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 re-entered the albums chart in 2014, 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.
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)
^"They love Diamond in Australia: Los Angeles - Neil Diamond's two-record set, Hot August Night, has sold in excess of $2 million in Australia, reports Lee Armstrong, MCA's international vice president. The label estimates that one in every 35 persons in Australia owns a copy in some musical form. The LP is distributed in Australia by Astor, which recently received a licence of the year award from MCA's president Mike Maitland." Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (November 16, 1974). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 10. ISSN0006-2510.