Preview: The Bang Years 1966-1968 - Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond: the Bang YearsArtist: Neil Diamond
Title: The Bang Years 1966-1968
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Format(s): CD, DD

In 1965, fledgling singer/songwriter Neil Diamond met Jeff Berry and Ellie Greenwich who took an interest in his career and had him signed to Bang Records.  Over the next three years, Diamond would write and record a number of classics that became hits both for him and other artists.

The Bang Years 1966-1968 compiles 23 of Diamonds recordings in their original mono from his time with the label.  Diamond has written extensive liner notes for the release.  From those notes:
"I realized that something was happening that had never happened before for me. My new songs contained something that none of my previous ones had…they contained me and my life at their core.... I had finally found, on the crossroads of desperation and opportunity, the understanding of what I needed to do to write truly affecting songs—I had only to be open and honest, dammit, about my own life and experiences and to stop trying to make up silly songs about made up people, situations and relationships for singers whose lives and feelings I knew nothing about.

"Solitary Man would be the first of many 'me' songs and that element along with the superb quality of my producers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, the great recording engineers Tom Dowd, Phil Ramone and Brooks Arthur (who never once allowed me to double my voice—they wanted the real Neil), the musicians (who were the best players in the world) and our arranger, Artie ("It's been a real 'pressure' working with you") Butler would make all the difference.

"Throw all those elements together and you had the beginnings of a Big Bang career that all finally came together in one explosive spiritual expression of creativity. When the dust of that first session settled, my first chart record Solitary Man was born and my life was forever changed. That day led to other days and other sessions and other spiritual moments which were all connected to my life and dreams." 
Diamond will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next month.

Track List:
  • Solitary Man (1966/#55-1970/#21)
  • Cherry Cherry (1966/#6)
  • Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon (1967/#10)
  • Kentucky Woman (1967/#22)
  • Thank the Lord for the Night Time (1967/#13)
  • You Got to Me (1967/#18)
  • I'm a Believer (1971/#51)
  • Red, Red Wine (1967/#62)
  • The Boat That I Row
  • Do It (1970/#36)
  • New Orleans  (1968/#51)
  • Monday, Monday
  • Red Rubber Ball
  • I'll Come Running
  • La Bamba
  • The Long Way Home
  • I've Got the Felling (Oh No No) (1966/#16)
  • You'll Forget
  • Love to Love
  • Someday Baby
  • Hanky Panky
  • The Time is Now
  • Shilo (1970/#24)

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