Neil Diamond is an American singer-songwriter who writes hits
A singer and songwriter who wrote hits for The Monkees
I first heard American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond back in the late sixties on the radio. I think it was probably Kenny Everett's show and other DJs on BBC Radio 1 who were playing Sweet Caroline, Cracklin' Rosie and Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show.
I suppose I was hooked from that time on although Neil Diamond's very American, very middle-of-the-road pop ballads were a far cry from the protest folk and psychedelic rock I was getting into. And then there were The Monkees and they had a number one with I'm a Believer, which just happened to have been a song written by Neil Diamond.
That impressed me in a big way, that here was a guy who sings and writes his own top-class material but could also write songs that when covered by a band like The Monkees hit the top of the charts.
Neil Diamond's hit songs
The Monkees had another big hit with a Neil Diamond song when they released A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. Over the years that were to follow Neil Diamond's songs were to be covered by many other acts including Elvis Presley who recorded his version of Diamond's Sweet Caroline .
Britain's Cliff Richard covered several Neil Diamond songs including his versions of I’ll Come Running,Solitary Man , and Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon .
Neil Diamond had become a singer-songwriter who turned out hit songs for himself and for other artists and so his remarkable career has continued that has established him as one of the top performers and writers in the world of popular music and entertainment.
Wikipedia informs us:
"As of 2001 Diamond has 115 million records sold worldwide, including 48 million records in the U.S. In terms of Billboard chart success, he is the third most successful Adult Contemporary artist ever, ranking behind only Barbra Streisand and Elton John."
I Am I Said
For me personally, the song I love most of all by Neil Diamond is I Am, I Said . The first verse and chorus of which goes:
"L.A.'s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is 'lay back'
Palm trees grow, and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin' about
Making my way back
Well I'm New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I'm lost between two shores
L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more
"I am," I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
"I am," I cried
"I am," said I
And I am lost, and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still."
Strangely for me, although this song came out way back in 1971 when I related to what it was about then, I actually find myself living in the situation described to a large degree today. I swapped living in Wales to come to Tenerife which has palm trees and low rents that Neil Diamond sings of, and I find myself literally "lost between two shores" because all my family and very many of my friends are all over in the UK but I am here on this island I love.
On Tenerife there are very many successful acts on the entertainment circuit that specialise in doing cover versions of songs by a chosen internationally-known act. One such singer here is Charlie Hodge, who only does Neil Diamond songs, although he also performs in the UK as one half of the Vegas Kings with his brother covering Elvis Presley songs.
Charlie knows I love I Am, I Said, and if I am present at one of his gigs he always dedicates this song to me.
© 2010 Steve Andrews
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