Neil Diamond is one of the most iconic musicians and has been in the industry since the 1960s. The “Sweet Caroline” singer has spent a lot of his life in the spotlight; however, there are still some facts that many people do not know about him. With that in mind, here PPcorn presents a list of 15 facts you probably didn’t know about Neil Diamond.
Number Fifteen: “Sweet Caroline” Is About a First Daughter
In 2007, Diamond admitted that arguably his most famous hit is about Caroline Kennedy. Diamond wrote the song after he saw the 11-year-old on the cover of Life Magazine wearing an equestrian outfit. Caroline Kennedy is the daughter of late former president JFK.
Number Fourteen: He Went to High School With Barbra Streisand
Diamond and Streisand recorded “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” together, but did you know they have another connection in common? They both attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, and they also both sang in the choir though they were not close friends.
Number Thirteen: He Can Fence
It’s no secret that Diamond is a skilled musician, but he can also fence. He even won a fencing scholarship to New York University, and in 1960 he was part of their championship team. He eventually left NYU to pursue music, although he received an honorary degree from them in 2003.
Number Twelve: He Played a Pretty Polarizing Role
Diamond played the character of Jess Robin in 1980’s The Jazz Singer. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance, but he also received a “Worst Actor” Golden Raspberry Award!
Number Eleven: He Does Not Like Writing Songs
Though Diamond is a brilliant songwriter, he doesn’t actually enjoy the practice. He has even gone so far as to say that he absolutely hates it.
Number Ten: He Has Been Covered by Many Famous Artists
Just some artists who have covered Diamond’s songs include Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Lulu. Impressive!
Number Nine: He Has Sold More Than 125 Million Records
This is impressive in and of itself, but he may be an even more accomplished songwriter. Even though he hates writing songs, he has made a living of it, and he even wrote “I’m a Believer,” which was made famous by The Monkees.
Number Eight: He Is a Musical Legend
Diamond has received a phenomenal 11 Grammy nominations, and he has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Number Seven: He Waited 42 Years Before One of His Albums Hit Number One
Diamond’s 2008 album, Home Before Dark, was the first of his to hit the number one spot on Billboard. Amazingly, it hit number one 42 years after the start of his career. He has released a total of 32 albums throughout his career.
Number Six: He Wanted to Be a Biologist
In a 2003 interview, Diamond admitted that he wanted to pursue medicine before he began his career as a musician. He was inspired to study medicine when he lost his grandmother to cancer. However, his path changed when he got a songwriting deal while at NYU.
Number Five: His First Number One Single Was “Cracklin’ Rosie”
Diamond earned his first number one single in 1970, with his hit, “Cracklin’ Rosie.” While he had racked up a number of hits before “Cracklin’ Rosie,” none of them made it to the number one slot.
Number Four: His Soundtrack for a Movie Was Bigger Than the Movie Itself
Diamond penned the soundtrack for 1973’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The soundtrack actually made more money than the movie!
Number Three: He Almost Said No to Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino wanted to use “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman, Soon” for that iconic scene in Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman lip syncs. However, it took a lot of convincing before Diamond agreed to let him use it.
Number Two: He Had One of the Most Expensive Divorces in History
Diamond had to pay $150 million as part of a divorce settlement with ex-wife Marcia Murphey. This is one of the most expensive divorces in history.
Number One: He Almost Wasn’t Neil Diamond
Diamond was considering the names “Ice Charry” and “Noah Kaminsky” for his stage names before he decided on Neil Diamond. We’re glad he stuck with his own name.