Diamond geezers

Diamond geezers Nov 18 2004

By Gordon Barr, The Evening Chronicle

Donny Osmond and Neil Diamond are both heading for Tyneside, the Chronicle can reveal today.

The American superstars will play Newcastle’s Metro Radio Radio Arena, with tickets for the two shows on sale tomorrow at 9am.

Neil Diamond will be first to return to the Arena, on May 24, while Donny will appear there on September 30.

The May show will be Diamond’s first at the Arena since July 2002. The first time he played the venue, in 1996, it was the fastest-selling gig there ever, although that record has since been eclipsed by the likes of Diana Ross, Robbie Williams, Oasis and Kylie.

In the 70s/80s, Diamond had a string of hit singles including Cracklin’ Rosie, Sweet Caroline and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.

But it could all have worked out so differently for the all-American boy student, who went to New York University in the early 60s on a fencing scholarship.

It was during this time that Diamond started writing songs.

A few failed attempts with singles didn’t put him off and, in 1967, the Monkees topped the US and British charts with the Diamond-penned I’m A Believer.

The man himself was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer in America, too, with the now familiar cigar-smoking induced croaky voice.

Despite penning songs for the likes of Lulu and Cliff Richard, success as a singer eluded him in Britain until Cracklin’ Rosie made the top three in 1970.

From then on, it was hits all the way. Although he has never made the top spot in the singles chart here, and had to wait until 1992 to do it in the album chart, Diamond still has the reputation of one of the world’s best entertainers.

Donny Osmond last played the Arena in March last year, his first show in the Toon in 23 years.

The singing sensation, as famous for his white teeth as he is for his voice, is big news again, and back in the early 70s he was one of the biggest heart-throbs the pop world has ever seen.

Donny scored a succession of hits, including three number ones in the UK as a soloist, the most famous being Puppy Love.

Tickets for both Donny Osmond and Neil Diamond go on sale tomorrow from 9am.

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