Or as my father would point out if he was alive, “Neil and I.”
The Neil in question is Neil Diamond. I love Neil Diamond. I make no apology for this fact.
He has a new album out this week, produced by Rick Rubins, who revitalised Johnny Cash’s career. Apparently he’s doing the same for Mr Diamond. But in my book, that didn’t need doing. He has written some of the best pop songs ever in the work he did for the Monkees (a band I may have claimed to prefer to the Beatles,)
Whilst to some, he might be in the category of “guilty pleasure”, to me he has never been anything other than great. There may have been a year when grunge ruled my stereo and I may have temporarily forgotten about the majesty of Neil, but for the past decade, his place in my heart has not been questioned.
It must be said I’m from a family of Neil Diamond lovers. Whatever else we may or may not have in common, this one thing is certain. My sisters love him, my mum loves him and my dad loved him. So I grew up listening to him, in the car, on holiday (the song America was on heavy rotation the year we went to Florida!) and watching The Jazz Singer on video.
There is also a lot of poignancy tied in with this. We choose a Neil Diamond song to be played at my dad’s funeral. It was our choice so we’ve nobody else to blame if the even the first note of the song (Songs of Life) can reduce us to tears.
But still I love Neil. I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go see him play at Glastonbury but I’m still contemplating going to see his Wembley show next month. But as much as I love Neil, £70 seems way too much, no one will go with me and I don’t want to run the risk of flooding the arena with tears. Perhaps I shall just buy the new album instead.