Like Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beatles and Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond’s music attracted a diverse audience. At times he was pure rock and roll’ while at times he could deliver an adult contemporary ballad that would cross over into Engelbert Humperdinck’s territory. From “Cherry, Cherry,” to “Love on the Rocks,” Neil Diamond songs knew no musical boundaries. In the end, Neil Diamond’s legacy defines a great singer, songwriter and performer with a unique voice and sound that compares to no one else.
Our 10 Top 10 Neil Diamond Songs list takes a look at some of the most iconic Neil Diamond songs with a few surprises thrown in to define that he was not just about the hits. Neil Diamond is one of the biggest selling musical artists of all time. Choosing only ten Neil Diamond songs from his vast catalog is no easy feat. The man had close to forty top charting singles throughout his career. That’s not counting all the great album tracks. As you go through this list you will undoubtedly say, “how could they have forgotten…. Well, we didn’t forget that song of yours, we just choose another great one instead. We love Neil Diamond and we know you do too.
# 10 – Dry Your Eyes
We open up our top 10 Neil Diamond songs list with a song you might not have heard. This is not one of those mega-selling Neil Diamond hits. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most beautiful and emotionally packed songs Neil Diamond has ever composed. The song “Dry Your Eyes,” was the closing track on Neil Diamond’s 1976 album Beautiful Noise. It’s our favorite Neil Diamond album. The record was also a favorite among critics and fans. The album was produced by Robbie Robertson of The Band. It’s a deep wonderful album that we would argue is Neil Diamond’s crowing artistic moment.
# 9 – Play Me
These Neil Diamond songs are so beautiful that we are almost at a loss for words in describing them. “Play Me,” is just one of those songs that fit that “too beautiful too describe,” category. The wonderful song was released on Neil Diamond’s album Moods. The record was released in 1972. “Play Me,” was released as a single from the album. The song reached the number eleven spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. The song has been covered by many artists including the legendary Irish rock band U2.
# 8 – Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon
There are so many great versions of the Neil Diamond song “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon.” Nonetheless, we will always love the original version best. “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” was originally released on Neil Diamond’s second album entitled Just For You. The album was released in 1967. It is a hard to find album as it was never released on CD. “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” was a top 10 hit for Neil Diamond in 1967. The song became popular once again in the 1990s when it was recorded by Urge Overkill for the Pulp Fiction Soundtrack.
# 7 – Cracklin’ Rosie
“Cracklin’ Rosie” was Neil Diamond’s first number one single. The song “Cracklin’ Rosie” was issued on the album Tap Root Manuscript. The album was released in 1970. The song “Cracklin’ Rosie” was the record’s opening track. It was released as a single and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It would be the first of three number one singles that Neil Diamond would celebrate throughout his magical career.
# 6 – Forever In Blue Jeans
We continue our Top 10 Neil Diamond Songs list with a song that stands as the most recent Neil Diamond song to make this list. The term recent may not be the best choice of words since the song was released in 1979, yet all the other songs on this Neil Diamond songs list were released at earlier time periods. Neil Diamond has continued to release great music since the 1970’s so we are not trying to sleight his later period. It’s just that he released so many incredible songs during his first ten years there was only so much room on this list for the great ones.
“Forever In Blue Jeans,” was released on Neil Diamond’s 1978 album You Don’t Bring Me Flowers. The song was released as the second single from the album after the mega selling duet with Barbra Streisand “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” The song “Forever In Blue Jeans,” reached the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 peaking at number twenty.
# 5 – I’m A Believer
One can not compose a top 10 Neil Diamond Songs list without including the monster hit “I’m A Believer.” The song became one of the band The Monkees biggest hits. The song became a number one hit for The Monkees in 1966. It also was the biggest selling song of 1967. Neil Diamond himself recorded the song multiple times.
Neil Diamond first released “I’m A Believer,” in 1967 on the album Just For You. Diamond re-recorded the song for his 1979 album September Morn. The song was also covered by the band Smash Mouth for the animated film Shrek. Once again the song was a major hit and introduced a very young audiences in the 2000s to the music of Neil Diamond.
# 4 – Solitary Man
The classic Neil Diamond song “Solitary Man,” comes in at the number four spot on our top 10 Neil Diamond songs list. “Solitary Man,” was Neil Diamond’s first single release of his career. Neil Diamond recorded the song for Bang Records in 1966. It was issued before the release of his first album entitled The Feel of Neil Diamond. The record company would include “Solitary Man,” on the album. The song has been covered by many artists over time. One of the most exceptional covers was done by the great Johnny Cash.
# 3 – Cherry Cherry
As we get closer to the number one spot on our top 10 Neil Diamond songs list we turn to one of Neil Diamond’s earliest and biggest hits. The great Neil Diamond song “Cherry Cherry,” was released in 1966 as a stand-alone single. It would become Neil Diamond’s first top 10 hit as the song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s three chord progression would be copied many times by various artists. For example, The Romantics used a very similar progression in their song “What I Like About You.” John Mellencamp also did the same with his song R.O.C.K. in The USA.
Six years after Neil Diamond enjoyed great success with this great song he would release a live version of the tune from his platinum selling album Hot August Night. The two record set live album was released in 1973.
# 2 – Sweet Caroline
Not listing “Sweet Caroline,” at the number one position on this top 10 Neil Diamond songs list was a hard decision to make. How could we not list “Sweet Caroline,” at number one since it is so easily argued that “Sweet Caroline,” is Neil Diamond’s most popular song. As we said ourselves in this article’s intro, “Sweet Caroline,” is a song that has become ingrained in popular culture on a massive level. It’s one of the most popular songs at all types of social gatherings. “Sweet Caroline,” is sung in many major league professional sports stadiums.
The song has become more popular than Neil Diamond himself. So why not number one? Well, because the next one was a song of such artistic achievement and beauty, we had to be true to ourselves. Nonetheless, there’s no denying the impact “Sweet Caroline,” has had on popular culture. It’s an impact that every artist hopes to achieve in their lifetime, but very few ever do.
# 1 – If You Know What I Mean
Every great musical artist has that one moment in their career where they compose a song of such brilliance that stands out among all their other great accomplishments. These are artists that have succeeded time and time again in releasing many great songs that enjoy both commercial and critical success. However, there is always that one song that causes everyone to stand back including the artist themselves, and say wow! Bruce Springsteen did it with “Born To Run,” Prince with “Purple Rain,” Queen with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Elton John with “Tiny Dancer,” the list goes on for all the great ones. For Neil Diamond, it was his masterpiece of a song, “If You Know What I Mean.”
This beautiful song “If You Know What I Mean,” was released on his greatest album Beautiful Noise. The album was released in 1976. There was something about the mid-1970s that fueled some of the greatest artistic achievements from so many legendary artists in both film, music and art. The reasons behind that are too deep to go into in this article. However, it should not be lost that Neil Diamond’s greatest musical moment in our opinion occured in the mid 1970’s.
Neil Diamond’s “If You Know What I Mean,” is a composition of flawless beauty. The song’s grandiose lyrics are wrapped in a melody that presents listeners with a cinematic story that easily embraces you on the very first listen. Neil Diamond’s ability to write a strong verse that leads into an even more dynamic chorus shines greater on “If You Know What I Mean,” than on any other song he has ever written.
More Great Neil Diamond Songs
We know there are so many great Neil Diamond songs that did not make this list that deserve to be mentioned. So here are the ones that we wish we could have included. These Neil Diamond songs are listed in chronological order.
Kentucky Woman (1967)
Red Red Wine (1968)
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show (1969)
Holly Holy (1969)
And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind (1970)
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (cover song) (1970)
I Am…I Said (1971)
Song Sung Blue (1972)
Longfellow Serenade (1974)
Beautiful Noise (1976)
Love On The Rocks (1980)
Headed for the Future (1986)
Tennessee Moon (1996)
If I Don’t See You Again (2008)
Something Blue (2014)
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