10 Fun Facts About Neil Diamond!
We’re so excited to kick off our 2019-2020 season with the first show in our concert series - A Tribute to Neil Diamond with Steve Kelly and the Cherry Cherry Band! With over 30 years of performance experience in a variety of venues all over the country (and at least ten cruise ships), Cherry Cherry is the premier Neil Diamond tribute band. The band is committed to bringing fun, nostalgia, and Neil Diamond's classic sound to audiences of all sizes and fans of all ages. Even Neil himself says, "Keep up the good work."
Neil Diamond is best known for his iconic song, “Sweet Caroline”, (you’ve definitely heard it at the Drive stadium), along with hits such as “I Am… I Said”, “Song Sung Blue”, “Cracklin’ Rosie”, and of course, “Cherry, Cherry”. With over 100 million records sold worldwide, Neil Diamond is one of the best selling musicians of all time, an inductee in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and has been covered by the likes of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. However, there are plenty of things you might not know about the man behind the music!
He was a skilled fencer at NYU - Diamond attended New York University on a fencing scholarship, and fenced for the school’s 1960 championship team! He dropped out of school to pursue a career in songwriting, but was awarded an honorary degree in 1995. He never stopped honing his swordsmanship skills, often warming up with fencing exercises before concerts.
He wrote his first song to impress his girlfriend - In 1961, Diamond wrote a song called “Hear Them Bells” as a romantic gesture for his then girlfriend, Jaye Posner. The two later married and had two daughters, but divorced in 1969. As for “Hear Them Bells”, it wasn’t released until 1996.
His nickname was “The Jewish Elvis” - Diamond was born to Jewish immigrants in New York, and his energetic performance style reminded audiences of Elvis Presley. This combination resulted in a little known nickname - Jewish Elvis!
He wrote “I’m a Believer” - The song made famous by The Monkees in 1966 was originally written and recorded by Neil Diamond. He released his rendition in 1967, and a revised version in 1979. The song became popular with younger generations in the film, Shrek.
He kept crossing paths with Barbra Streisand - Diamond and Streisand released their iconic duet, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” in 1978, but also happened to go to high school together! Although they both sang in the school choir, they were not close friends in their youth.
He was in the movies - Diamond played the lead in the 1980 film, The Jazz Singer alongside Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz, setting a record for the highest paid debut actor at the time. Later, he was almost cast in Taxi Driver in the role that ultimately went to Robert de Niro.
He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award - Diamond received this honor in 2018. He had received 13 Grammy nominations over the years. One resulted in a win for his work on the soundtrack for the film, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
He doesn’t like to write songs - Even though he was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1984 and is renowned for his songwriting abilities, Diamond doesn’t enjoy the process. In a 2014 interview, he went as far as to say he hated it, although “nobody told [him] it was gonna be easy.”
He already had 4 children at the height of his career - Diamond steered clear of the drug and alcohol-filled world of other 1970s rock stars, instead focusing on being a dedicated family man for his children and second wife. He sang of his quiet life in his early hit, “Solitary Man”.
He danced with Princess Diana - Diamond performed at a 1985 White House ball in honor of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. After his performance, the Princess of Wales asked him to dance. Diamond admits that it was the most nervous he had ever been, but she was “a lovely lady”.
A Tribute to Neil Diamond with Steve Kelly and the Cherry Cherry Band runs August 9 - 11, and seats are filling up fast! Call our box office at (864)233-6238, stop by the box office, or click here to buy tickets!