By Mary Miller Cullins
On January 24, 1941, Neil Leslie Diamond, an American singer-songwriter with a career that began in the 60′s, was born.
As of 2001, Diamond had sold over 115 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family descended from Russian and Polish immigrants. He enjoyed fencing in high school and attneded New York University on a fencing scholarship. He was also a member of the 1960 NCAA men’s championship team. His life ambition was medicine, though. He want to study and find a cure for cancer, a disease his grandmother succumbed to. However, during his senior year at the University, a music publishing company made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: write songs for $50 a week. That was the beginning of his road to stardom.
About ten years ago, my friend Lisa and I were on a major Neal Diamond kick. We’d ride around and sing to his greatest hits at the top of our lungs. Cracklin’ Rosie was our favorite! During that time we heard he was coming to St. Louis and we decided we MUST be there. Well, needless to say, our seats were on the upper level, but Neal still looked good in his beaded shirt and sweaty self. Unfortunately, when she tried to throw her underwear on the stage (we had heard that’s what his “groupies” did), they landed on a man’s head three rows in front of us. (He was happy, though).
Happy Birthday to the guy responsible for people everywhere who stop talking and start singing (loudly) whenever they hear Sweet Caroline coming from the jukebox. And today Neal we just hope everything is “so good, so good, so good! Cause I’ve been inclined to believe they never would…..
Happy Birthday Mr. Diamond