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19 May 2007

Any Neil Diamond fans out there? Honestly, maybe because my parents were big fans and listened to him alongside some really godawful stuff that I've blocked out, I used to think Neil Diamond was all schmaltz. But recently I've heard a few earlier songs (I can't tell you what they are, unfortunately) that I really, well, liked. A lot. Any recommendations on albums to start with for a Neil Diamond n00b?
Check out Scorses' Last Waltz documentary on The Band featuring himself.
posted by StickyCarpet 19 May | 15:09
jrossi and jonmc luv the neil. I'll see if I can find the thread.
posted by iconomy 19 May | 15:09
posted by iconomy 19 May | 15:10
You're probably going to want something that has these songs on it: Sweet Caroline, I got the feelin (oh no, no), Shilo, Cracklin' Rosie, Song Sung Blue, I am...I said, Girl you'll be a woman soon (this was used in Pulp Fiction), and Cherry, Cherry. (I'm sure I left good stuff out of that list.)

There are about 4,903 Neil Diamond Greatest Hits cds out there. I'd browse my local used music store first.

Or just go to your favorite megastore and buy The Essential Neil Diamond. (That'll have a bit of everything.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten 19 May | 15:13
Neil's good, but he's better appreciated by the song rather than by the album. He, of course wrote "I'm A Believer" for the Monkees and "Kentucky Woman" later covered by Deep Purple. On his own: "Sweet Caroline" "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Solitary Man" are the biggest hits and fittingly, they're his best.
posted by jonmc 19 May | 15:15
I like Neil. Who doesn't love "Sweet Caroline"? I like most of his stuff. I even like the Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond duet, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", which is the epitome of sap. I usually don't go for stuff like this, but there's something about these two great voices together. I think Neil Diamond wrote this song.
posted by LoriFLA 19 May | 15:25
Neil could write a helluva pop song. I like about 2/3 of his hits. His album filler however is totally unremarkable. Search for him on Google Blogs, you will find tons of mp3s available.
posted by mischief 19 May | 15:37
I not only am fond of Neil Diamond, I probably really like whatever the "godawful stuff" is that you've blocked out.
posted by JanetLand 19 May | 15:38
Yay, thanks so much all! (And thanks, iconomy, for finding that thread!)
posted by treepour 19 May | 15:43
JanetLand, hope I didn't offend. It probably wasn't as bad as I remember -- at that point I probably thought it was lame simply because my parents like it so much. In later years, their tastes changed. My mom became a Prince & Elton John fan, and my Dad somehow got turned on to Roxxy Music. Totally f'in bizarre. Around the same time I got into Laurie Anderson, who freaked both of them out. "Why is she so anti-American? And why doesn't she sing?" my dad would ask.
posted by treepour 19 May | 15:47
If I was going to own one Diamond album, it might be Beautiful Noise. But hey, I'm a contrarian, and I like The Band. Or, alternately, I'm a cheapskate, and BN makes an appearance in a solid majority of every used-record store I've visited in my entire life. It must've been one of those shipped-gold-and-returned-platinum albums, like the KISS solo records.
posted by box 19 May | 16:03
Oh, no, no problem treepour. As I'm sure I've said on here before, I just happen to have the music tastes of a 1960s housewife. :)

Oh, and don't forget about Diamond's soundtrack to the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Mmmmmmm.
posted by JanetLand 19 May | 16:32
any of his mca stuff will do nicely.
posted by syntax 19 May | 18:01
My older sister was deeply into Neil when we were kids, so I got indoctrinated by constant exposure. My favorite was Tap Root Manuscript. The faux african suite on side two is truly awesome, and it has Cracklin' Rosie and Freelife.
posted by doctor_negative 19 May | 19:28
To get started, go with this collection. A nice mix of studio and live work.

n'thning Tap Root Manuscript. Don't forget Hot August Night.
posted by disclaimer 19 May | 19:33
Girl, you'll be a woman soon
Cherry, Cherry
I Got the Feelin' (Oh no, no) can be found here. (Good for a week.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten 19 May | 23:21
Back in the early 70s, I sold a blue ton of stereo equipment on Neil Diamond records. His music was so undemanding of speakers, that it was the ne plus ultra of demo records in most every high end stereo store in America, and I owe the guy, personally, big time, for helping me pay off the births of Son #1 and Son #2.

Other than that, I've never listened to his stuff.

But there was one week in 1972 where Solitary Man helped me sell $20K of JBL D130s, LE85s, and 2405 slot radiators, plus some high end McIntosh amps, to a divorcing dentist, and a recently divorced dermatologist in Kansas City. We took apart their walls, bolted up plywood in place of drywall, filled the spaces betweeen the studs with sand, and hung massive full baffle JBL speaker systems in their walls. And afterward, I got real drunk and cried like a baby with these good men, and introduced them, and we played Neil Diamond records on their new stereos and drank Johnnie Walker, until the grooves wore out.

... Dont know that I will
But until I can find me
A girl who'll stay
And won't play games behind me
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man ...

Damn straight, Dr. W and Dr. S. Hope y'all got better lawyers, in the end...

And thanks again, Neil.
posted by paulsc 20 May | 02:18
That's beautiful, paulsc. I'm going to remember that story in the near future when I've loaded up a selection of Neil Diamond songs on my mp3 player, am drunk, and am ready to cry.
posted by treepour 20 May | 02:37
Neil Diamond was a pretty decent songwriter, but the self-conscious hipster adoration of him in the late 90s got to be really annoying after a while. Now that that has calmed down a bit, I can appreciate him once again.
posted by psmealey 20 May | 11:43
I was thinking that the self-conscious adoration peaked with Urge Overkill's cover of 'Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon.'

Also, there was some article I read a while ago, about irony, which briefly touched on that movie Saving Silverman, whose main characters play, unironically, in a Diamond cover band. I can't remember anything else about this article, and I don't know a single person who's even seen Saving Silverman (though I think I read a Filthy Critic review of it), but that's the difference between Gen-X and Gen-Y, right there.
posted by box 20 May | 12:02
I think that's where it started, box (featured on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack), not where it peaked. It's possible this was just a West Coast thing, but I remember tedious Neil Diamond tribute acts (following the lead of long time faves like SuperDiamond) cropping up everywhere from LA to Seattle in the 1998-2000 period.
posted by psmealey 20 May | 12:06
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