Neil Diamond will release a new album, "Three Chord Opera," July 24 on Columbia. The enduring singer/songwriter wrote all the words and music for the set, the first time he's done so since 1974's "Ser

Neil Diamond will release a new album, "Three Chord Opera," July 24 on Columbia. The enduring singer/songwriter wrote all the words and music for the set, the first time he's done so since 1974's "Serenade," which hit No. 3 on the Billboard album chart and featured the No. 5 pop hit "Longfellow Serenade." Diamond will support the album with a world tour, with dates to be announced.

"Three Chord Opera" was produced by Alan Lindgren and Peter Asher, the latter of '60s act Peter and Gordon. The 12-track set includes the songs "I Haven't Played This Song in Years," "Don't Look Down," "I Believe in Happy Endings," "At the Movies," "Midnight Dream," "You are the Best Part of Me," "Baby Let's Drive," "My Special Someone," "A Mission of Love," "Elijah's Song," "Leave a Little Room for God," and "Turn Down the Lights."

Diamond's most recent studio album, "As Time Goes By: The Movie Album," debuted at No. 31 on The Billboard 200 in November 1998. His last album of original material, the country-leaning "Tennessee Moon," reached No. 3 on Billboard's Top Country Albums survey.

Meanwhile, Diamond has earned an impressive chart distinction: his first album to top any of the Billboard charts. The 1982 set "12 Greatest Hits, Vol. II," featuring such favorites as "America" and "Forever in Blue Jeans," is in its second week at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, largely thanks to the title's inclusion in a multi-album package of Diamond albums being sold at price-club chain Costco.

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