Monday, May 19, 2008

Me and Neil

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.

8 comments:

Roses said...

Ah, you just sparked off a touch of nostalgia. I just listened to 'I am...I said', 'America', 'You don't bring me flowers' and 'Some song Blue'.

What a great start to a Tuesday morning.

SandDancer said...

Glad to hear there is someone outside of my family who likes him too. I did wonder how he filled arenas if it was just my clan who liked him.

M said...

I'm a closet fan. And I challenge anyone to not tap and sing along to 'Sweeeeet Caroline', bah-bah-bah...

cogidubnus said...

Wonderful stuff...

I still have the vinyl of his first retirement concert...that was (is) a classic...

SandDancer said...

More fans emerge!

When was his first retirement concert? I believe the current tour is a retirement tour and I'm wondering how many others there have been.

cogidubnus said...

Can't remember off-hand...will dig out the LP and have a look...It had Henry Winkler fresh from the US release of "Happy Days" though...so that dates it somewhat!

Rollergirl said...

Don't know if you know this but a week ago I bumped into one of the Smack The Donkey (is that what it's called?) girls in the toilets of a club and she was singing Sweet Caroline at the top of her voice. Transpires she and her mate had just been at a recording of An Audience With Neil Diamond...

SandDancer said...

I watched the Audience with Neil Diamond at the weekend. He was great but the celebrity audience was rather embarrassing.

(I thnk it is called Smack the Pony but I've never seen it so not entirely sure)