Neil Diamond has been one of the greatest American songwriters since the 1960s. Can anyone resist bomping along to Sweet Caroline??? In 2018 Capitol Records released his latest concert Hot August Night III, during the 40th anniversary of his blockbuster original from The Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Our 5-Pack of his hits include lessons on Solitary Man, Song Sung Blue, Forever In Blue Jeans, I'm A Believer (made famous by The Monkees), and of course, Sweet Caroline.
Lesson 1: Forever In Blue Jeans - Neil Diamond - Guitar Lesson
Forever In Blue Jeans is a song Neil Diamond wrote with long-time guitarist Richard Bennett, who probably came up with the opening fingerpicking part that Neil added lyrics to.
This lesson covers a basic way to play the accompaniment, adding in a few embellishments based on the orchestration, as well as a detailed look at the catchy intro.
Lesson 2: Solitary Man Guitar Lesson - Neil Diamond
Solitary Man was Neil Diamond's first solo hit, released in 1966, although it was rereleased in 1970 and had better chart success. The song uses the five open chords in the key of G and the basic folk strum.
Lesson 3: Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond - Guitar Lesson
In 1972 Neil Diamond’s album Moods included Song Sung Blue, his second #1 hit in the US following Cracklin’ Rosie. The song is unusual in its simplicity, only one section, two verses and a very basic progression.
This lesson includes a strumming version, pretty much the way Diamond plays it, as well as guitar transcriptions of the intro, originally done on electric piano, and a short solo for fingerpicking guitar.
Lesson 4: Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond - Guitar Lesson
Sweet Caroline is one of the greatest sing-a-long songs of all time. It was released as a single in 1969 then subsequently added to Neil Diamond’s album of the day, Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, as an afterthought.
This lesson goes over the chord progression and shows a relatively easy way to play it in the key of A, as well as a more embellished version bringing in many of the other instruments’ parts. It also covers different voicings of common chords and barres from families other than E and A.
Lesson 5: I’m A Believer - Neil Diamond - Guitar Lesson
As sometimes happens, great songs can be better remembered by bigger covers than the original. I’m A Believer was an average Neil Diamond song (which still means better than 90% of what else was out there at the time) that will go down in history as one of the best tunes The Monkees did.
Their arrangement, which was pretty close to Neil’s with a little more emphasis on the organ part and killer vocals by Mickey Dolenz, put I’m A Believer in legendary status. This lesson has an ear-training component, goes through both versions, in different keys, and incorporates the organ lick into the strumming as well.