In 1972, Neil Diamond released Hot August Night, the double live album that cemented his status as a musical superstar and a live performer with few equals. He’s honored the seminal release several times over the course of his half-century in shown-business, first with Hot August Night II in 1987 and then with 2009’s Hot August Night/NYC. Now Diamond’s back with Hot August Night III.
Recorded in 2012, this two-disc live collection — with a concert DVD available with the deluxe edition — finds the icon returning to Los Angeles’ Greek Theater, where he taped the original four decades before. Though Hot August Night III isn’t due out until Aug. 17, PEOPLE exclusively has the electrifying music video for his new rendition of 1969’s “Sweet Caroline.”
Over the years, Diamond, 77, has said that the inspiration for the perennial party starter (and unofficial Boston anthem) was two-fold. In a 2014 interview with CNN, he explained that he was initially trying to write a song for then-wife, Marcia, but finding a rhyme for that name was difficult. Instead, his mind turned to a photo he saw in Life magazine depicting the late John F. Kennedy’s young daughter, Caroline. Just an hour later, he had his highest chart entry to date.
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Diamond embarked on his blockbuster 50th anniversary tour in the fall of 2017, but this January he shocked fans by canceling the remainder of the dates and announcing his immediate retirement from live concerts due to a diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.
“I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come,” he said in a statement, before thanking his legions of loyal fans. “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”