On A Hot August Night In 1972, Neil Diamond Was King

By | August 22, 2020

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In an era of incredible live albums, Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night from 1972 was the "Cherry Cherry" and "Sweet Caroline" singer's bid to be an A-list showman. The double album wasn’t just a hit, it cemented Diamond as a performer with the charisma of Elvis and the dramatic ability to take the audience on a ride for more than an hour and a half. Neil Diamond is in rare form on Hot August Night, recorded on August 24, 1972, during a run of ten sold-out nights at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. This perfectly constructed live album shows the range and versatility of an artist in their prime.

Before "Hot August Night" Neil Diamond was more famous as a songwriter

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source: MCA

In spite of his prowess as a performer, evident on Hot August Night, Diamond found his first success in the music industry off the stage, writing pop songs that were hits for other artists. In 1960, he worked at the Sunbeam Music Publishing company but he didn’t find success until 1965 with the release of "Sunday and Me,” recorded by Jay and the Americans.

At the same time Diamond was writing songs that would make his career. While writing at the Brill Building he penned "Cherry, Cherry,” "Solitary Man,” and one of the biggest hits of his career, “I’m A Believer.” Diamond intended to release “I’m A Believer” as a solo song but as luck would have it The Monkees released their version before, which went to #1 on the Billboard chart. Diamond would release a version in 1971 that peaked at #51.

Diamond gained a reputation as a songwriter throughout the ‘60s, and this is while he was releasing music through Bang Records and the MCA. He put out a slew of hit singles -- including "Cherry, Cherry" (#6, 1966), "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" (#1o, 1967), "Sweet Caroline" (#4, 1969), "Holly Holy" (#6, 1969), and "Cracklin' Rosie" (#1, 1970) -- and turned into a fantastic live performer. In 1971, he played seven sold out dates at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, he returned a year later and added three more shows.