Neil Diamond on Bang Records
Version 2 (09/98)
Version 2.1 (04/01)
Version 2.2 (09/03)

Neil Diamond had his first hits on Bang Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, in 1966. Re-issue fever started in 1968, while Neil was disputing his contract with them. Despite the limited pool of material, Bang started to find new ways to market his music, at times resorting to altering the songs themselves to make them, well, different from their original incarnations. Over the course of time, Neil's Bang recordings had been haphazardly re-issued with variations of the same songs due to many factors such as overdubs, fake stereo, speed problems, stereo channel reversals, poor quality master tapes, premature fade-outs or different vocal takes.

25 songs were released on the Bang label from 1966 until 1973 (when they stopped creating "new" Neil Diamond titles). Bang had recycled most of these songs, in various combinations, to stretch them into a total of six albums and one tape-only title.

Things became almost as complicated with the modern day re-issues of Bang material on Columbia (or CBS-related labels). The first of these was Early Classics, in stereo, on the obscure Frog King label (released in 1978). At the time, the Frog King LP had aberrant mixes that deviated from the Bang ones (as if there weren't enough Bang variants already). Next was Classics-The Early Years in 1983, re-issued on CD in 1986. It clearly had its roots in FKEC, as most (but not all) of the FKEC remixes ended up on CEY. When Columbia was bitten by the "retrospective-fever" bug, 8 of Neil's most popular Bang songs were re-issued yet again, but with their original Bang mono mixes, on the 2 CD set The Greatest Hits 1966-1992. A few years later, a more comprehensive collection, the 3 CD box In My Lifetime, contained 11 Bang songs, still in mono.

This handy chart provides a cross-reference so you'd be able to tell at a glance, where and how many times a specific song had re-appeared. Just to provide a comparison of original Bang material with what's currently in-print, the Columbia re-issues have also been included in this chart.
 

  45 RPM FON JFY NDGH Shilo Do It! VBND Double Gold CEY GH66-92 IML Essential
Solitary Man #1 M M,SE M,SE SE     M     M M M
Solitary Man #2 ST   ST ST ST ST   ST STR      
Red Rubber Ball M M,ST                    
La Bamba M M,ST                    
Do It M,MR M,SE   SE   SER SE MR SER      
Hanky Panky M M,ST   ST     ST          
Monday Monday M M,ST     ST   ST ST        
New Orleans M M,ST   ST     ST ST        
Someday Baby M M,ST       ST   ST        
I Got the Feelin' (Oh No No) M M,ST   ST ST   ST ST STR M M M
I'll Come Running M M,SE     SE SE M SE        
Love to Love   M,ST       ST   ST        
Cherry Cherry M,ST M,ST M,ST ST ST   M ST STR M M M
Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon M,ST   M,ST ST ST   M ST ST M M M
The Long Way Home M   M,SE     SE   SE        
Red Red Wine MR,ST   M,ST ST ST ST M ST ST   M M
You'll Forget M   M,SE     SE   SE        
The Boat That I Row M   M,ST ST   ST M ST ST   M  
I'm A Believer STR   M,ST   ST ST M STR STR   M M
Shilo #1 M,ST   M,ST       M ST   M M  
Shilo #2 M       ST       ST      
You Got to Me MR   M,ST ST ST   M ST ST MR M M
Thank the Lord for the Night Time M,ST   M,ST ST ST   M ST ST M M M
Kentucky Woman M     SE SE   SE M SE M M M
Shot Down           SE   SE        
Crooked Street M         SE   SE        
The Time is Now M                      

Key: M (mono); MR (mono remix); ST (true stereo); SE (fake stereo); STR (true stereo remix); SER (fake stereo remix)

After some thought, I've decided on basing all of the commentary on the idea the oldest available mixes, as they appeared on The Feel of Neil Diamond and Just for You, are the original mixes and the most authentic.

  • BANG nnn = Original 45 release (Bang)
  • FON = The Feel of Neil Diamond (Bang)
  • JFY = Just for You(Bang)
  • NDGH = Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits (Bang)
  • BS = Shilo (Bang)
  • DOIT = Do It (Bang)
  • VBND = The Very Best of Neil Diamond (Bang/GRT-tape only)
  • DG = Double Gold (Bang)
  • SG nnn = "Solid Gold" 45 re-issue (Bang)
  • FKEC = Early Classics (Frog King)
  • CEY = Classics Early Years (Columbia)
  • GH66-92 = The Greatest Hits 1966-1992 (Columbia)
  • IML = In My Lifetime (Columbia)
  • Essential = The Essential Neil Diamond (Columbia)
  • Unless specified, mono LP versions of the songs are musically identical to their stereo LP counterparts, except for the fact that (of course) there is no channel separation.

    Stereo Geek Notes

    There are several forms of re-channeled stereo, which was a gimmick that was used in the 60's to convert mono recordings into some form of stereo. These are some of the most common techniques:

    Neil's Bang recordings have introduced us to yet another technique,


    The Songs

    "The Boat That I Row" (stereo)

  • BANG 536 - (mono) Essentially a mono'ed version of the stereo LP one, but fades early.
  • JFY - Bang stereo LP versions have a longer fade, at "...big enough for two, just me and you/ The boat that I row won't cross no ocean/The boat that I (edit) need girl". One wonders what the last line was supposed to be, prior to the snippage. Backing vocals and handclaps on right, acoustic guitar on left. This is one of the few songs that had been re-issued correctly over the years- no stereo channel reversals. Mono LP version has a shorter fade.
  • NDGH - Identical to JFY
  • DOIT - Identical to JFY
  • VBND - The Very Best of Neil Diamond is a tape-only title. It lacks the full fidelity of the LP compilations, and oddly, has a lot of mono, even though stereo versions of most of the songs were easily available at the time. This song is in mono here, and fades early at "...big enough for two".
  • DG - Identical to JFY
  • FKEC - early fade, at "...big enough for two".
  • CEY - Identical to FKEC
  • IML - mono, identical to JFY with an early fade at "...big enough for two".
  • "Cherry Cherry" (stereo)
  • BANG 528 - (mono) Essentially a mono'ed version of the stereo LP one.
  • FON (stereo) - Bang versions have a very distinctive mix with more echo and a huge amount of stereo separation. The "Whee hah!" exclamation is mixed down after the 1st chorus, and "Whee, tear it up!" is completely missing after the 2nd chorus at 1:51. Guitars are on the right, handclaps on left.
  • JFY - Identical to FON
  • NDGH - Identical to FON
  • BS - Identical to FON
  • VBND - mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo. Otherwise, it sounds just like the other Bang ones.
  • DG - Identical to FON but with stereo channels reversed.
  • SG 105 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using the FON stereo version, with excellent sound quality.
  • FKEC - One of the FKEC songs that had been radically remixed. The remix brings everything closer to the center (better, I think, gives it more punch and the lead vocal more presence), and the "whee hah" and "whee, tear it up" is mixed right up front.
  • CEY - Identical to FKEC
  • GH66-92 - mono, reverts to the FON version
  • IML - 2 different versions of "Cherry Cherry" were included on IML. One of them is the mono FON version. The other is a previously unreleased alternate version, also in mono. The alternate has the same melody, but has different lyrics and different instrumentation, including drums, horns and an unusually cheesy-sounding organ. After hearing this, you'll know where Neil got his ideas for "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" from!
  • Essential- All 9 of the Bang songs on Essential are identical to the versions that had appeared on In My Lifetime, indicating that Sony simply used the same masters. Identical to mono FON.
  • "Crooked Street" (mono)
  • DOIT - Re-channeled, using bass/treble filter. Problem is, there isn't much to rechannel here. The entire song is Neil and an acoustic guitar, so any stereo effect is limited to the low-end overtones of the guitar. This is the first LP appearance of the song, and no LP versions of it are in true mono.
  • BANG 586 - Same as DOIT, re-channeled on a stereo-capable single.
  • DG - Same as DOIT
  • "Do It" (mono, with added stereo overdubs)
    (This one is very enlightening. One can trace the progression of the increased doctoring of the song by following this...)
  • BANG 519 - (mono) Same as FON(mono).
  • FON (mono LP) - This is the basic track, in mono, upon which all subsequent variations are based. The only instruments are acoustic guitar, maracas, tambourine, piano and horns. This is the one with the long fade, going beyond the phrase "Go and do it, yeah". True length of the song is 1:50.
  • FON (stereo LP) - The same as FON(mono) but a fake stereo version was created here with the irritating "Balance Twiddle" effect on each tambourine beat.
  • NDGH - Same as the FON(st) one, including the stupid balance-twiddle stereo effect.
  • DOIT - The most heavily produced of all of the versions. Takes the basic mono track and adds additional stereo instrumentation, like a bongo drum track (Duophonic), a cymbal percussion track (on left), extra maracas, and a set of standard drums, most obvious on: "Cause if you take your time (drums) you're gonna find (drums)". Short fade, right after "Go and do it, yeah".
  • BANG 580 - (mono) Almost identical to DOIT, but in mono, plus it runs about 20 seconds longer. How? By reaching into their bag of tricks, Bang extended this "Do It" to an appropriate length for a single by splicing-in a repeat of verse 2 ("Tell her, just how much you love her...") from 1:40 to 2:01. All of the DOIT LP overdubs are present, but centered, due to the mono conversion of the heavily overdubbed "stereo" version.
  • VBND - Goes back to the FON version, the one without all of the instrumental overdubs. On the good side, it's not in balance-twiddled fake stereo. On the bad side, it's in a different sort of fake stereo- it uses the bass/treble filter, which reduces the left channel to a muddy, low-fi mess. Sounds terrible.
  • SG 109 - (mono) Identical to Bang 580.
  • DG - Same as Bang 580 single, and also in mono. Strangely, this one plays at a slower speed than the other ones, dropping the song into a different key. Well, that's yet another way to make the song longer...
  • FKEC - Now this is weird. It seems to be the DOIT version, but missing the overdubbed bongos. All other overdubs are present, but at a lower volume than the DOIT/DG ones. The percussion track is now occupying the right side (also at a lower volume) but the remainder of the added instrumentation is centered, in mono (or extremely narrow Duophonic), and mixed in with the base version of the song. So how was *that* done? It sounds like all of the individual overdub instruments were isolated and the bongo track was lost or discarded and everything except the percussion was re-combined with the FON version and remixed into mono. Then, the percussion track was mixed back in with the new combo, in stereo, on the right side. Yeesh, seems like a lot of work.
  • CEY - Uses the same unique mix as FKEC (no bongos, lower volume of remaining overdubs, cymbals on right) but this runs 20 seconds longer due to that clever splice-job from 1:40 to 2:01 that adds an extra verse 2, just like Bang 580.
  • "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" (stereo)
  • BANG 542 - (mono) Uses the JFY(mono) version.
  • JFY (mono LP) - Slightly different from the stereo mix. The string section is missing from the first chorus, instead it kicks-in on the second verse. Has a longer fade, after repeating "Soon you'll need a man" twice.
  • JFY (stereo LP) - Regular version, with "Soon you'll need a man" sung only once before the fade. Acoustic guitar on left, bass and strings on right.
  • NDGH - Same as the JFY(st) version.
  • BS - Same as the JFY (st) version.
  • VBND - mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo. Uses the JFY (mono) version but fades early.
  • SG 105 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using the JFY stereo version, with excellent sound quality.
  • DG - JFY (st) one with a bass enhancement, and a stereo channel reversal.
  • FKEC - runs longer, almost 30 seconds longer, compared to the JFY/BS/DG stereo ones. At the end of the song, the line "Soon you'll need a man" is repeated 3 times, compared to earlier versions. Narrow stereo mix- it's pretty obvious.
  • CEY - Identical to FKEC.
  • GH66-92 - Reverts to the JFY (mono) version for the first time in 20 years! Fades a little earlier than the old JFY one.
  • IML - Identical to JFY(mono) with an earlier fade.
  • Essential- Identical to JFY(mono) with an earlier fade.
  • "Hanky Panky" (stereo)
  • FON - Contains humorous studio chatter at the start. Bass and tambourine on right.
  • BANG 554 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions
  • NDGH - Identical to FON.
  • BANG 580 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions
  • DOIT - The song is listed on the cover, but is not actually on the album.
  • VBND - Identical to FON.
  • "I Got the Feeling (Oh No No)" (stereo)
  • FON (mono LP) - Is very subtly different from the stereo mix. The acoustic guitar is louder and has a richer sound, esp. on the 2nd verse, and the backing vocalists are missing right after "Your eyes tell me it's wasted", which gives the horns an unexpected emphasis. Song runs a few seconds longer than the FON (st) one.
  • FON (stereo LP) - All stereo versions are identical until the very end, right after the phrase "I'm gonna die". On the Bang versions (incl. mono ones), there's a mysterious hole on the lead vocal track in 2 places while the girls sing "ohhh, ohhh". Fades at "...lay down and die/I got the feeling". Horns and backing vocals on left, acoustic guitar on right.
  • BANG 536 - (mono) This is not the true FON mono mix. Instead, it's a mono'ed version of the FON stereo mix.
  • NDGH - Identical to FON (st).
  • BS - Identical to FON (st)
  • VBND - Same as FON (st)
  • SG 109 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using the FON stereo version with a channel reversal, and with excellent sound quality.
  • DG - Identical to FON (st) but with a stereo channel reversal.
  • FKEC - Neil sings the phrases "Oh yes I do, girl" and "That I'm losing you" that fill the aforementioned hole. It seems logical that these phrases were once on the master tape, the one carrying the lead vocal track, but were not used in the Bang mixes. They were finally reunited with the rest of the song when our friends at Frog King cut a new master, and this makes perfect sense, since the original sounded strange, missing phrases and all. Slightly shorter fade, at "...lay down and die".
  • CEY - Uses FKEC version.
  • GH66-92 - mono, reverts to the FON (mono) version for the first time in 25 years!
  • IML - Just like BANG 536, using a mono'ed version of the FON stereo mix instead of the true FON mono mix.
  • Essential- mono'ed version of FON stereo mix
  • "I'll Come Running" (mono)
  • BANG 528 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions.
  • FON (mono LP) -The only LP version of the song that's the way it was meant to be, in pure, honest mono. Everything else is in rechanneled stereo.
  • FON (stereo LP) - Utilizes "balance-twiddle" stereo effect. It's rather unpleasant, marring an otherwise lovely song.
  • DOIT - Same as FON (st) with balance twiddle
  • BS - Same as FON (st) with balance twiddle
  • VBND - Same as FON (mono).
  • DG - Same as FON (st) with balance twiddle. Since every one of these that's not on a mono FON album is this way, it just begs for you to do your own mono remix.
  • "I'm a Believer" (stereo)
  • JFY - Original version sounds closer in style to The Monkees' version. Handclap track on the right is mixed much louder, and instrumentation is very basic, primarily acoustic guitar. Longer fade, at the 2nd "I'm in love". There are 3 different stereo mixes. This one, the first of the three, has handclaps and backing vocals on the right, and acoustic guitar on the left. Note: all released versions of "I'm a Believer" use the same vocal take and basic backing track. The variations are identifiable by the placement of the instrumentation in stereo and the overdubbing.
  • BS - Identical to JFY
  • DOIT - Identical to JFY
  • VBND - mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo. Identical to JFY.
  • BANG 586 - Ridiculously overproduced! (whose fault is this!!!). This single, in stereo, had massive overdubbing of a string section and a horn section. It seemed like a logical move... Neil's Uni hits had large string sections and horns, so why not take a simple song (which everyone already knows), dress it up and sell it as a single? Fades at the 2nd "I'm in love". This is the 2nd of the stereo mixes, with the handclaps, strings and the horns on the right, backing vocals on the left and acoustic guitar is centered.
  • SG 108 - Identical to Bang 586.
  • DG - Identical to Bang 586
  • FKEC - Similar to the overproduced one on Bang 586/DG with shorter fade, at the first "I'm in love" (barely). It also has the third unique stereo mix that puts the handclaps and the background vocals on the right, acoustic guitar on center-right and the strings/horns on the left, something that cannot be accomplished by doing a simple stereo-reversal of the Bang 586/DG mix.
  • CEY - Uses FKEC version.
  • IML - mono, musically identical to JFY.
  • Essential- mono, JFY version.
  • "Kentucky Woman" (stereo)
  • BANG 551 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions
  • NDGH - Re-channeled stereo, using the classic bass/treble filter technique. First LP appearance of the song.
  • BS - Identical to NDGH.
  • VBND - Identical to NDGH/BS, but has almost no bass on it.
  • SG 106 - Still mono, and identical to BANG 551/DG.
  • DG - Mono, instead of using the more-common rechanneling jobs that have been so frequent on stereo albums.
  • FKEC - Hot Damn! A true stereo version of this! You can tell immediately, because of the different acoustic guitar parts playing in the left and right channels. True stereo gives this a certain life and ambiance that you just can't get from rechanneling a mono song. Plus the horns, although they're not mixed any higher than usual, have more presence on this one. This is the first (and last) time that this song had been in stereo.
  • CEY - Same as NDGH/BS, right back to rechanneled stereo (sigh). Where's the Frog King master tapes when you need them?
  • GH66-92 - mono, otherwise sounds the same as the previous issues.
  • IML - mono, musically identical to previous releases.
  • Essential-mono, identical to all previous mono releases.
  • "La Bamba" (stereo)
  • FON  - The only LP appearance of this song.
  • BANG 561 - (mono) Musically the same as FON.
  • BANG 575 - (mono) Musically the same as FON.
  • "The Long Way Home" (mono)
  • BANG 547 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions.
  • JFY - Rechanneled, with bass/treble filter
  • DOIT - Identical to JFY
  • DG - Identical to JFY
  • BANG 703 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions
  • "Love to Love" (stereo)
  • FON - All versions are identical, horns on left, guitar on right.
  • DOIT - Identical to FON
  • DG - Identical to FON
  • "Monday Monday" (stereo)
  • FON - Original stereo mix, with the characteristic "wide stereo" that most of the songs on the album share. Guitar and cowbell are on the right and the tambourine and female singers are on the left.
  • BS - Terrific sound quality, same as FON. Since this one hasn't appeared on many albums (a total of 3), and is currently not in-print, Shilo is the album to look for to get this song. Of the other two, FON is a collector's item and is way too-expensive especially in excellent condition, and as for DG, the sound quality of this particular song outright sucks.
  • VBND - Same as FON.
  • DG - Uses a high-generation master tape. Sound is considerably degraded, and the stereo separation is reversed and narrowed, not due to an alternate mix, but most likely due to the poor master tape used. This comes as somewhat of a shock, because the surrounding songs on the same side of the LP sound perfectly fine.
  • BANG 703 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions
  • "New Orleans" (stereo)
  • FON - Very wide stereo separation. Guitar and piano are on the right, backing vocals and handclaps left
  • NDGH - Same as FON.
  • BANG 554 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions
  • VBND - Same as FON.
  • DG - Same as FON but has stereo channels reversed.
  • "Red Red Wine" (stereo)
  • JFY - Wide stereo backing track, with the heavily echoed percussion on left being very prominent, and almost synched perfectly with the guitar on the right, giving the backing track an almost Duophonic sound.
  • BANG 556 - (mono) Has a backing choir added to the song, making it sound like a distant relative of "Holly Holy". This was done after the original recording was made, since even the JFY mono albums did not have it. In retrospect, the added choir did not "improve" the song at all. "Red Red Wine" sounded a lot better in its simpler, original state.
  • NDGH - same as JFY.
  • BS - same as JFY.
  • DOIT -same as JFY.
  • VBND - mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo. Not the single mix. This is the same as the JFY one.
  • SG 107 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using the JFY stereo version with excellent sound quality. Of course, this also means that you don't get the older Bang 556 single mix that had the backing choir.
  • DG - same as JFY.
  • FKEC - Narrow stereo backing track, but the vocal track seems unaffected. The percussion (on left) had lost quite a bit of its prominence and sounds like it's been mixed down, and the guitar (on right) sounds like it's mixed up so you don't get that distinctive echo-ey effect that the Bang ones have.
  • CEY - Uses FKEC version.
  • IML - mono, otherwise sounds the same as JFY. Not the single mix.
  • Essential- mono JFY version.
  • "Red Rubber Ball" (stereo)
  • FON - The only LP appearance of this song.
  • BANG 556 - (mono) Musically the same FON one.
  • "Shilo" (stereo)
  • JFY - Version #1. Can be identified by the phrase "dreaming each dream on your own" and a 2nd verse that begins with "Young girl with fire/Something said she understood...". The end of the song has chimes and spoken phrase "Shilo, Shilo, Shilo" . Orchestra and piano are on right, drums on left. Mono LP version has a shorter fade.
  • BANG 561 - (mono) JFY Version #1, with the shorter fade
  • BS - Version #2. According to the Glory Road booklet, this version had a new backing track added, well after Neil had left for Uni. This is an entirely different recording, compared to Version #1. Can be identified by "dream every dream on your own" and a lyrically different 2nd verse: "Counting the years/Keeping my dreams to myself...". Runs the longest of Versions #1,#2,#3.
  • BANG 575 - (mono) Identical to BS Version #2, but has a few problems with the double-tracking. At the intro, the double-tracking of the cymbals gives them an uncontrolled ticking effect. Double tracked vocals during "Come today..." at the end.
  • VBND - This is JFY Version #1 in mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo.
  • SG 106 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using JFY Version #1 in stereo with a channel reversal, and with excellent sound quality.
  • DG - JFY Version #1 with stereo channel reversal
  • FKEC - BS Version #2, up until 3:07, where the BS/CEY and FKEC versions diverge. On BS/CEY, at 3:07, another iteration of "Had a dream and it filled me with wonder..." comes in. On FKEC, the song goes directly to an instrumental part and fades after 3 measures. This closing instrumental piece exists only on FKEC. It is believed that the FKEC fade is closer to the way the song was originally cut, and that the BS/CEY version was artificially extended by splicing in a repeat of "Had a dream and it filled me with wonder..." (This is not unprecedented. See "Do It" entry)
  • CEY - BS Version #2
  • GH66-92 - mono, Version #1 with the JFY mono LP shorter fade.
  • IML - (mono) Version #1 with the JFY mono LP shorter fade.
  • "Shot Down" (mono)
  • DOIT - Re-channeled, using bass/treble filter. This is the first LP appearance of the song, and no LP versions of it are in true mono.
  • DG - Same as DOIT
  • "Solitary Man" (mono, with added stereo overdubs)
  • BANG 519 - Same as FON(mono).
  • FON (mono LP) - This is the original recording of the song. Neil's vocal is single-tracked throughout the entire song, no female background singers at all. There is a single acoustic guitar playing, and a horn section playing softly on the choruses. Neil's humming at the fade "Solitary Man, mmmm, Solitary Man" is audible.
  • FON (stereo LP) - The recording is still mono, but an extremely crude stereo effect was attempted by doing the infamous "Balance-Twiddle" on several of the phrases.
  • JFY - Same as FON(st), a mono track with Balance Twiddle
  • NDGH - Same as FON(st), a mono track with Balance Twiddle.
  • BANG 578 - Same as FON(mono)
  • BS - This one has an alternate vocal take, which is almost identical to the FON(mono) one. It's only noticeable on the first verse ("Melinda was mine until the time...") which is sung in a higher key. Includes a "yeah" right before "Me and Sue, that died too". Has same basic backing track as FON(mono) but also has post-production stereo overdubs, including an electric guitar (right), female background singers (also on right) and additional horns (left). Lots of obvious double-tracking on Neil at the fade, with the audible humming at end. The female background singers and guitar overdubs are the mixed down. On the 2nd verse, the singers are inaudible after "...part-time thing" and "...paper ring". On the subsequent Bang stereo versions, they are faint, but audible.
  • NDGH (re-issue) - The song has the same post-production stereo overdubs as the one on BS, but with the background singers and electric guitar mixed higher.
  • JFY (re-issue) - Identical to NDGH(reissue)
  • DOIT - Identical to NDGH(reissue)
  • VBND - Reverts to the FON (mono) version.
  • SG 108 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using the NDGH(reissue) one with a channel reversal, and with excellent sound quality. After all that work, it seems reasonable for this one to eventually end up as a single...
  • DG - Identical to NDGH(reissue) but with a stereo reversal, horns on right, backing vocals on left
  • FKEC - Contains all of the NDGH(reissue) stereo overdubs plus some extra ones! The electric guitar overdubs are mixed pretty high throughout the entire song. Additional guitar playing is present on the left after the phrases "I found her" and "That's what I thought". Humming at fade is buried (but is present), and the double tracking at fade is more subtle. This version is an entirely different stereo mix, putting the electric guitar overdubs on the left, and the horns/backing vocals on the right. Fades earlier, clipping one repeat of "solitary man..." from the song.
  • CEY - Uses FKEC version.
  • GH66-92 - Reverts to the FON(mono) version for the first time in 20 years!
  • IML - Same as FON(mono).
  • Essential- Same as FON (mono).
  • "Someday Baby" (mono with one stereo overdub) "Thank the Lord for the Night Time" (stereo)
  • BANG 547 - (mono) Essentially a mono'ed version of the stereo LP one.
  • JFY - Aside from the usual problem with stereo channel reversals, all versions of this sound pretty-much alike. Guitars are on the right, drums on left.
  • NDGH - same as JFY.
  • BS - same as JFY.
  • VBND - mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo. Musically identical to the other ones.
  • SG 106 - Re-issue single was completely overhauled using the JFY stereo version with a channel reversal, and with excellent sound quality.
  • DG - same as JFY but with stereo channel reversal.
  • FKEC - Same as DG, including reversed stereo.
  • CEY - Same as DG, including reversed stereo.
  • GH66-92 - mono, otherwise sounds the same as previous issues.
  • IML - mono, musically identical to other issues.
  • Essential- mono, same as JFY.
  • "Time is Now" (mono) "You Got to Me" (stereo)
  • BANG 540 - (mono). Although this is in mono, it's not the JFY mono version. It's a lot closer to a mono'ed version of the stereo one, but it has additional backing vocals, adding some unobtrusive "oooh"'s to the chorus part (You got to me, you got to my soul, you got to me, you've got control...)
  • JFY (mono LP) -This exists in mono only, with an alternate vocal take and the same backing track. There are several lyric variations, with the lines "Papa said look out, some girl will catch you napping" and "Never met one who could ever tie me down". At fade, the phrase "you got to me, down on my knees" is sung, replacing the more-common ad-lib on the stereo one. This had also appeared on a 1967 American Bandstand lip-synched performance, an early "Hip Pocket Record", and more recently, The Greatest Hits 1966-1992. This version is not as energetic as the "hit" one or the stereo one.
  • JFY (stereo LP) - The most common version, by virtue of staying in-print and being re-released ad nauseam for years on Neil Diamond compilations. This one was also the basis for the Bang 540 single. Contains the lines "Papa said some little girl will catch you napping" and "Never was one who could ever tie me down". Neil sings "All right" before the instrumental. At the end, Neil ad-libs "All right, c'mon now". Keyboards on left, backing vocals right.
  • BS - Identical to JFY (st)
  • NDGH - Identical to JFY (st).
  • VBND - mono, even though the tape itself contains other songs in stereo. Uses the JFY (mono) version, with the alternate vocal.
  • DG - Identical to JFY (st) but with a stereo channel reversal- keyboards on right, backing vocals left.
  • FKEC - Similar to the stereo Bang versions but with a very narrow stereo mix.
  • CEY - Sounds pretty-much like the stereo Bang ones but what happened to the bass on this? Not identical to FKEC because this has the wide stereo mix.
  • GH66-92 - Reverts to the JFY (mono) version, with the alternate vocal, for the first time in 20 years!
  • IML - mono, identical to BANG 540 with the extra backing "oooh"'s. First re-appearance of this particular version in 29 years!
  • Essential- mono, identical to BANG 540 with the extra backing "oooh"'s.
  • "You'll Forget" (mono)
  • BANG 542 - (mono) Musically the same as all other Bang versions.
  • JFY - Re-channeled, using bass/treble filter
  • DOIT - Identical to JFY
  • DG - Identical to JFY


  • Variations of the Same Title

    There are several variations within the same title in Neil's Bang catalog. Most Bang albums have the red and white "gun" label. Early re-releases (1970) used the same label, making it rather hard to tell them apart! Later re-issues have a blue "sky" label. For the most part, mono albums are the original issues, as there was no need to re-issue them- mono was phased out by 1968. There are some differences between pressings, esp. in the case of "Solitary Man", where the "new" stereo-overdubbed version had appeared on some copies of JFY and NDGH.

    The Feel of Neil Diamond - Some mono copies of this album (BLP 214) play stereo.

    Just For You - A couple more variants here. There are 3 cover variations. The oldest pressings have a blue blurb "Including the current hit Thank the Lord for the Night Time" on the cover. Later, a pink sticker that said "featuring the hit SHILO" was pasted over the old blurb. Re-releases of JFY have a blue blurb on the cover that says "featuring SHILO".

    The records also come in several variants. The older pressings have the original "Solitary Man", stereo copies in balance-twiddled fake stereo. Some of these older (1967) pressings are labeled "STEREO" but play mono. The easiest way to tell is to look at the album number stamped in the dead wax (inner groove). Mono copies are stamped "W-1000 and W-1001" while stereo copies are stamped "WS-1000 and WS-1001". 1967 stereo copies are mastered at the wrong speed. They play slower than normal, making it necessary to adjust the turntable's pitch. Re-issues contain the newer stereo-overdubbed version of "Solitary Man". Copies of this have "WS-1001-1A" stamped into the dead-wax. Blue-label reissues revert to matrix "WS-1000/WS-1001" with (you guessed it) the original, balance-twiddled fake stereo "Solitary Man" for some inexplicable reason.

    There doesn't seem to be any consistent pairing of a specific cover with a specific record. Covers with the blue "Thank the Lord" blurb or the blue "Shilo" blurb may contain either version of the record.

    Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits - The older 1968 copies contain the original "Solitary Man". Stereo copies have it in balance-twiddled fake stereo. Some copies of this title have muffled sound, and poor stereo separation. Obviously high generation master tapes and/or poor mastering is the culprit. Re-pressings look identical, but contain the newer stereo overdubbed version of "Solitary Man", have much-improved sound quality, and have a dead wax number of "WS-1005-RE". Blue-label reissues revert to matrix "WS-1005" with the original, balance-twiddled fake stereo "Solitary Man"and the same lousy sound quality as the older copies of NDGH.

    Shilo - I've received 2 reports of Shilo containing the original "Solitary Man" on it. First, on LP, early copies had "Solitary Man" (ver 1) on it and has a "waxed" date of 5-19-70 (it is labeled as BLPS 221 (#1008/1009)). Second, the Ampex 7-1/2 ips reel-to-reel tape contains the original "Solitary Man"(Ver 1), in balance-twiddled fake stereo, not the "alternate vocal take" version 2. This means that Shilo was originally released with version 1 of "Solitary Man" in fake stereo, and was relatively quickly re-issued within months with version 2 of "Solitary Man" using the alternate take.



    And a Word of Thanks

    To the people who had provided me, directly or indirectly, with the information and resources to make this project possible:

    Jeff Bleiel - (Goldmine article 9/11/87) alternate mix of "Solitary Man" on the Shilo album.
    Steve Bogdanoff- Information about early copies of the Shilo album with the original "Solitary Man".
    Bill & Jeff Collins - Neil Diamond Discography, with release dates of the singles and the albums. Invaluable!
    Ryan Guidry - stereo "Solitary Man" is an alternate take, lyric and verse differences in Ver. #1 and #2 of "Shilo".
    Regina Litman - Hip-Pocket Records & general record collecting info on the Sony Board
    Martin Natchez- Information about reel tape version of Shilo, with the original "Solitary Man".
    Chris P - Existence of three (not two) Bang "Shilo"'s and interesting quad Serenade discussion.

    and of course,
    Iris Gerhardt - for providing the tapes for all of the early Bang albums (that made this all possible), an overwhelmingly useful online discography reference, and for asking me to do this project, coincidentally at a time when I was already searching out ND Bang variants for my own purposes.


    Copyright 1998, 1999, 2003, K.F. Louie. May not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

    I welcome any comments, corrections or arguments. I may have missed something, or perhaps there's another Bang variant out there, waiting to be revealed to the world. Everyone's welcome to e-mail me at:

    ZMOQ

    There's no place like HOME