Neil Diamond is a composer and singer who steals the hearts of the spectators in his concerts, usually multitudinous. He has recorded dozens of albums of which he has sold 130 million copies. Anointed by Pete Seeger’s folk in his teens, his eclectic style, supported by country and light excursions to rock, has been a mirror for consecrated voices such as Frank Sinatra or Julio Iglesias and has even managed to obtain versions of Elvis Presley and Tina Turner.
Friendly and good-natured, exquisite for some, cloying for others, Diamond announced in late January that he was retiring, after revealing that he suffered from Parkinson’s. However, he said that leaving the scenarios would not lead to the abandonment of the composition and the recordings.
Born in a Jewish family in Brooklyn (New York, USA) in 1941, Neil Leslie Diamond descends from Russian and Polish immigrants. His father was a cloth merchant. The family resided in several homes, including a few years in Cheyenne, Wyoming, when his father served in the military. He had Barbra Streisand as his schoolmate. Both were part of different musical choirs, this kettle in which the great vocalists of the United States have been raised. He did not make many more friends at this time, but with the future singer they escaped from class to smoke on the sly. He was given the first guitar at sixteen and this prompted him to write his first songs. Talent as a poet had already shown him dedicating verses to girls to make them fall in love. With a friend, Jack Parker, they formed the duo Neil and Jack and recorded some simple albums.
He worked as a waiter for a season before enrolling at the University of New York where he studied medicine and participated in fencing competitions. He soon left classes to join Tin Pan Alley, the well-known group of American editors and composers. An editor offered him work to write songs for $ 50 a week. He spent years working on assignments of this type. His first success came in 1965 with Sunday and me, then came I’m a believer, Red, red wine, Song sung blue and, above all, Sweet Caroline, the most versioned theme of Diamond. This melody is inspired by the daughter of President John Kennedy. The composer looked for a name of three syllables that he found while he contemplated an innocent photo of the girl next to his pony.
The artist has also dared with the big screen. In 1980 he starred with Laurence Olivier in a remake of The Jazz Singer, directed by Richard Fleischer. Diamond also composed several themes of the film. He also signed the soundtrack of the film Juan Salvador Gaviota of 1973. Several of his songs have been used in other film titles, as Quentin Tarantino did in Pulp fiction. He has not lavished too much giving concerts in Europe, although on occasion he has visited Spain to promote his records.
Diamond has been married three times. In 1963, with Jaye Posner, whom he met at the institute. They had two daughters and they separated in 1967. After two years, once obtained the divorce, he married the production assistant Marcia Murphey. The couple had two children and lasted twenty-five years. In 1996, he maintained an unmarried relationship with the Australian Rae Farley, whom he met in Brisbane. Finally in 2012, he celebrated the third wedding with his manager, Katie McNeil, in an intimate ceremony held in Los Angeles.
The singer has always taken care of the presence on stage. The musicians, the choirs, the lights, the sound, everything is designed to clothe you from the first to the last minute of performance. He did not hesitate to give himself a surgical retouch after sixty years. He has maintained a standard aesthetic in his appearances, from his bright sequined shirts to the austere uniform that dresses him in black from head to toe. In the memory is his unique way of modifying that transits from grave to acute, the delicate air of his tunes, all in function of a personal stamp that identifies him as a distinguished example of the so-called American popular culture.