Hot August Night (Bonus Tracks)
by Neil Diamond
Released: Dec 1972
Released in time for the 1972 Christmas market, Hot August Night is ground zero for Diamond's reputation as a total hunk. Rocking shrink-wrap denim and a dense thicket of chest hair, the singer definitely channels the sweaty swagger of Tom Jones. Musically, however, he's all about replicating the end-times bombast of Elvis' Vegas show: schmaltz rockers, soul stirrers and soaring ballads, all of them drenched in strings and percussion. It's a unique vision for sure. Plus, the between-song banter is kind of weird, like supper-club small talk filtered through the hippies' existential profundity.