Singer, songwriter, and musician Neil Diamond was born in New York on January 24, 1941. He began his career in the music industry in 1962. Diamond is one of the best-selling artists of all time as he has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, including 49.5 million albums in the United States. The singer has had 38 songs in the top ten on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts and ten singles that have topped the Billboard Hot 100. Since his career began, Neil Diamond has released 32 studio albums, 35 compilation albums, eight live albums, two soundtrack albums, and 94 singles. Here are the 20 best Neil Diamond studio albums.
20. Touching You, Touching Me (1969)
‘Touching You, Touching Me’ was Neil Diamond’s fifth studio album and his last of the 1960s. Its highest album chart position was number nine in Australia, and it reached number 21 in Canada and number 30 in the United States. The title for the album comes from the lyrics of Diamond’s hit song ‘Sweet Caroline,’ although the song was not included on the US version of the album and featured only on the UK version. The two hits from this album were ‘Holly Holy’ and ‘Until It’s Time for You to Go.’
19. Headed for the Future (1986)
‘Headed for the Future’ was Diamond’s fourth studio album of the 1980s and his seventeenth studio album overall. In the United States, this album reached number 20 on the Billboard 200. Neil Diamond co-wrote seven of the ten tracks on the album. The title track reached the top ten on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and the single ‘The Story of My Life’ peaked at number 11.
18. On the Way to the Sky (1981)
‘On the Way to the Sky’ was Neil Diamond’s fourteenth studio album and his first of the 1980s. In the United States, the album peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200. However, it did better elsewhere in the world, as it reached number 12 in Australia and number 11 in New Zealand. The album’s title track was one of the three singles released from the album, and the others were ‘Yesterday’s Songs’ and ‘Be Mine Tonight.’
17. Tennessee Moon (1996)
‘Tennessee Moon’ was most successful in Australia, where it reached number two on the album charts. It peaked at number 14 in the United States, number 12 in the UK, and number 13 in New Zealand. The album was Diamond’s twenty-third studio album, and Diamond wrote in collaboration with various country music songwriters. Therefore, many of the songs on the album have a country feel. To accompany the album’s release, there was a television special called ‘Under a Tennessee Moon’.
16. The Christmas Album (1992)
Like many successful artists, Neil Diamond has released Christmas singles and albums throughout his career. His best Christmas effort was the 1992 album ‘The Christmas Album,’ which reached number eight on the Billboard 200. It was Diamond’s first album to feature Christmas music and his twentieth studio album overall. The album is the twenty-fifth best-selling Christmas album of all time. Two years later, Diamond released the follow-up album ‘The Christmas Album, Volume II,’ although this was not as successful as the original.
15. Heartlight (1982)
Neil Diamond’s fifteenth studio album was ‘Heartlight,’ which was certified Platinum in the United States. It was a top ten hit in both the United States and Australia, and it peaked at 13 in Canada. The title track from the album reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, and the other singles released from this album were ‘I’m Alive’ and ‘Front Page Story.’ Many of the tracks on this album were co-written by Diamond, Burt Bacharach, and Carole Bayer Sager.
14. September Morn (1979)
Diamond’s thirteenth studio album was ‘September Morn,’ which was the final album he released in the 1970s. In the United States, the album reached number 10 on the Billboard 200, and it was certified Platinum. The album’s title track reached number two on the Adult Contemporary chart and number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also featured a remake of ‘I’m a Believer’ and a cover version of ‘Dancing in the Street.’
13. I’m Glad You’re Here with Me Tonight (1977)
Although ‘I’m Glad You’re Here with Me Tonight’ only reached number six in the United States, it topped the album charts in New Zealand. It contains a solo version of the song ‘You Don’t Leave Me Flowers’ that he later released as a duet with Barbara Streisand. Diamond topped the album charts in New Zealand for a second time with the release of this album, and it reached number six in the United States.
12. Melody Road (2014)
‘Melody Road’ was Neil Diamond’s thirty-second studio album. It reached number three on the Billboard 200, and it was a top ten hit in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK. In the UK and Australia, the album was certified Gold. When Diamond released this album, it was his first to contain original music for six years. At the time, Diamond had been recording with Colombia for 40 years, but he signed with Capitol Records, and ‘Melody Road’ was his first album with his new record label. Most of the songs on the album are mid-tempo ballads, and one of the most commercially successful songs on the album was ‘Something Blue.’ The album contains 12 songs, with two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition.
11. 12 Songs (2005)
The working title of ’12 Songs’ was ‘Neil Diamond,’ and the name reflects the content of the album. However, the special edition of the album has fourteen tracks, and one of the two bonus tracks features Brian Wilson. Diamond began working on this album just after completing his Three Chord Opera tour in 2002. Most of his songwriting for the album took place while he was snowed in at his Colorado cabin. Diamond then met Rick Rueben, who expressed an interest in them working together to produce the album. The resulting album was one of Diamond’s most successful releases in years, and it peaked at number four on the Billboard 200.
10. Just for You (1967)
Neil Diamond’s second studio album was ‘Just for You,’ which he released in 1967. It has only ever been released as an LP and never modernized to a CD. However, all but two of the tracks featured on the compilation s ‘Classics: The Early Years’ and ‘The Bang Years 1966-1968.’ All the tracks have also been released as a single or as a B-side to a single. Some of the album’s biggest hits were ‘Cherry Cherry,’ ‘You Got Me,’ ‘Red Red Wine,’ ‘Shilo,’ ‘Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon,’ and ‘Thank the Lord for the Night Time.’
9. Up on the Roof: Songs from the Brill Building (1993)
Best Ever Albums lists ‘Up on the Roof: Songs from the Brill Building’ as one of the best Neil Diamond albums. It was his twenty-first studio album, and it reached number 28 on the charts in both the UK and the United States. One of the best songs on the album is ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,’ which he performed as a duet with Dolly Parton. It is not the only duet on the album, as Diamond also performs ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’ with Mary Danish.
8. Home Before Dark (2008)
Despite being 67-years-old when he recorded this album, Diamond proved that he still had what it takes to appeal to listeners across several generations. He also became the oldest performer to have a number one record. ‘Home Before Dark’ was Neil Diamond’s seventh studio album, and it topped the album charts in the United States, New Zealand, and the UK. The album was also a top ten hit in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
7. Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show (1969)
In total, 26 versions of this album were released. The original had only 12 tracks, but later versions had the song ‘Sweet Caroline’ added to the playlist. It was Diamond’s fourth studio album, and all the tracks on the album were written by Diamond. Although it was put together faster than any other Neil Diamond album, it was positively received by critics.
6. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (1978)
Neil Diamond had recorded the title track from this album for his previous album as a solo. He then recorded another version as a duet with Barbara Streisand for this album, and the single topped the Billboard Hot 100. The other single released from the album was ‘Forever in Blue Jeans.’ ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ was Diamond’s twelfth album, and it reached number four on the Billboard 200.
5. Serenade (1974)
Diamond’s ninth studio album was ‘Serenade,’ which he released in 1974. It was most successful in Australia and Germany, where it topped the album charts in both countries. The album reached number two in Canada and number three in the United States, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. In the United States, this album was certified Platinum, making it Diamond’s third consecutive album to achieve this certification. The album spawned the singles’ Longfellow, Serenade,’ ‘I’ve Been This Way Before,’ and ‘The Last Picasso.’
4. Tap Root Manuscript (1970)
‘ Tap Root Manuscript’ was a move away from his previous style of work, and the content was completely original. It is one of Diamond’s most creative works, which is what makes it one of his best. The album was Diamond’s first of the 1970s, and it reached number 13 on the album charts in both the United States and Canada. It was released as an LP with a theme for each side. The first side contained five pop songs. On the other side, there was a trilogy of African-themed songs. Diamond released the singles’ Cracklin’ Rosie’ and ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ from this album.
3. Beautiful Noise (1976)
There is a combination of emotional songs, upbeat rockers, and tracks with a gospel influence on this album. The previous album, ‘Serenade,’ received some criticism for containing songs that were too similar to his previous work. However, critics believed the content was significantly better in ‘Beautiful Noise.’ It topped the album charts in Australia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand but only reached number four in the United States, where it was certified Platinum.
2. Moods (1972)
Two of the hits songs from this album were ‘Song Blue’ and ‘Play Me,’ both of which have been on Diamond’s playlist for live tours ever since. The content varies from playful and catchy to intelligent and sentimental. It was Neil Diamond’s eighth studio album, and it was a top ten hit in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. One of the tracks on the album was ‘Song Sung Blue,’ which was Diamond’s second number-one single. The second single released from the album was ‘Play Me.’
1. Stones (1971)
According to Return of Rock, the best Neil Diamond album was ‘Stones.’ Diamond once described his music as theatrical pop, and this is a perfect description for the type of music showcased on the album. It was certified Gold in the United States, where it peaked at number 11 on the Billboard 200. From this album, Diamond released the single ‘Crunchy Granola Suite,’ which Diamond wrote.