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Neil Diamond: Pop' Renaissance Man

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Four decades into a career as the sequined king of soft rock, celebrated in his 1970s peak as much for his rakish growl and helmet of wavy hair as for hits like "Sweet Caroline" and "Song Sung Blue," Neil Diamond is enjoying something of a career renaissance.

Always a strong concert draw, he has been making more money on the road than ever before, grossing $168 million over his last three tours, according to Billboard. And in May his 46th album on the Billboard charts, "Home Before Dark" (Columbia) -- a set of stripped-down and reflective songs produced by Rick Rubin, who recorded Johnny Cash's last releases -- became his first to reach No. 1. On Tuesday, Mr. Diamond, 67, begins a four-night engagement at Madison Square Garden, part of a mostly sold-out world tour that will take him well into 2009.

"I never expected that I would be doing this for as long as I've been doing it," he said after his sold-out show at the XL Center here on Thursday, having changed out of his black silk stage costume and into jeans and a loose-fitting cotton shirt, his eyes hidden behind small round glasses.

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