond signed a deal with Bert Berns's Bang Records, then a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. His first release on that label, "Solitary Man", became his first hit. Prior to the release of "Solitary Man", Diamond had considered using a stage name; he came up with two possibilities, "Noah Kaminsky" and "Eice Charry". But when asked by Bang Records which name he should use, Noah, Eice, or Neil, he thought of his grandmother, who died prior to the release of "Solitary Man". Thus he told Bang, "...go with Neil Diamond and I'll figure it out later". Diamond later followed with "Cherry, Cherry", "Kentucky Woman", "Thank the Lord for the Night Time", "Do It", and others. Diamond's Bang recordings were produced by legendary Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, both of whom can be heard singing background on many of the tracks.

His first concerts saw him as a "special guest" of, or opening for, everyone from Herman's Hermits to, on one occasion, The Who, which he confirmed on an installment of VH1's documentary series program Behind The Music.

Diamond began to feel restricted by Bang Records, wanting to record more ambitious, introspective music. Finding a loophole in his contract, Diamond tried to sign with a new label, but the result was a series of lawsuits that coincided with a dip in his professional success. Diamond eventually triumphed in court, and secured ownership of his Bang-era master recordings in 1977.

Read more about this topic:  Neil Diamond, Career

Other articles related to "1960s, 1960":

Gabriele Ferzetti - Biography - Career - 1960s
... In 1960, Ferzetti starred in Gianni Puccini's Il carro armato dell'8 settembre followed by Florestano Vancini's La lunga notte del '43 ... Later in 1960, Ferzetti made his international breakthrough as an oversexed, restless playboy Sandro in Michelangelo Antonioni's controversial L'avventura ...
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul And Pacific Railroad - History - 1960s
... industry found itself in decline in the late 1950s and the 1960s, but the Milwaukee was hit particularly hard ...
Timeline Of Women's Suffrage - 20th Century - 1960s
... 1960 Cyprus (upon its establishment) Gambia Geneva Tonga 1961 Burundi Mauritania Malawi Paraguay Rwanda Sierra Leone 1962 Algeria Australia franchise extended to Aboriginal men and women ...
Timeline Of Telescopes, Observatories, And Observing Technology - Common Era (A.D.) - 1900s - 1960s
... 1960 - Owens Valley 27-meter radio telescopes begin operation, located in Big Pine, California 1961 - Parkes 64-metre radio telescope begins operation ...