1978 Neil Diamond – Desirée
If You Know What I Mean, the first single from Neil Diamond’s 1976 album Beautiful Noise, reached #11 on the Hot 100, after which the other singles from the album stumbled. The next two may have reached the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart, but singles two through five from the album failed to even reach the top forty on the Hot 100.
I had completely forgotten about Neil’s lead single from his next album, Desirée. Perhaps it was because the record only reached #16 on the Hot 100 in 1977. You may remember it better if you were listening primarily to Adult Contemporary stations at the time since it topped the charts on those stations.
The song became the first long-distance dedication on the August 26, 1978 edition of American Top Forty, but the song is otherwise pretty easy to overlook.
Another song on that album also became overlooked at first.
Neil wrote a potential theme song for Norman Lear’s 1977 sitcom, All That Glitters. Norman changed the concept for the show before filming, and Neil’s song no longer fit.
Instead of abandoning the theme song, Neil kept the music and worked with Alan and Marilyn Bergman to come up with new lyrics. The resulting song, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, got included on Neil’s 1977 solo album.
Not much happened until Barbra Streisand included her version of the song on her 1978 solo album.
Several radio stations around the country began editing together clips from the two versions to play on the air as a single record. Those uneven creations became popular enough that Columbia Records brought the two singers together to record an actual duet. The resulting single became one of the biggest hits of 1978, easily reaching the top of the Hot 100.
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