50th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION BOX SET


I have been going back and forth in my mind about this release, and I am curious about everyone else’s thoughts about it.

My viewpoint is mine and this post is not directed at Neil in any way. While some may see it to be a negative, I am not writing it to come off that way.

Over the years we have seen the following albums: CLASSICS: THE EARLY YEARS, GREATEST HITS, GREATEST HITS; VOLUME 2, THE ESSENTIAL NEIL DIAMOND, THE 50th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION, NEIL DIAMOND ICON, GREATEST HITS, GLORY ROAD: THE GREATEST HITS 1966 – 1972, NEIL DIAMOND: GREATEST HITS 1966 – 1992, NEIL DIAMOND 32 ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS, and IN MY LIFETIME.

I will discuss the latter in a moment. Two others — the ICON disc and 32 Greatest Hits disc may not be official releases by Columbia or Capitol, but they are still Neil Diamond hits compilations. IN MY LIFETIME is unique in that it has a few songs never before issued on an album.

Now to THE 50th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION BOX SET. While it looks like a very nicely put together collection, I am going to be passing on purchasing it. Capitol Records is an iconic company with its pulse on the American music landscape for decades. But, here is where I have to speak up.

With exception to the two demos and the 6th disc of new songs, like IN MY LIFETIME before it, this is another hits album. And for the $99.00 + tax price point, I feel, sadly, that this move by Capitol is just another way to the wallets of Neil’s fans.

Some will gladly pay for this release just to get the nice book and the new songs. I hope you enjoy, which is what Capitol Records is certainly counting on.

But, where I wish Capitol would have gone with this one, would have just been to release disc #6 under the title; NEIL DIAMOND: MIDNIGHT RIDER or something else, add the two demos as bonus tracks, and give a more attractive price point of $14.99.

Do I really need another Greatest Hits collection with 12 new songs and 2 demos in my collection? The answer of course, is no. As for the book, it’s a nice concept idea, but I think a better option would have been to serve it up as a stand-alone book in a bookstore or on Amazon, and make it CD-free.

Just my opinion. Take it for what it may or may not be worth to you everyone. I love Neil. His music has saved my life. But, I cannot buy this and add another Greatest Hits anthology to my Neil Diamond collection.

For those who do pick it up, enjoy it. I do think this however, a better option for people who are just discovering Neil’s music for the first time and want to buy his best songs.

Enjoy everyone!

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This article has 5 Comments

  1. Each to their own, but I've ordered it

    I partly see your points. But, for me, the joy of being able to see the produced booklet and images, to gain an insight even further into one of my musical heros is worth it.

    The booklets of some of the albums and collections together make an autobiography of Neil. Along with the images, there is much to enjoy apart from the music. The curation of these, is, for me, part of the thing to enjoy.

    That having been said, I have not been overwhelmed by the way Neils catalogue is being handled. For instance, some of the remastering of certain material – it can sometimes sound too compressed. I find that how good the drumming, bass and rhythm section sound is often a part of what makes me consider whether I have a good recorded version. Some remasters loose the warmth and body of drums, especially if they are too compressed.

    In assessing the many official recordings I have of Neil, I often focus on the bass and rhythm sound closely to ascertain for myself whether the track sounds good to me. In many cases, remarkably, the original produced tracks are superb. Sometimes the re-releases lack some of that wholesomeness. Thus, some of my earlier CDs (i.e those early 80s presses) have brilliant sound, and, indeed, in the main, have the best version to my ears of the songs I love.

    But, a compilation for me is a little like a point in time snapshot overview of an artist. I am always, maybe naively, hoping the next comp will be even better than previous ones. Each has its flaws, but is sometimes more interesting because of it. I do not regret, ever, ever, ever, buying any of the compilations, even though I have the songs many times over either in their original albums or on other comps.

    On my iTunes, for instance, I have over 15 studio copies of the song Play Me – some identical, some slightly different. But where they came from is all part of the fun of it for me. One of the best versions is on a crappy old german CD I picked up in a charity shop for a few pence, but it sounds full, rounded and like somebody could be bothered making the remastering good. (An old Moods CD pressed in Japan is the reference point for the quality, and that comp is almost as good).

    The Greatest Hits double album has some of the best recordings of Neil, nicely balanced, (and some less than brilliant re-recordings because of licensing issues at the time). More recently, the multiple labels issue has been solved in the main and these people have supposed access to as wide a range of Neil’s stuff as is available.

    I’ve got slightly nerdy about it in fact but, whilst I admit that I may be fooling myself, but, I’m enjoying it while I can. I already have the 50th Anniversary set, and this new Collector’s edition is, as the title suggests, for the diehard fools like me who simply extract joy out of the whole thing. It is, maybe, the set that *should* have been released for the 5oth, as there are plenty of other comps Diamond virgins could try.

    When they finally get round to an entire, proper Neil Diamond Box set (why is there not a Columbia era set of everything already?) I probably would buy that, even though I already have everything. But it is my hero NEIL and, now, in the absence of being able to see him again in concert, this is part of my therapy.

    I’ve just checked and I have over 1400 Neil tracks on my computer (and all of these ripped from their respective CDs and sets, which I have 77 of)… (I’ve got all the LPs as well) …thinking about it, perhaps I do need help! Mind you, I am sure I am not alone here…

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  2. I agree

    I would happily buy the book and stream the songs but the oversupply of greatest hits compilations is getting a bit out of hand. It’s almost every year now a new compilation is released and each one is touted as being unique. I wish Capital had been daring enough to do a ‘vault’ album of unreleased songs only.

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  3. I agree about releasing a single album of unreleased music

    Look at Bruce Springsteen-most of his recent albums have been just that.Midnight Rider is a great title.

    Also more unreleased songs should be added to make it a full length album.Like “We’re Doin’ It”

    and “Listen” and perhaps the unreleased “Motown” duet with Diana Ross & “Positive Vibes”

     

     

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  4. Record Companies have a method of extracting cash from us................

    They will never put a full product out with nothing more than unreleased material as this will only ever be used as bait over a long period of time. If it was to be brought out in one big hit then they’d never ever sell anything after that again.

     

    Record companies like to create dependency upon themselves, without it they don’t have any income and might as well shut their doors for good.

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  5. The Beatles Too!!

    I was looking at the amazon site for the Beatles and I’ve noticed that they released a lot of their albums with alternate takes  plus other rare stuff as box sets, either with 6 CD’s plus a blu-ray disc or less. But it’s more $$$.

     

    Neil’s not the only one.  I guess Capitol Records needs $$$ or something else.

     

    Bill

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