Neil Diamond was born in New York on January 24, 1941, to Polish and Russian parents. As a young child, Diamond joined his school choir and started writing small love poems for his friends. He is most famously known as a singer-songwriter who wrote the famous songs we still know today such as ‘Sweet Caroline,’ ‘I am…I said,’ and ‘Hello again.’ The singer has also written songs for Elvis Presley such as ‘And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind,’ which was performed by Presley in 1969. He also won the ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2017.
Neil Leslie Diamond was born in Brooklyn, New York 1941, on January 24, 1941. Diamond’s father, Akeeba “Kieve” Diamond, was a Polish dry goods merchant. His mother, Rose, was Russian. All four of his grandparents were immigrants who fled to the US. Diamond attended Erasmus Hall High School where he joined choir groups that were available at his school, along with his classmate Barbra Streisand. He attended his second high school, Abraham Lincoln High School, in 1959 in Brighton Beach, New York, where he was a member of the fencing team.
When Diamond was 16 years old, he received his first guitar as a birthday gift. He spent time at a summer camp called Surprise Lake Camp, a camp for Jewish children in New York. This is where he first saw Pete Seeger perform at a concert. This moment was pivotal as he realized he wanted to be a songwriter. He started poetry for girls in school and later for his friends as well.
After high school, he attended New York University as a pre-med major on a fencing scholarship. He was a member of the N.C.A.A. men’s championship fencing team in 1960. In his senior year, he cut classes to sing at the Tin Pan Alley, where he hoped to get noticed by local producers. Sunbeam Music Publishing eventually offered him his first job to write songs for $50 a week, he then dropped out of college to accept this offer.
He married his high school sweetheart Jaye Posner in 1963 and had two daughters. They divorced in 1967. Two years later, he met Marcia Murphey with whom he had two sons. After 25 years together, they called it quits. When he was 70 years old, Diamond met 41-year-old Katie McNeil, and the couple married in Los Angeles in 2012.
Diamond writes the song ‘And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind’ for Elvis Presley.
Diamond writes his debut song, ‘Sweet Caroline,’ which rocks the charts for decades.
He performs for 106,000 fans in Glastonbury, England.
Diamond is nominated for and wins the ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.’
Diamond retires from live performances due to his diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.
Why We Love Neil Diamond
He loves love
Diamond has expressed how he loves to write about love. He added that most of his songs were inspired by the women in his life.
He danced with Princess Diana
Princess Diana was invited to the White House in 1985 for a state dinner that Diamond was also attending. They ended up dancing together on the dance floor!
‘Sweet Caroline,’ obviously
Diamond wrote the catchy song in 1969. To this day, it is still a timeless classic that has captured hearts and set feet tapping.
5 Surprising Facts
His favorite song
The 1969 hit song, ‘Sweet Caroline,’ is his all-time favorite song,
“E.T.” Inspired ‘Heartlight’
His song ‘Heartlight’ was inspired by the classic 1982 film, “E.T.”
Highschool with Barbra Streisand
Diamond attended school with Streisand and he said they used to smoke cigarettes together before school.
He was in a few films
Diamond played the lead in the film “The Jazz Singer'' in 1980, setting a record for the highest-paid actor of all time at the time.
Diamond is proudly Jewish, growing up in a Jewish home with both of his parents and all four of his grandparents being of Jewish descent.
Neil Diamond FAQs
What disease Does Neil diamond have?
In 2018 Diamond came out to the public with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, alerting the public that he will no longer be performing live, but urges us to keep a lookout for any new music he may still release.
What song did Neil Diamond write for Elvis Presley?
Diamond wrote the famous song performed and sung by Presley, ‘And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind’ in 1969.
What song did Neil Diamond write for his grandparents?
He was very proud of the song, ‘America,’ written about immigration. It played at important moments in history, such as the 100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty.
Neil Diamond’s birthday dates