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Neil Diamond had a truly golden career that has landed the legend in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame for countless great reasons. With more than 100 million records sold worldwide and more than enough universal praises that started early from the 60s and well into the modern era, he is a figure like no other in music. But, for all the glory the man's career has seen, why did he decide to retire in the middle of a legacy tour? The reason broke hearts all over the world.
The Brooklyn-born multi-genre musical icon has seen a sensational career quite like nothing else. From a plethora of awards and several legacy accolades, he's had a career that started rough but reached incredible heights. It was in 1962 that it all kicked off for him when signing to Columbia Records. It was then that something out of this world was on the way for him, and the rest of the music too.
Despite an almost inevitable level of success thanks to his gifts on the guitar and his incredible songwriting ability, Diamond's career didn't kick off at the top of the charts immediately. His first singles, 'Clown Town' and 'Cashbox,' received excellent reviews but didn't pop on the charts the way he or the record had anticipated. Despite this, he kept at it until something great would come his way.
Columbia dropped him from the label basically as soon as they had picked him up. Any other artists who didn't have gifts as great as his would've thrown in the towel, but, Neil kept at it for up to seven years after his fallout with Columbia. Eventually, something was bound to come his way.
Diamond was both a nomad and an artist at this point in his life. In the seven years he spent following the end of his time with Columbia, Neil wrote thoughtful songs on buses and used an upright piano above the Birdland Club in New York City in a world that was looking for hooks and jingles. This allowed him to only sell a song a week and live on 35c worth of food every day. Neil's audacity to be different was what led to his inspired career, but, it took some time to get there.
It wasn't until around 1965 and 1966 that Diamond found success as a songwriter with top hits that dominated the charts. Most notably, 'Sund and Me', 'I'm a Believer', 'A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You', 'Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)', and 'Love to Love' put him on the map as a reputable musician capable of producing gem after gem. This consistency led to his second stint under a recognized music label.
He then signed on to Bang Records but the appeal of the deal soon wilted when he began making the records he was told to make rather than the ones he truly wanted to make himself. He eventually let the relationship go before finding himself signed to UNI records (now known as Universal Records). This brought on a change to his life as Diamond made a massive life choice.
The 70s were the era that kicked off the future legend's career. He then moved from his homeland in Brooklyn, New York, and he subsequently pursued a life as a musician in LA. By no stretch of the imagination was this the easier choice, but, it led to the fortune he thoroughly deserved.
With his arrival in Los Angeles came a series of dreams. He was finally allowed to affirm his sound. He wrote far more mellow music that found its audience. Neil found success with songs such as 'Sweet Caroline' which was his first major hit in the limelight. Follow-ups such as, 'Cracklin' Rosie' and 'Song Sung Blue' peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which announced Neil's arrival not just in LA, but on the music scene as a whole. He knew that he had to push for more success as this didn't guarantee anything.
The remainder of the 70s and the 80s became the decades that cemented Diamond's legacy. From albums and live concerts, Diamond's prominence was phenomenal as anything else ever witnessed. In the 2000s, he began receiving several honors for his imperial career that had spanned over 50 years of greatness. Diamond was still on tour and doing several shows well into the 2010s thanks to his loyal fanbase. But, it was late in the 2010s that the icon had to bring things to an abrupt close.
Diamond, who had been doing dozens of shows a year over 50 years in the game was never concerned with age as being the thing that would inevitably slow him down. He was as passionate about music in the 2010s as he was in the 60s and showed no signs of slowing down until he had no other option.
A case for his was Diamond's '50 Year Anniversary World Tour' which took place across Australia and New Zealand. He was still on tour down under before he suddenly had to cancel all subsequent dates due to severe health issues that hindered him from performing.
In cases where health issues stop a tour, it's mostly due to fever, surgeries, or immediate emergencies that force the tour dates and performances to be postponed. For not only a tour to be canceled but for the artist to retire, the issue had to have been incredibly severe...in Neil's case, it was.
Media all over the globe began to speculate as to what had brought Neil to an abrupt retirement. As far as the whole world knew, it was purely health reasons but the lack of information brought on wild speculations that were heinous and unfounded. In 2018, Neil and his team stepped up to announce the reasons for retirement, and this brought the whole music world was brought to a standstill.
Diamond announced that he was diagnosed with a disease and that he would need to focus on his health before being able to capably perform at the level that he had always been able to for several decades. Despite this, Diamond had not called it quits, as we know, he was never one to give in to anything when it came to his love of music.
Following the frantic and heartbreaking news, it was announced on his official website that he was not retiring from music and that the cancellation of the live performances would allow him to "continue his writing, recording, and development of new projects.", which is exactly the kind of response you expect from such a legend.
Since then, Diamond has continued to cope with his unfortunate disease and has made sporadic appearances in public since then. Despite this, the man had already long-established his status as one of the greatest artists who's ever lived, and he continues to do so happily and freely despite a challenging condition.
⚠︎ Medical Disclamer
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