Diamond signs with Azoff

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Neil Diamond has signed with Irving Azoff for management.

Sources tell Billboard.biz that Diamond is currently in the studio recording his next album with producer Rick Rubin, who collaborated on Diamond's 2005 offering "12 Songs" (Columbia Records). That album has sold 563,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"I'm very happy and excited about my new management association with Irving Azoff," Diamond, who previously had no manager, said in a statement.

Along with Diamond, Azoff's management client roster includes Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Seal, Van Halen, Smashing Pumpkins, Velvet Revolver, Godsmack and Earth, Wind & Fire, among others.

"Neil has always been, and continues to be, one of the most important recording and touring artists our business has ever known. I am honored that Neil has placed his trust in me," Azoff said in a statement.

Along with recording music, Diamond has been touring since the mid-1960s. The singer/songwriter has never been more successful as a touring act than in this decade. The combined gross of Diamond's 2001, 2002 and 2005 world tours is a staggering $168,010,354, according to Billboard Boxscore. The attendance for the 203 shows on those tours was 2,726,480.

Sal Bonafede, who passed away earlier this year at 74, was Diamond's tour director for more than three decades. For last several years, Bonafede produced Diamond's tours in partnership with Jeff Apregan.
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