Essential Neil Diamond

The Essential Neil Diamond

4.6 7
by Neil Diamond

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A collection that lives up to its title, The Essential Neil Diamond presents the singer-songwriter-entertainer in all his chart-making glory. Moving chronologically through four decades, this double-disc set gives us the wonderful early singles ( "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," "Kentucky Woman" "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"), the breakthrough hits ("Sweet


A collection that lives up to its title, The Essential Neil Diamond presents the singer-songwriter-entertainer in all his chart-making glory. Moving chronologically through four decades, this double-disc set gives us the wonderful early singles ( "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," "Kentucky Woman" "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"), the breakthrough hits ("Sweet Caroline, "Song Sung Blue," "I Am...I Said"), the signature tunes from Diamond's superstar era ( "America," "Love on the Rocks," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"), and the later hits ("September Morn," "Heartlight,"), among a slew of familiar performances. The Diamond persona shifts with time, from gritty singer-songwriter to middle-of-the-road crowd pleaser, but the quality of the material and the hallmark vocal intensity never waver, from beginning to end. A number of live tracks (including "Brooklyn Roads," "Soolaimon," and "Shilo") also demonstrate Diamond's unmatched onstage dramatizing and enviable rapport with an audience. For those who love Neil, and for those who are just coming to appreciate his importance as an American pop icon, this is simply a must-have set.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Columbia Records' series of two-disc, limited-edition Essential compilations of its major long-term stars -- Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, etc. -- has generally been a winner, so it is a shame to have to report that the Neil Diamond number is not. True, most of the singer/songwriter's best and most popular songs are included, but there are also significant omissions and enough inessential material to prevent this from being the sort of definitive collection it could and should have been. For once, the basic problem in assembling a Diamond best-of has been overcome, since Columbia has licensed the five Top Ten hits he scored for Uni Records in the late '60s and early '70s from Universal. Meanwhile, Columbia parent Sony controls the Bang Records catalog for which Diamond recorded from 1966 to 1968, and he has been signed to Columbia since 1973, so that puts his biggest hits at the compilers' disposal. But those compilers, Diamond himself and Al Quaglieri, have chosen oddly, shortchanging the Columbia material in favor of using more Bang recordings (nine) than necessary and employing ten live recordings, six of them newly made, nine of them songs from the Uni era, including versions of obscure album tracks like "Captain Sunshine." That leaves space for only 14 Columbia studio recordings from 1973-2001, and though most of them were chart singles, fans will miss the Top Five hit "Longfellow Serenade," while "I've Been This Way Before," another track from the Serenade album that barely made the Top 40, is included. This is the kind of idiosyncratic selection typical of a collection chosen by the artist himself, in this case one who is more interested in his new interpretations of half-forgotten songs from 30 years earlier than what a more objective observer might consider the "essential" recordings of his career.

Product Details

Release Date:


Disc 1

  1. Solitary Man
  2. Cherry, Cherry
  3. I Got the Feelin' (Oh No, No)
  4. Kentucky Woman
  5. Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon
  6. You Got to Me
  7. Red, Red Wine
  8. Thank the Lord for the Night Time
  9. I'm a Believer
  10. Sweet Caroline
  11. Song Sung Blue
  12. Holly Holy
  13. I Am...I Said
  14. Cracklin' Rosie
  15. Play Me
  16. Morningside
  17. Crunchy Granola Suite
  18. Brooklyn Roads
  19. Soolaimon

Disc 2

  1. America
  2. Hello Again
  3. Love on the Rocks
  4. Captain Sunshine
  5. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
  6. Medley: Yes I Will/Lady Magdalene
  7. Shilo
  8. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
  9. If You Know What I Mean
  10. Beautiful Noise
  11. You Don't Bring Me Flowers
  12. Desirée
  13. Forever in Blue Jeans
  14. September Morn
  15. I've Been This Way Before
  16. Yesterday's Songs
  17. Heartlight
  18. Headed for the Future
  19. You Are the Best Part of Me

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neil Diamond   Primary Artist
Barbra Streisand   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Neil Diamond   Composer,Producer
Robbie Robertson   Producer
Brooks Arthur   Engineer
Ellie Greenwich   Producer
Burt Bacharach   Producer
Carole Bayer Sager   Producer
John Arrias   Engineer
Peter Asher   Producer
Jeff Barry   Producer
Alan Bergman   Composer
Marilyn Bergman   Composer
Neil Brody   Engineer
John Calder   Engineer
Tom Catalano   Producer
Tommy Cogbill   Producer
Val Garay   Engineer
Bob Gaudio   Producer
Ron Hitchcock   Engineer
Nat Jeffreys   Engineer
Alan Lindgren   Producer
Phil Ramone   Engineer
Rick Ruggieri   Engineer
Bill Schnee   Engineer
Allen Sides   Engineer
Jeremy Smith   Engineer
Dennis St. John   Producer
Armin Steiner   Engineer
David Wild   Liner Notes
Bernie Becker   Engineer
Tim Kramer   Engineer
Mick Guzouski   Engineer
Humberto Garcia   Engineer
Andy Bloch   Engineer
Mary Maurer   Art Direction
George Hurrell   Cover Photo
Ed Anderson   Engineer
Alan Mason   Engineer

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The Essential Neil Diamond 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is for sure one of the best neil diamond collections out there.2cds 38 great tunes from his carrer from the past 4 decades. good ones /such as cherry cherry/headed for the future/yesatetdays songs and lots and lots of great ones. any neil diamond fans that dont have this cd yet its is must have
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Think That This Greatest Hits Package Is Very Good. Neil Diamond Has Certainly Knocked Out Some Excellent Work, Over The Years And This Collection Makes You Realise That. The Only Fault I Do Have Is Some Of It Is Live And Dosen't Sound Quite As Good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Was looking for a CD with all the hits. Would have preferred all original recordings but his hits don't fail just because they are recorded live. He is awesome in concert, so all is well with this CD. Red, Red Wine from Hot August Night was better to my ears, though. This CD has all the hits I wanted at a reasonable price. Can put this on and not worry about skipping over tracks!
DaninTulsa More than 1 year ago
I bought this CD primarily for the concert DVD footage. I had previously purchased another Neil Diamond CD/DVD which had more "behind the scenes" DVD footage. Unfortunately, I lost the DVD somewhere (which is still a mystery). I went to B&N and they didn't have it in stock and I thought that I'd give this one a try. Mr. Diamond definitely is a master performer. I'm going to buy the other CD/DVD again because the DVD footage was that good. It even show's him going back on the train to the apartment/house(?) that he grew up in and meeting the current residents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best song collection albums for a singer/writer. Includes all of N.D.'s greatest hits. Played it on a road trip and it made the time go by quickly. A definite recommend.
MFDB More than 1 year ago
This is a good cd for Neil Diamond fans. If you were one of the legions who went to the concerts and bought the albums you will enjoy this cd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago