January 22, 2014 4:15pm PT by Billboard Staff
Capitol Records Signs Neil Diamond
This article first appeared on Billboard.com.
Billboard has learned that Capitol Music Group has signed legendary singer/songwriter Neil Diamond to its Capitol Records label. The deal will mark the first time Diamond’s entire catalog has been under one label.
The new deal is Diamond's second go-round at Universal, of which Capitol is a subsidiary, and where he was signed from the late 1960s to the early '70s to its MCA label. Diamond, until this deal, had been signed since the early '70s to Columbia and before that recorded for Bang Records from 1966-68, which was then under the Atlantic umbrella. Now, his entire back catalog will be housed under one label.
Capitol Music Group chairman and CEO Steve Barnett and Universal Music Group chairman CEO Lucian Grainge were instrumental in orchestrating the deal with Diamond and his manager Katie Diamond (his wife). Barnett worked closely with Diamond when he was at Columbia and will personally oversee Diamond’s future projects at Capitol.
Diamond, 72, is writing new material and slated to begin recording this year. His new team and Universal Music Enterprises is formulating a strategy to release his extensive back catalog.
Having sold more than 128 million records during the course of his storied career, Diamond is a Grammy Award-winning artist and member of both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame. He also is a recipient of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors bestowed upon songwriters. Diamond has garnered a Golden Globe Award and 13 Grammy nominations and received the 2009 NARAS MusiCares Person of the Year Award. In 2011, he also collected the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime of contributions to American culture.
In 2012, Diamond received Billboard's Legend of Live honors at Billboard's Touring Awards. Showing his humility at the ceremony, Diamond read the entirety of his first-ever newspaper concert review, a largely scathing piece in the Los Angeles Times of his performance at The Hullabaloo in 1966. The review concluded by saying, "His personal appearance at the Hullabaloo is sadly lacking in the evident talent that sparks his songs and records," which resulted in uproarious laughter from the crowd. Diamond noted that he had kept the review in his dressing room for the past 45 years to motivate him.
Since his Billboard 200 chart debut in 1966 with The Feel of Neil Diamond, he has charted 51 albums, including 17 top 10 efforts. He most recently hit the top 10 with his last studio release, 2010's Dreams. It debuted and peaked at No. 8, marking his 17th top-10 album. It was the singer's fourth top-10 set since 2005, when 12 Songs began his recent hot streak with a No. 4 entry. Since then, he's also notched top 10s with Home Before Dark (his first No. 1 album, in 2008) and Hot August Night/NYC (No. 2 in 2009). He's notably claimed a top 10 album in every decade since the 1970s.
In terms of hit singles, he's logged 53 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, with 13 of those reaching the top 10. He's achieved No. 1s with "Cracklin' Rosie," "Song Sung Blue" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (with Barbra Streisand).
He's also certified as having sold 48.5 million albums in the U.S., according to the RIAA, making him the ninth-largest selling male solo artist in history.
On Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, Diamond is one of the most accomplished acts in the list's 52-year history. His 58 entries trail only Elton John's 69 hits and Streisand's 64. Eight of Diamond's AC hits have gone to No. 1.