Hot August Night is a 1972 live double album by Neil Diamond ("Hot August night" is also the opening lyric to Diamond's 1969 single "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show"). The album is a recording of a Diamond concert on August 24, 1972, one of ten sold-out concerts that Diamond performed that month at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. This also marks the first album released by the newly formed MCA Records (a merging of the Uni, Kapp, and Decca labels).
This album, and its predecessor album Moods, are generally acknowledged to be the two most important recording projects of Diamond's career in terms of defining his signature sound, and in the case of Hot August Night his live performance style, for the future.
Diamond later released two live "sequel" albums, Hot August Night II (1987) and Hot August Night/NYC (2009).
Hot August Night is one of the biggest selling albums in Australia, where it spent 29 weeks at number 1 on the album charts during 1973 and 1974. This makes it equal 4th for the most weeks at number 1, tying with Delta Goodrem's 2003 album Innocent Eyes.
Hot August Night was the number one charting album in Australia for the 1970s, entering the Australian album charts in late 1972 and still charting in the top 20 in 1976. It was the number 1 album of 1973 and the number 3 album of 1974. It re-entered the Australian top 10 in 1982, then had another chart run in 1991-92 peaking at number 21. During the 1991-92 chart-run it was listed on the chart as 14 x Platinum. Based on album accreditation levels used until 1983, it equates to a 700,000 sales milestone. When the album entered the catalogue albums chart in 2010, it was listed as 10 x Platinum. Based on accreditation levels since 1983, it also equates to a 700,000 sales milestone. However, because ARIA was only formed in 1983 and record companies have not reported complete record sales records to them, sales are an estimation only and in the case of 1970's albums like Hot August Night, the conservative estimates may be falling short. In 1996, MCA Managing Director Paul Krige estimated that cumulative sales of Hot August Night in Australia have exceeded one million units.
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Lester Bangs called Hot August Night a "fine presentation of the entire spectrum" of Diamond's work and praised its music as "great, pretentious, goofy pop" with a melodramatic, "hymn-like feeling". In his review for Creem, Robert Christgau panned the album as a failed attempt at "bad art", and found Diamond's humor "sententious" and his country-western songs tasteless.
In a retrospective review, Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine called Hot August Night "the ultimate Neil Diamond record ... [which] shows Diamond the icon in full glory." Rob Sheffield, writing in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), dubbed the album "the triumph of Neilness" and said that its music is slightly more "lax" than his studio recordings, but "festive".
All songs written by Neil Diamond, except "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" (Randy Newman)
1972 vinyl edition
2000 compact disc release
2012 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Compact Disc Release
Neil Diamond — vocals and guitar
Richard Bennett — guitar
Danny Nicholson — guitar
Emory Gordy, Jr. — guitar and vibraphone
Alan Lindgren — keyboards
Reinie Press — bass
Dennis St. John — drums
Jefferson Kewley — percussion
String section — Sidney Sharp, Philip Candreva, Paulo Alencar, Baldassare Ferlazzo, Robert Lipsett, Haim Shtrum, Ron Folsom, Henry Ferber, Hyman Goodman, William Henderson, John DeVoogdt, Wilbert Nuttycombe, Jay Rosen, Walter Wiemeyer, Shari Zippert, Ralph Schaeffer, Tibor Zelig, Walter Rower, Salvatore Crimi, Richard Kaufman, David Turner (violins), Linn Subotnick, Philip Goldberg, Sven Reher, Myron Sandler, Marilyn Baker, Samuel Boghossian (violas), Jesse Ehrlich, Jerome Kessler, Raymond Kelley, Nathan Gershman, Alice Ober, Giacinto Nardulli (violoncelli), Timothy Barr, Jess Bourgeois, Don Bagley (bass violins)
Orchestra conducted by Lee Holdridge
Hot August Night at Discogs (list of releases)
"The Night Neil Diamond Whanged His Clanger" by Steven Hyden