Neil DiamondPop | 2008
Neil Leslie Diamond was born in 1941 in Brooklyn. His parents Akeeba and Rose Diamond operated and owned a series of dry goods stores. Except for two years in the mid-40s that the family spent in Wyoming while Akeeba Diamond served in the military, Diamond grew up in Brooklyn, changing residences as his father moved from store to store. He later claimed to have attended nine different schools and to have suffered socially as a result. He showed an early interest in music and took up singing and playing the guitar after he saw Pete Seeger perform at a camp he attended as a teenager. Diamond’s earliest recognition came as a songwriter associated with the Brill Building era of Tin Pan Alley in the early 1960s. He soon branched out into recording and performing, and by the early ’70s was topping the charts with the self-written singles “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “Song Sung Blue.” As he made a transition to more of an album artist, he began to earn gold and platinum certifications and developed into a dynamic concert performer. As of 2001, Diamond, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, claimed worldwide record sales of 115 million copies, and as of 2002 he was ranked third, behind only Elton John and Barbra Streisand, on the list of the most successful adult contemporary artists in the history of the Billboard chart.