I can’t imagine doing anything for 50 years. Neil Diamond can not only imagine it. He has done it.In 2017, the singer celebrates his 50th anniversary with a world tour and a 50-song box set.
Neil Diamond’s “50 Year Anniversary World Tour” kicked off on April 7 in Fresno, California. It concludes Aug. 12 in Los Angeles. Diamond is set to play 39 concerts including shows in Cleveland, Toronto, Houston, Seattle, and Phoenix.
The box set is called the 50th Anniversary Collection. It dropped on the final day of March 2017.
Diamond’s anniversary date was set by the release of his single “Solitary Man” on April 4, 1966. Actually, Diamond’s career goes back even further than that.
In the early 1960s, while still in high school, Diamond wrote songs for Sunbeam Music Publishing. Then, in 1962, he recorded two singles with Jack Packer. The duo called themselves “Neil and Jack.”
In 1963, Diamond released his first solo single, “At Night.” None of these tracks charted.
Three years later, in 1966, Diamond recorded and released “Solitary Man.” Although the song has been recorded by numerous artists, Diamond’s version stalled at 55.
It was his next single, “Cheery, Cherry,” that put Diamond on the map. It peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
From there, Diamond went on to write and record five decades of amazing music. While the bulk of his hits are from the 1960s and 1970s, I think in terms of quality, Diamond has been a very consistent songwriter and singer.
His most recent studio albums, Melody Road (2014), Home Before Dark (2008), and 12 Songs (2005), are solid efforts.
One of things that has always hurt Diamond is his association with the genres of adult contemporary and easy listening. This association inexplicably began in early 1970s.
Shedding that association is difficult. It’s like Kelly Clarkson trying to get people to forget she was an American Idol contestant.
Bottom line, Diamond is too mature for rock and too cool for adult contemporary. It just proves that he’s one of the few performers that’s legitimately in a genre all by himself.
The stage is where Diamond really thrills fans. Reviews of his first concerts of his “50 Year Anniversary World Tour” are very favorable.
Sure, his legs and voice aren’t as spry as they were in the 1970s, but for a 76-year-old legend, Diamond still shines. The charisma and energy haven’t gone anywhere. Best of all, Diamond continues to have a blast performing.
Diamond’s 28-song setlist contains classics like “Love on the Rocks,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” and “Cracklin’ Rosie” as well as deep cuts like “Beautiful Noise,” “Pretty Amazing Grace,” and “Brooklyn Roads.”
The first song of his encore is “Sweet Caroline.” It’s likely to turn into an extended sing-a-long. Diamond ends his concerts with the rousing “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.”
With five decades of great music in his pocket, Diamond can’t possibly play all his hits. Fortunately for me, he rocks “Crunchy Granola Suite.”