Starting in Brooklyn, Neil Diamond grew to be an international success spanning decades of changes in musical tastes. His career has featured major hits in the 60s through the 80s and a resurgence in the 21st century, thanks in part to the embrace of one of his earlier hits by the Boston Red Sox as well as other major sports teams.

 

Diamond’s Sweet Caroline reached the top 5 in 1969 and was certified gold, selling more than one million copies. In 1997 the Red Sox employee responsible for in-stadium music played the song during a game as a tribute to a friend who had just had a baby girl named Caroline. The song caught on and has been played in the middle of the eighth inning ever since.  More recently, the song reappeared in the UK charts 50 years after its original release, owing to its use by England supporters during the Euro 2020 tournament.

 

Neil Diamond got interested in music after seeing Pete Seeger at a summer camp. He won a scholarship for fencing to New York University and studied pre-med. At the same time he pursued music, signing his first recording contract in 1961. The duo of Neil & Jack was not successful, but Diamond kept working.  On his 22nd birthday he released his first solo single. While it took a few years for his own recordings to succeed, he did have success in songwriting, signing on with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stollers publishing company.

In 1966 he reached the charts for the first time with Solitary Man. Over the decades, Diamond has recorded 10 number 1 singles and placed 38 songs in the top 10. His acting career highlights include The Jazz Singer which in 1980 spawned two hit singles. The Hall of Fame member no longer tours, owing to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, but he did appear as a surprise guest at a Red Sox game last summer to sing Sweet Caroline.