(Neil) Diamond studded

(Neil) Diamond studded
Paulette Tobin Grand Forks Herald
Published Thursday, November 20, 2008

”Legendary performer” is a label that gets tossed around a lot in show biz. But only for some artists – like Neil Diamond – is it truly fitting.

With a four-decade career and sales of more than 125 million records, Diamond’s career puts him at the top for performing success, not to mention longevity.

Diamond, the subject of a new book by a Rolling Stone music critic who calls him ”the Jewish Elvis,” will be in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Alerus Center. Officials there say they’re not authorized to comment on ticket sales, or even how many seats are available, but the show is expected to be big.

(Photo: Associated Press)
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Diamond has career numbers that pretty much tell the story of why fans flock to his concerts. He has 36 Top 40 hits and a Grammy. Although there haven’t been any major movie roles for a while, his previous efforts earned him a Golden Globe.

All the biggies

Audiences at his current concert tour can expect amazing production, innovative stage design and a set list of Diamond’s biggest and most beloved hits, his promoters said. Those include ”Sweet Caroline,” ”I’m a Believer,” ”Cherry, Cherry.” ”You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (which he sang with Barbra Streisand), ”I Am, I Said,” ”Cracklin’ Rosie.” ”America” and ”Love on the Rocks.”

There also will be songs from his latest album, ”Home Before Dark,” his second collaboration with renowned producer Rick Rubin, which came out in May. Their first album together was ”12 Songs,” released in 2005.

Diamond’s status as an entertainment icon just entered a new realm, now that he’s the subject of a new book, ”He Is … I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neal Diamond,” by David Wild.

Wild, who grew up in New Jersey, has said his childhood was shaped by Diamond’s music. Later a rock critic for Rolling Stone, Wild continued to admire Diamond even when some fellow music writers dismissed Diamond as ”terminally unhip,” a news release said.

When Wild first interviewed Diamond for Rolling Stone, Diamond posed the question that later would become the article’s headline: ”Am I a rock person, or what the hell am I?”

Yes, to the rock person part, but so much more. There were movies (”The Jazz Singer”) and television appearances, most recently as a guest mentor on ”American Idol.” His ”Home Before Dark” debuted at a career-best No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 list and has sold more than 371,000 copies.


And there have been good works. Diamond will be honored Feb. 6 for his philanthropy with the 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year award during the organization’s 19th annual benefit gala. MusiCares ensures that music people have a place to turn to in times of financial, medical and personal need.

This year, Diamond donated 100 percent of merchandise sales from his October concerts in Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City to the hurricane relief efforts in Texas for areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike. He has been the biggest donor to relief efforts in Chambers County and Oak Island, Texas, where he’s set up a fund to help rebuild homes.

Tickets to Diamond’s Saturday show in Grand Forks will be $55, $87 and $122.

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