Born Neil Leslie Diamond January 24, 1941 in New York City, this "Jewish Elvis" has been writing and singing hits since the 1960s. With Neil Diamond's continued success through five decades, his net worth is now estimated at $175 million. Diamond got his start in singing at Erasmus Hall high school, singing in the school choir alongside Barbra Streisand. Although he went to NYU to pursue medicine, during his senior year he began his career in music writing songs for $50 a week for a music publishing company.
After a slew of failed singles on Columbia Records, Diamond returned to songwriting at the Brill Building, and topped the charts for Jay and the Americans and the Monkees, with his first great successes with "I'm a Believer" as the most popular song of the year in 1966. Diamond also composed songs for the famed Elvis Presley. Neil Diamond gave his solo career another try in 1966, signing with Bang Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, and began with hits such as "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," and "Kentucky Woman." He moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and recorded "Sweet Caroline," then hit the touring circuit. In 1972 he released a double live album Hot August Night, which was remastered in 2000 and deemed the best Neil Diamond record to date.
Neil Diamond returned to Columbia Records in 1973, signing a new 'million dollar advance per album' contract. His song "America" was the theme to the 1988 presidential campaign, and the reggae ballad "Red, Red Wine" topped the singles charts that same year, and would remain a classic for years to come. Diamond continues to tour and record, and artists such as Johnny Cash, Smash mouth, and the Finnish band HIM have covered his songs. Diamond also released a tour documentary in August of 2009, which aired on CBS, and was released on DVD only to sell out at many locations across the world.