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  • Writer's pictureDAVE RADSTOCK


Hadley Hockensmith is the Hawaiian shirt wearing acoustic guitarist in Neil Diamond’s band, forming a formidable duelling guitar team alongside Doug Rhone, Hadley joined Neil’s band full time in 1986, replacing Richard Bennett, who left to pursue other projects in Nashville. Prior to that he had filled in on occasion when other band members took ill, so he was already familiar with the set up in the band.

Hadley began composing music at thirteen, by fourteen he was playing regularly in blues clubs, including the Embers, the Blue Onion, and after hours at The After Hours club in Edmond.

Hadley was the winner of Battle of the Blues Guitars, in Oklahoma City, but his big break came when The Righteous Brothers came to town on the heels of their big hit, ‘You’ve Lost That Loving feeling’, they needed a guitarist for their Oklahoma City stint and Hadley, then only 15, came highly recommended.

He met his wife Debby in Oklahoma City, where they married in 1975, in 1978 he headed for Los Angeles, where he would record with some of the biggest stars of the day, David Gates of Bread, Gordon Lightfoot, Jeff Beck, Ray Charles, and Glenn Campbell.

Hadley has been a constant in Neil’s band since joining in 1986, but still composes his own new age guitar music, where he has a best selling album HEARTSONGS.

Hadley likes to listen to various genres of music, including authentic jazz and blues, Celtic, Brazilian, Flamenco, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Bach, but doesn’t like Rap music.

Hadley’s favourite Neil Diamond song: Songs Of Life because of its beautifully serene and spiritual quality.

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