Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Neil Diamond: A Guided Tour

There is a list of the best songs/performances by Neil Diamond at Of course, it's beyond their ability not to be snarky about him, even though he has written who knows how many hit songs and has millions of fans. However, there are some nice choices. Here are some, with RS comments:

"I Am...I Said" (Live) (1972)
The 1971 studio version of Neil's existential anthem was the big hit, but the fantastically overwrought live rendition from 1972's Hot August Night is even better. "I need, I want, I care, I weep, I ache, I am, I said, I am, I said," offers our denim-clad philosopher, and it's so true.

"The Pot Smoker's Song" (1968)
"La Bamba" meets "Revolution No. 9" on this utterly bizarre anti-drug sound collage, also from Velvet Gloves and Spit. You simply haven't lived until you've heard Neil bawling "Pot, pot, gimme some pot!" backed by a kiddie chorus, while former addicts testify how they went from smoking weed to "shooting acid into my spine."

"Solitary Man" (1966)
Neil's first hit single, "Solitary Man" remains the most brilliantly efficient song in the Diamond collection. There's not a wasted word or chord in this two-and-a-half minute anthem of heartbreak and self-affirmation, which introduced the melancholy loner persona that he's repeatedly returned to throughout his career.
I heard some of the new record. I like the "Hell Yeah" song.

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