Neil Diamond was reaching the end of one chapter of his long career on 30 December 1972. ‘Walk On Water,’ a US single from his Moods album, peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was his last release on the Uni label that had seen his breakthrough as a major star over the previous few years, before Uni was absorbed into its parent company, MCA.
The gospel-themed ‘Walk On Water’ came at the end of another outstanding year for Diamond. He had scored big hit singles with 1969’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Holly Holy,’ both of which would be certified platinum 25 years later, then his first US No. 1 and an international hit with ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ in 1970. There were more chart 45s in 1971 and then the Moods album delivered another American chart-topper and overseas hit, ‘Song Sung Blue.’ That track received two Grammy nominations, and the album itself, produced by Diamond with Tom Catalano, got another. “Diamond keeps topping himself with one dynamite package after another,” raved Billboard’s album review.
That was followed by a No. 11 from the same album with ‘Play Me,’ before ‘Walk On Water’ climbed into the top 20. It spent the first of two weeks at No. 17 on the last chart of 1972, as Billy Paul continued at No. 1 with ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’ The Moods album was, itself, taking Diamond to new levels of popularity, reaching a career-best No. 5 in the US, No. 7 in the UK and No. 4 in Australia.
Then, as now, the singer-songwriter was also an extremely hot ticket as a live attraction. In August 1972, he played the Greek Theatre show in Los Angeles that became the Hot August Night album at the end of the year. Then came a 20-night run at the Winter Garden in New York, which would precede a three-year sabbatical from live work.
‘Walk On Water’ is on Neil Diamond’s Moods album, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Neil Diamond Best Of playlist.