Song sung 'Hoo, Neil's comin' to the JPJ
In the 1991 movie What About Bob?, Bill Murray's title character famously declared, "There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't." Charlottesville is about to find out who's who.
The "Solitary Man" himself announced today that he will be coming to John Paul Jones Arena on Monday, December 8. The arena has yet to announce when tickets go on sale or how much they will cost.
Though Diamond has sold 120 million copies of his albums worldwide to date, back in the '60s it didn't seem as though he would make a living as a performer. Rather, Diamond worked as a songwriter in New York's legendary Brill Building alongside the likes of Carole King, Burt Bacharach, and Neil Sedaka. The music world took notice of Diamond in a big way when the Monkees' version of his "I'm A Believer" sold 2 million copies in its first two days of release, and would go on to be the best-selling single of 1967.
It wasn't long before Diamondproved he could sell some vinyl as a performer in his own right. Beginning with 1969's "Sweet Caroline," Diamond reeled off a string of top 10 singles throughout the '70s and '80s that can still be heard on any oldies station, including "Holly Holy," "Cracklin' Rosie," "I Am... I Said," "Song Sung Blue," "Longfellow Serenade," "Love on the Rocks," "America," and "Heartlight."
Though he hadn't recorded a charting single since 1986, every few years since then, Diamond has experienced something of a renaissance as his music continues to pop up in unexpected places. It began in 1994, when the band Urge Overkill covered his "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" for Uma Thurman's famous overdose scene in Pulp Fiction.
In 2001, Hollywood came calling again when Jack Black, Jason Biggs, and Amanda Peet starred in Saving Silverman, a comedy about a man torn between his fianc©e and his Neil Diamond cover band. In 2002, "Sweet Caroline" gained newfound popularity when the Boston Red Sox began playing it at every home game in the middle of the eighth inning.
The new millenium has been kind to Diamond thus far. In 2005, his album 12 Songs reached #4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, his first to crack the top 10 since the soundtrack to his 1980 cinematic remake of The Jazz Singer. Finally, this year, his latest release Home Before Dark claimed the #1 spot on the albums chart. It is Diamond's first #1 album, and at 67 he's the oldest performer to ever reach the top spot.