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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Review: Neil Diamond is Forever by Jon Bream

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 12:04 PM

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Early on it appears that Neil was pimped out as a dark, brooding New York singer-songwriter and he looks -- dare I say it? -- hot. (Shirtless photo aside.) I must confess, though, that my favorite photo in the book is the one of Neil rehearsing for his 1979 concert tour. He's clad in a sweat jacket, short shorts and white gym shoes with white gym socks and accessorized with aviator sunglasses, a big gold pendant nestled in his chest hair and enormous headphones. He appears to be singing his heart out and there's something so endearingly dorky about it, something that encapsulates the essence of Neil Diamond.

click to enlarge At the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2008. - FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/WHIPER
  • flickr.com/photos/whiper
  • At the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2008.

Neil Diamond is Forever is what Serious Journalists would dismiss as a puff piece. It really is. And yet, upon finishing it, I somehow feel compelled to overcome the cringing distaste I have always felt for Neil Diamond (it didn't help that my younger sister was a fan) and think that maybe -- maybe! -- I should give the old guy another shot and check out 12 Songs and Home Before Dark, his two recent collaborations with Rick Rubin. Somehow Neil still manages to sound cool and funny, in a humble, self-deprecating way, despite all the honey Bream slathers on him. It's the rare rock star who can survive such a hagiography.

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