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The Bang Years: 1966-1968

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For Neil Diamond, it’s always started with a song. Over the course of his astonishing career, Neil has sold more than 128 million albums worldwide. He’s charted 56 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, including 12 top 10 hits, and has released 16 Top 10 albums. He’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2011, he was honored by the ... Read more in Amazon's Neil Diamond Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 8, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B004JST2BC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,780 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Solitary Man
2. Cherry Cherry
3. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon
4. Kentucky Woman
5. Thank The Lord For The Night Time
6. You Got To Me
7. I'm A Believer
8. Red Red Wine
9. The Boat That I Row
10. Do It
11. New Orleans
12. Monday Monday
13. Red Rubber Ball
14. I'll Come Running
15. La Bamba
16. The Long Way Home
17. I've Got The Feeling (Oh No No)
18. You'll Forget
19. Love To Love
20. Someday Baby
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Highlighting Neil Diamond's origins as a singer/songwriter in the legendary Brill Building in New York, Columbia/Legacy will release Neil Diamond: The Bang Years on March 1, 2011. Covering the earliest years of his career in New York, Neil Diamond's recordings for Bert Bern's Bang Records produced some of the most loved songs of his career including "Cherry, Cherry," "Solitary Man," "Kentucky Woman," "Shilo," and "Red, Red Wine." Over the years these songs have been covered by a diverse group of artists from The Monkees, whose version of "I'm A Believer" was the best selling record of 1967, reggae artist UB40 who took "Red Red Wine" to #1 in the US in 1984, to alternative rock band Urge Overkill, who famously covered Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" for Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction in 1994, to Johnny Cash who recorded his version of "Solitary Man" for his third American Recordings album with Rick Rubin in 2000.

Customer Reviews

The Bang Years is probably Neil Diamond's best period of work.
There is an excellent stereo CD out there called "The Complete Bang Recordings" that still only has 24 of the 25 Bang Masters, but it's apparently a bootleg.
Bill Anthony
This CD is highly recommended for the diehard Neil Diamond fan, or even the casual fan.
Roy Kj Peden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Cat Prince Chunk on March 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let me start with how weirdly out of place 'The Bang Years' is ranked in the 'Broadway Vocalists' catagory next to Les Miserable cast album and Harry Connick Jr does Broadway.If Sony released 'The Bang Years' to celebrate his induction into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame,then why not put it next to other oldies rock n roll collections?Anyone just browsing the cover of the James Dean looking New York punk staring dogfaced into the camera can see that there will be no "Heartlight" type soft ballads here.This is rock n roll from a 20 something about getting it on come night time,calls for independence and non conformity.And plenty of post-break up loner anthems.In other words,themes that most classic rockers wrote about in their early years.

Of the 23 songs in this 62 minute collection,11 are on CD and released digitally for the first time ever.The quality of the Diamond originals are great.The reason they were not released as singles is because how many hits can one artist have in such a short time?But many were hits for others ("Love to Love" a hit for Billie Davis,"The Boat That I Row" a big hit for Lulu.The Murder City Devils's version of "I'll Come Running" is probably more famous then Diamond's).These songs are extremely catchy goodtime rock n roll with a certain NYC edge.They sound hungry and full of life.Neil Diamond's cracked baritone is the perfect match for the beat up acoustic.The female singers and room full of handclappers only add to the urban party feel.

The Bang Years starts off with 10 self-penned Neil Diamond classics inside two years.An amazing amount in such a short time.The songs sound warm and crisp-like listening to a classic old record without the headache of a record player.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bill Anthony on March 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I'm a longtime Neil Diamond fan and collector - first acquired these recordings on the Bang stereo 2 LP set "Double Gold" in the 70's, then the 12-song 1983 album on Columbia entitled "Classics The Early Years" (still in print on CD and recommended for those like me who prefer the stereo mixes taken from the original LP's). Later the 10 biggest hits from these sessions appeared in remastered mono on his excellent box-set "In My Lifetime" (1996).

A comparison of the box-set remasters from 1996 to the new remasters on the 2011 "Bang Years" CD reveals that the new CD versions are indeed noticeably louder (as would be expected these days), but largely the same "mix", not overly-compressed as some other reviewers have stated, and certainly no distortion that I can detect. The bass levels are pretty much the same overall, with the highs a little more crisp and audible. My impression has always been that a mono mix on most systems sounds more harsh on the high end and more compressed on the bass end, hence my preference for the clarity, headroom, and depth of a stereo mix.

The previous mono remasters from 1996 were fine, however, so I would have preferred to have a stereo version of this collection, but that's apparently not what the market demands - "original mono" seems to sell more product, as that's what the labels seem to do most these days. The main factor here is that this is 23 tracks, many more than have ever been released on CD. There is an excellent stereo CD out there called "The Complete Bang Recordings" that still only has 24 of the 25 Bang Masters, but it's apparently a bootleg. The missing tracks not on the new 2011 Columbia/Legacy "The Bang Years" are "Shot Down" and "Crooked Street". They both appear on "The Complete Bang Recordings" CD.
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72 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Clark V. Kauffman on March 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm very, very disappointed in the sound quality of this disc -- not because it's in mono, as I usually prefer the original hit mono mixes of songs from the 1960s, but because every track on here has been "brickwalled," or severely compressed, to increase their overall loudness. I've been waiting for a collection of this material for decades... but I doubt I'll ever listen to this disc again. It's that bad. I'm not an audiophile, by any means, but this disc is just irritating to the ears. It is so loud and compressed that there's no dynamic range left in the songs, no ebb and flow to the music, no space between the notes... It's all just one constant, dull roar that becomes incredibly irritating after 10 minutes or so.

Granted, most 45s from the 1960s were compressed to begin with so they'd stand out on AM radio. Previous releases of some of these songs (such as those on the 3-CD "In My Lifetime" boxed set) reflect that same 1960s level of compression and the songs sound great on that release. But in 'remastering' those and other Bang recordings for this new "Bang Years" disc, the creators added an incredible amount of additional compression -- probably as a concession to today's iPod listeners -- that gives every song a hard, brittle and distorted sound.(This added compression, and the accompanying digital clipping, is obvious when you look at any of the tracks in wave form on a computer.)

So, although I love every one of the songs on this disc, I have to give this release a one-star review.

If you want to hear SOME of these same songs in better quality, your options are limited. The "In My Lieftime" box has several of these tracks in their original mono versions and, as stated before, they sound great on that set.
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