After a five-decade career, songwriter Neil Diamond decided to call it quits in 2018. But despite being kept off the stage by a debilitating illness, the “Solitary Man” singer felt the need for one last performance. And he decided to honor a few very special fans with a surprising comeback gig that summer.
With a name perfectly suited for stardom, Diamond seemed destined for big things. However, things weren’t so easy for this Brooklyn-born singer at first. After being dropped from his label in 1963, the star found work as a songwriter behind the scenes. And it wasn’t until “I’m a Believer” – which became a hit single for the Monkees in 1966 – that the star got his first taste of success.
Before penning a breakout single, though, Diamond went through a patch of near-poverty. Indeed, the experience helped him craft dark and brooding numbers like “Solitary Man.” Somewhat surprisingly, this somber change in direction was just what the singer’s career needed. And it resulted in Diamond’s first hit as a solo artist upon its 1966 release.