Neil Diamond... why??

Tonight, I’ve got a date, which is a fairly rare occasion for me. I don’t know the woman all that well, but I do know that she’s a rabid Neil Diamond fan (why I know that I won’t get into).

So, I thought, in preparation, I’d just see what the big deal was. I obtained legal copies of 7 or 8 of his songs (aside from ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Coming to America’ which were the only real tunes of his I knew), and I have to ask. What? What is there in this guy that would capture the heart and mind of anyone, let alone a 20-something woman?

Someone want to explain his appeal; musical, sexual, or otherwise? I just don’t get it.

He has a good voice, almost as good as the Mopey-Pop stars of the early 80’s (i.e. echo, Psych-Furs, etc.)

I don’t mind him.

At the local casino boat there’s an upcoming Neil Diamnd tribute show. that means someone has a career, such as it is, impersonating ol’ Neil. Only $10.

Heck of a showman – or so someone tried to convince me, 20 years ago.

I knew of Neil Diamond but wouldn’t classify myself as a “fan” until last winter when visiting my Dad & step-mother we saw a Neil Diamond impersonator.

This guy just plain out and out rocked, had Neil Diamond’s voice, look, and moves down pat. We had a hell of a good time, revelling in the kitzch of it all and reminiscent moments of when we’d heard this or that song the first time.

Since them, I’ve become a little bit of a close Neil Diamond (impersonator!) fan and have been weighing picking up some cd’s of his stuff.

It’s jut a weird thing, don’t try to understand it or evaluate it. Just kick back and sing right along…

Money talks, it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk…
as long as I can have you here with me…
I’d much rather be…
Forever in blue jeans BAAAAABE!


Neil Diamond has a good voice, and has written a handful of top-quality songs. “Cracklin’ Rosie”, for example.

Other good songs by Neil Diamond:

“Cherry Cherry”
“Kentucky Woman”
“Thank The Lord For the Night Time”
“Sweet Caroline”
“Play Me”

As adult MOR goes, Neil Diamond is pretty good. He’s the pop/rock version of Glenn Campbell, writing catchy, singable tunes with a healthy amount of good musicianship. Neither of them have a lot of ‘edge’ to them, so they get dissed a lot by the critics and the snobs. But listent to the music for what it is, and you’ll find it’s surprisingly good.

Don’t forget "I’m A Believer, “I Am, I Said,” and “Cracklin’ Rosie.” He writes fun songs…fun to sing in crowded piano bars.

I think that’s really all there is to his massive appeal.

There’s someone around here who impersonates Neil… he’s called “Nearly Neil” (real name: Bobby Bruce), and is apparently quite good.

My brother and sister went to a Neil Diamond concert once about five years ago… my parents got the tickets from my mom’s work, but couldn’t attend since they had a prior committment. Siblings said it was all right…


Ol’ Neil’s made a lot o’ hay out of three chords, I can tell ya. But you have to give him credit; he was a songwriter before he was a singer, and making squat doing it. So he decided to sing his own stuff and found out he was good at it, which isn’t the case with a lot of songwriters.

Sam Stone, Glenn Campbell sang mostly Jimmy Webb tunes. I don’t think his writing skills were so hot. The Webb songs were musically much more complex and interesting than Diamond’s output, IMO.

I’ll admit that I can appreciate a good Neil Diamond tune. As a vocalist, he’s okay but he has written some decent songs that have roots in soul and rock and even gospel. “I’m a Believer” and “Holly Holy” and “Play Me” and “Red, Red Wine” are pretty good songs.

Compare him to someone like Barry Mannilow. Mannilow’s songs all sound alike at the end of the day. Diamond’s songs seem to have more staying power as evidenced by the covers other bands have done.

Also, “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon.” Everyone loved the version in “Pulp Fiction.” Then they found out Neil Diamond wrote it!

I notice that no one has really commented on the sex appeal.

I’m not going to be the first. So if she thinks he’s hot stuff in that department, well, you’re on your own, bub! :wink:

Neil also wrote Red Red Wine that UB40 covered

Some people hear Neil Diamond and say, “Why?”

Others hear him and say, “Why not?”

Still others see The Jazz Singer and scream, “Sweet Jesus, what the hell was that!”

Chefguy said:

Yeah, I know. I was making a point that Campbell was similar to Diamond in that their lack of ‘edge’ caused a lot of people to overlook the fact that they’ve both made some damned good music. For instance, Campbell is an excellent guitarist, but do you ever hear him mentioned when people talk about good guitarists?

One of the reasons that I am such a Neil Diamond fan is that my parents listened to a lot of his albums when I was little. I guess it imprinted.

Neil Diamond…Neil Diamond…Oh right! He was that character in “Saving Silverman.”


That would be one hell of a sig line.

Nobody’s mentioned “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.” That song rocks.

My sister loved Neil when I was in high school. I never understood either, because his music was so hammy. Just because it was around so much, and because I didn’t have enough money for my own records, I listened to them, and started to like them.
Then, came the inevitable backlash, where I borrowed some punk/new wave kool for a few years.

Later, when I moved to San Francisco, the folksinger/Lesbian activist Phranc performed a Neil Diamond set in full Diamond-drag. It made me want to go back and listen to his stuff all over again. I don’t know how good the show was, but Phranc said it gave her a whole new appreciation of his work. “What a tunesmith!” she said.
I went back and listened. If you choose the real early stuff and some of his less-commercial work, there’s actually something there for the more snobby among us. One of my faves was Longfellow Serenade. I know, I know, a bit too heavy-handed, and had '70’s TM/EST damage all over it, but it really diverged from his more Pop Music efforts. Even some of his more popular work has the touch of face-saving irony in it.

Simple. Neil Diamond wrote good melodies, catchy hooks, and his songs rocked. He was a great pop tunesmith, and I think more and more people are giving Neil Diamond a second chance. Even the snobby indie pop scenesters tolerate him (at least the ones I’m familiar with.) So it’s not unusual to find someone with Husker Du, Black Flag, Sonic Youth, and Pixies albums to have a Neil Diamond or Burt Bacharach records stuck in there. Good music is good music.