Classic Diamonds: That’s how Neil Diamond is billing his new collection of recordings with The London Symphony Orchestra. Due on November 20 from Capitol Records, Classic Diamonds features the singer-songwriter’s new recordings of 13 beloved hits. Unlike many previous artists’ releases with symphony orchestras, Neil’s collection features newly-recorded vocals as well as the orchestrations.
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London as well as Diamond’s own California studio, the album has been produced by Walter Afanasieff and arranged by Afanasieff and conductor-arranger William Ross. The songs on Classic Diamonds span the Bang era (“I’m a Believer”), the Uni years (“Song Sung Blue,” “Holly Holy,” “Play Me,” “I Am…I Said,” “Sweet Caroline”), and his four decades at Columbia Records (“Beautiful Noise,” “September Morn,” “I’ve Been This Way Before,” the solo “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”) as well as three songs from the 1980 multi-platinum Capitol soundtrack to The Jazz Singer (“America,” “Love on the Rocks,” “Hello Again”).
The first single from Classic Diamonds, available now for streaming everywhere or viewing on YouTube, is the new reinvention of Diamond, Burt Bacharach, and Carole Bayer Sager’s “Heartlight.” Originally recorded for the 1982 Columbia album of the same name and inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the heartwarming ballad was a top five hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a chart-topper on the Adult Contemporary survey.
Capitol Records chairman and CEO Steve Barnett comments in the press materials, “Neil Diamond is simply one of the most important vocalists and songwriters in the history of popular music, and this majestic new album shines a beautiful spotlight on some of his greatest works.” While Diamond was forced to leave the road as a result of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, he’s forged ahead writing, recording, and making special musical appearances including a humorous, COVID-appropriate PSA for “hands, washing hands” to the tune of “Sweet Caroline.”
Classic Diamonds will be released by Capitol Records on November 20 on CD, vinyl, and streaming/digital formats. You’ll find the track listing and pre-order links below.
Neil Diamond with The London Symphony Orchestra, Classic Diamonds (Capitol, 2020)
- Beautiful Noise
- Hello Again
- I Am…I Said
- I’m a Believer
- Song Sung Blue
- September Morn
- Holly Holy
- You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
- Play Me
- Love on the Rocks
- I’ve Been This Way Before
- Sweet Caroline