And Now, Some Bonus Robert Osborne Content

    Clips from a few episodes of “Good Morning Britain” from 1989 featuring Neil Diamond being interviewed by the show’s Hollywood correspondent, our good friend Robert Osborne. There’s not much of Bob, just the back of his head and his voice, but I thought the SBBN chapter of the Robert Osborne Fan Club might appreciate this. UPDATE 2013: The interview has disappeared off of YouTube, but you can find low-quality clips from the IAISND fan club here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three. And I’d just like to go on record to say that if you can’t calm your nerves during a soothing, ultra professional interview with Robert Osborne, then honey, you are wound too tightly. Jeez, half the time I watch Neil in an interview I want to get him some chamomile tea and a Valium. To my SBBN regulars, if there are any of you left after my near silence of the last few months, I don’t mean to be coy about this current project, which I’m sure seems quite out of character for the blog. It’s all leading up to a review of The Jazz Singer (1980), so… well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say there is method to my madness because there probably isn’t, but there is at least movie content in my madness. Part two of said madness should be arriving in about three weeks, give or take, and a new look for SBBN may be arriving about the same time. It’ll … Continue reading

Neil Diamond’s Birthday (And Sordid Past)

What’s knittin’, Kitten?   There is no better way to celebrate Neil Diamond’s 71st birthday than to tease him about the questionable things he did when he was young. Everyone, go thank Capricornonevintage on Flickr for making your day just a little bit brighter. Then send your happy birthday wishes to Neil on Twitter, because I think he’s finally learned how to read @replies and might actually get your message. Here’s a slightly larger version if you want to read the hilarious ad copy.

The Laughing Devil in His Sneer: Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show

Dick Clark was especially cranky that August afternoon in 1966. For a decade he had been asking harmless questions of both guests and giggly teens on “American Bandstand,” but today’s silly subject irritated him, made him self conscious. A professional study had recently claimed most men within a few years would be wearing long hair. Sensing perhaps that his own mathematically correct hair was no longer hip, he must have felt this new singer, a young man stalwartly holding on to a magnificent late-era rockabilly pompadour in the age of shaggy hair, was a kindred spirit. After the rocker threw a sexy hey-baby head swagger at the girls, Clark asked him his thoughts on long hair. The kid managed an answer of a sort, too nervous to make much sense but also entirely uninterested in the subject. Frustrated, Clark bared his sharp teeth in an attempted smile, then asked the singer the title of his new album. More nervous than you’d expect a tall, rebellious kid clad in deliberate brooding black to be, he stammered out: “The album is called ‘The Neil of…’ uh, ‘The Neil of…,’ no, it’s called ‘The Feel of Neil Diamond.’” For decades, Diamond has spun the romantic tale of that all-black wardrobe of his early days as a manifestation of his intense performance insecurity. But amidst a culture that dictated bright clothing, his dark monochrome look was bound to generate attention. When he played the Hollywood Bowl in 1966 he strode on stage in black … Continue reading

Matter of fact, it’s all dark.

“One of these days I’m going to write a song that makes someone want to cry.” — Neil Diamond, Teen Screen Magazine, March 1967   When The Neil Diamond Collection arrived in the mail last month, I had forgotten I ever ordered it. For most of my 39-ish years, Neil Diamond was simply never on my radar except as a familiar cultural presence, some dude I heard twice a year on the radio but knew nothing about.  Yet something lead me to order that Neil Diamond CD. Curiosity, maybe, or an accident of random firing neurons. Perhaps it was the booze. Oh, did I mention I had consumed half a bottle of Machete before ordering The Neil Diamond Collection? Because I had consumed half a bottle of Machete before ordering The Neil Diamond Collection. My only memory of this is peering at the Amazon screen through eyes gummed up from drink and 12-hour-old mascara. It was a proud moment. Roughly one week later, sober and trusting that every package delivered to the house contained either happiness or fun or, on really good days, both, I opened the box to find Neil Diamond staring at me. That photo bothered me, induced an unidentifiable, inexplicable, but very real disturbance. A few days later my husband, who knew I was in the throes of some weird ennui-induced thing improbably triggered by a greatest hits album, kindly turned the album cover around. Now it was a slightly older photo from Diamond’s Greek Theater engagement … Continue reading