Musical Maestro: Neil Diamond

The Hall of Musical Maestros (<- more on this in the next post … or the one after the next post) comprises of artists in the instrumental genre but that’s about to change as I introduce you all to Neil Diamond, an actual living gem. Handsome in his youth with his rich dreamy voice led women to fall over themselves for a wink in their direction. Age has done nothing to him, he’s as talented as he was some 50 years ago. I was 15 or 16, two or three years ago, when I found his tunes in my Uncle Chin’s car and I will forever love him.

Neil’s one-of-a-kind hold-me-tight voice + the lively (or the heart rending poignant) accompanying instrumentals are simply beautiful, his words were written from the depths of his heart, some from his experiences in life. Shilo drew tears from my eyes, (yes, I can be very emotional and sensitive sometimes) listen to it and you’ll know why and maybe, who knows, you might have felt the same way, lived through the same things too.

Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades from the 1960s until the present.

As of 2001, Diamond had sold over 115 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. He is considered to be the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton John. His songs have been covered internationally by many performers from various musical genres.

Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, he received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and in 2011 was an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors. He has eight number one hit singles with “Cracklin Rosie“, “Song Sung Blue“, “Desiree”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers“, “Love On The Rocks“, “America”, “Yesterday’s Songs”, and “Heartlight”.

Diamond continues to record and release new material and maintains an extensive touring schedule as well.

- Wikipedia

Watching him play is not my usual YouTube experience. I can say that I see he has beautiful eyes, but sometimes sad at the same time, there’s this aura of innocence that surrounds him but I know that he’s seen a lot in his 71 years. I don’t know him personally but I fancy he’s as honest and deep as his songs are and authentic as his charming voice.

According to David Wild, common themes in Diamond’s songs are “a deep sense of isolation and an equal desire for connection. A yearning for home — and at the same time, the allure of greater freedom. The good, the bad and the ugly about a crazy little thing called love.”

- YouTube description of Play Me

At Lincoln, the school from which he received his high school diploma, he was a member of the fencing team. He later attended NYU on a fencing scholarship, specializing in saber, and was a member of the 1960 NCAA men’s championship team; into his adult life he maintained his swordsmanship skills and continued to warm up with fencing exercises before his concerts. In a live interview with TV talk show host Larry King, Diamond explained his decision to study medicine by pointing out:

I actually wanted to be a laboratory biologist. I wanted to study. And I really wanted to find a cure for cancer. My grandmother had died of cancer. And I was always very good at the sciences. And I thought I would go and try and discover the cure for cancer.

However, during his senior year in NYU, a music publishing company made him an offer he could not refuse: an offer to write songs for $50 a week. This started him on the road to stardom.

- Wikipedia

Here’s one of my other favourite songs of his:

Where ever you are Mr.Diamond, thank you so very much for the music, for sharing what’s in your heart. I love you. I really really hope he reads this. *sighs*