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12 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 ()

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Keying off the title of an earlier hits collection on another label, Columbia's 12 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 sums up Neil Diamond's first eight years with the label, 1973-1981, as well as his successful 1980 soundtrack for The Jazz Singer on Capitol Records. Five of the 12, "Longfellow Serenade," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (with Barbra Streisand), "Love on the Rocks," "Hello Again," and "America," were Top Ten hits. Another six, "Be," "If You Know What I Mean," "Desiree," "Forever in Blue Jeans," "September Morn," and "Yesterday's Songs," made the Top 40, and the last, "Beautiful Noise," was the title track of Diamond's best album of the period. The songs share a catchiness that belies Diamond's shallow philosophizing and thinly veiled lust, and they make for a consistent collection out of what had been a series of uneven albums. And, since Diamond only made the Top Ten one more time, the album caps his hit-making days. This is the record to buy instead of investing in the Columbia catalog. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi Hide synopsis

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