In My Lifetime
is a triple-disc, 71-track box set spanning Neil Diamond
's entire career, from his early Bang hits, through his heyday at MCA, to his latter-day adult contemporary hits for Columbia. Demos, alternate takes, and live cuts are interspersed throughout the box. Not all of Diamond
's greatest songs are here -- obscurities like "Two-Bit Manchild" would have been welcome -- but all of the classics are present. Aside from the flimsy book-style packaging, the only real problem with the set are the rarities. While the songwriting demos from the beginning of his career are of interest to both dedicated and casual fans, latter-day demos and alternate takes are only of interest to hardcore collectors and break the rhythm of the set. Nevertheless, if anyone wants just one Neil Diamond
album, In My Lifetime
is the one to get -- it has all the songs you know plus several great lesser-known gems, presented in crisp, clear sound and with an excellent biography and discography.