12 Songs (Neil Diamond album)

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12 Songs
12 Songs (Neil Diamond album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 8, 2005 (2005-11-08)
RecordedApril 2004–Summer 2005
GenreRock, country
ProducerRick Rubin
Neil Diamond chronology
Stages: Performances 1970–2002
12 Songs
The Best of Neil Diamond
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
Entertainment WeeklyA[3]
Pitchfork Media4.1/10[4]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[5]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[6]

12 Songs is the twenty-sixth studio album by Neil Diamond, released in 2005. It was his first studio album since 2001's Three Chord Opera. It was produced by Rick Rubin.

The working title for the album was self-titled. The original pressing of the album was copy-protected using Sony's controversial XCP technology.[7]

Album history[edit]

Initial work on the album began after Diamond had concluded his tour behind Three Chord Opera in 2002. Retreating to his Colorado cabin, Diamond found himself temporarily snowed in, and started to pass the time away by working on new material.

Not long afterward, Diamond met Rick Rubin. Rubin expressed interest in working with Diamond, and the two got together several times at each other's homes before ever going into the recording studio.

Rubin, using the artist's Bang and early Uni albums as a springboard, encouraged Diamond to keep writing material over the course of a year. Once the two collaborators had plenty of material at their disposal that they felt strongly about, Rubin put together some of the same musicians he had used for Johnny Cash's American Recordings releases, including Tom Petty sidemen Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, and encouraged Diamond to play guitar himself in the studio. The sessions were also the last ever performance by organ player Billy Preston, who died in June 2006.

The end result, 12 Songs, ended up being one of Diamond's most successful and critically acclaimed studio albums in years, debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Rubin's influence would extend beyond the recording sessions, as the subsequent tour behind the album found Diamond using tougher-sounding arrangements of his classic songs with his longtime backing band, and playing more guitar onstage than he had done since the Hot August Night era.

Extended copy protection[edit]

In November 2005, it was revealed that Sony BMG was distributing albums with Extended Copy Protection or XCP, a controversial feature that automatically installed rootkit software on any Microsoft Windows machine upon insertion of the disc. In addition to preventing the CD's contents from being copied, it was also revealed that the software reported the users' listening habits back to Sony and also exposed the computer to malicious attacks that exploited insecure features of the rootkit software. Though Sony refused to release a list of the affected CDs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation identified 12 Songs as one of the discs with the invasive software.[citation needed]

Rubin says that he and Diamond were not aware of XCP, and Rubin provided this explanation to The New York Times:

The CD debuted at No. 4 [and] was the highest debut of Neil's career, off to a great start. But Columbia—it was some kind of corporate thing—had put spyware on the CD. That kept people from copying it, but it also somehow recorded information about whoever bought the record. The spyware became public knowledge, and people freaked out. There were some lawsuits filed, and the CD was recalled by Columbia. Literally pulled from stores. We came out on a Tuesday, by the following week the CD was not available. Columbia released it again in a month, but we never recovered. Neil was furious, and I vowed never to make another album with Columbia.[8]

By December 2005, Sony BMG had remastered and repressed 12 Songs and all other albums released with the XCP software as standard, non-copy-protected CDs.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Neil Diamond.

  1. "Oh Mary" - 5:12
  2. "Hell Yeah" - 4:25
  3. "Captain of a Shipwreck" - 3:55
  4. "Evermore" - 5:18
  5. "Save Me a Saturday Night" - 3:31
  6. "Delirious Love" - 3:12
  7. "I'm on to You" - 4:27
  8. "What's It Gonna Be" - 4:04
  9. "Man of God" - 4:21
  10. "Create Me" - 4:10
  11. "Face Me" - 3:27
  12. "We" - 3:49
  13. "Men Are So Easy" (bonus track on special edition) - 4:04
  14. "Delirious Love" (featuring Brian Wilson) (bonus track on special edition) - 3:23



  • Producer – Rick Rubin
  • Recorded by Greg Fidelman, Jason Lader and Andrew Scheps.
  • Additional Recording – Mark Linette
  • Assistant Engineers – Greg Burns, Chris Holmes, Pete Martinez, Jim Monti, Dana Nielsen and Erich Talaba.
  • Mixed by Greg Fidelman
  • Recorded and Mixed at Arch Angel Studios (Los Angeles, CA).
  • Additional Recording at Ocean Way Recording, The Sound Factory and Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound (Los Angeles, CA); Sound City Studios (Van Nuys, CA).
  • Mastered by Vlado Meller at Sony Mastering (New York City, NY).
  • Art Direction and Design – Reina Katzenberger
  • Photography – Martin Atkins



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[25] Gold 50,000[24]
Canada (Music Canada)[26] Gold 50,000^
Germany 45,000[24]
Ireland (IRMA)[27] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Gold 200,000[24]
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold 571,000[29]

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Weber, Scott. "Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Atkins, Martyn (November 7, 2005). "12 Songs". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Hogan, Marc (November 21, 2005). "Neil Diamond: 12 Songs". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  5. ^ "Rolling Stone review".
  6. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (November 6, 2005). "Neil Diamond: 12 Songs". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT - cp.sonybmg.com/xcp". 24 December 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008.
  8. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn (2 September 2007). "Rick Rubin - Recording Industry - Rock Music" – via www.nytimes.com.
  9. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  13. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  14. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Diamond, Neil – 12 Songs" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  15. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 8, 2006". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  16. ^ "Archivio – Artisti". FIMI. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  17. ^ "Charts.nz – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  18. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  19. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  20. ^ "Neil Diamond Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  21. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 2006". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "UK Year-End Chart 2006" (PDF). Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2006". Billboard. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  24. ^ a b c Sexton, Paul (9 December 2006). "'12 Songs' Continues Singer's Record of International Success". Billboard. p. 66. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". Music Canada. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  27. ^ "Irish album certifications – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 20 July 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type 12 Songs in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  29. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (10 May 2008). "'Home' Field Advantage" (PDF). Billboard. p. 57. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Neil Diamond – 12 Songs". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]