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Neil Diamond was paid $1 million to take the stage in the inaugural concert at Stockton, California’s new arena on this date in 2006. The concert — in a city that has a non-Hispanic white population of under 25 percent — lost nearly $400,000 and helped to bankrupt the city by 2012. (The arena lost an additional $2.1 million in 2007 and a total of $7 million by 2009.) Despite his failure to sell out the arena, however, Neil Diamond (born 1941) has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him the third most successful ‘adult contemporary’ musician on the Billboard charts behind Elton John and Barbra Streisand. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Among the songs he’s written and turned into huge hits (which I turn off as soon as I hear his voice) are “Sweet Caroline;” “Cracklin’ Rose;” “Cherry, Cherry;” “Song Sung Blue;” “I’m a Believer;” and “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.” To see him in a 1971 BBC Concert, look below.
“There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him.” —What About Bob?, screenplay by Tom Schulman