Star '81 RKO (5-24-81)
Announcer: Neil Diamond… an artist so full of power and sensitivity. His music never fails to move millions.
Play: “Cracklin’ Rosie,” I Am…I Said,” “Desiree,” “Forever In Blue Jeans,” “JLS” medley.
Announcer: Neil Diamond… a Brooklyn boy with a certain shyness and brooding introspection that would eventually lead him and his songs out of Tin Pan Alley and straight to the top of the charts.
Whether Neil Diamond’s songs are recorded in the studio or at one of his commanding, sizzling live performances, the tunes stand as some of the most effective and soul-bearing moments pop music has to offer.
Play: “Cherry, Cherry”
Announcer: Back in the late sixties and throughout the nineteen seventies, the name Neil Diamond stood for a style of songwriting that tapped into true feelings and set these most personal sentiments to melodies that were sometimes deceptively simple, but always unforgettable. But as exciting as the individual songs may be, entire Neil Diamond albums themselves are often stunning collections of thematically entangled works. There is also documentation on disc of Neil Diamond’s tremendous popularity in concert and the magical, musical frenzy the man is capable of creating.
And now, another major step for Neil Diamond and his loyal audience …the opportunity to branch out beyond his songs…beyond albums …beyond soundtracks. Neil Diamond has made a movie.
Neil: Well, it’s all like a banquet, you know. So you don’t have to overdo any of those things. You can do each in it’s own time and it’s own place when you think you can do it well. And that’s the luxury and that’s the responsibility. Then you have to decide what it is you want to do. You know how much work is involved in any project. I can spend a year on an album. I spent three and a half years on this movie. Touring is major. And think what is it you want to do? What is the thing that gets you most excited or makes you scared the most? If it gets you scared, right away I think maybe that’s something I should be doing. Scary stuff is good. It’s exciting! You know, but I just did a very scary thing. I just made a movie and I acted in it and I sang in it…I wrote the songs and I’m real happy with the way it came out. I thought it came out pretty good so I don’t know if I want to do anything scary again for another year or two. I think I want to do things that I know about…concerts, songwriting…mostly concerts, I think.
Announcer: But before Neil Diamond sets out once again on the concert circuit, he takes a closer look at the very movie that he not only wrote and sang the songs for, but also acted in. The movie, of course, “The Jazz Singer.”
Neil: When I heard of the project , it was something that I felt was interesting. I knew the story of it and I thought it was something that would scare the hell out of me. And so I decided to do it. Jerry Lewis did it as a television kind of musical drama in the early sixties. It’s a classic story. It’ll be done again and again and again and I think that’s why it has been done so many times in the past. I’m just giving a 1980’s version of it. Somebody will come along in 2001 and do their own version of it.
Announcer: The original version of “The Jazz Singer” was Al Jolson’s, back in 1927. It was the first talkie ever made for the movies. Sweeping film out of the silent era and all the way to the state of the arts cinema sound of today. How does Diamond feel his Jazz Singer stands up to that precedent setting original?
Neil: I love the movie. I love the movie. There are things in it that I do that make me a little self conscious, but I think I got away very lucky. I think I could have come off very foolish in it and for some reason I look reasonably natural up on the screen and people believe what I’m saying, but I love watching it now, especially that it’s over. You know, the work itself was very very hard and I don’t look forward to doing that again. It was a big job. It was really more than I would want to do again real soon. I’d much prefer just to write the music for a story…for a Broadway show, or play in a Broadway show or in a film and concentrate on the one. It was a big job, but it was the only way that they would do it. They wouldn’t do the movie if I didn’t do the music. And I wanted to do the movie.
Announcer: And so Neil Diamond did do the movie, leaving us with not only a memorable performance as Jess Robin, struggling songwriter, but also a soundtrack full os some of his very best songs.
Play: “Amazed and Confused,” “Hey Louise,” “Hello Again,” “America,” “Love On
Neil: I tried to write for other people. I was a staff writer. I was a professional songwriter. I was being paid to be a songwriter… to write songs on demand for specific artists. I tried to do it for a long time and was just barely able to survive for it was a hand to mouth existence, but I wasn’t very successful at it. Matter of fact, I was spectacularly unsuccessful at it and I didn’t really begin to blossom until I began to write songs not for somebody else or from some other point of view, but from my own perspective and something that was pleasing to me. And I learned how to do that. I spent a year in a room and I learned how to get in touch with my own feelings and put it in contact with the music and make something that I felt. From that point on, I was off and running. Three months after that I had my first hit record, a song that I had written, and I was off and running.
Announcer: Once Diamond made that serious effort to write there was no stopping him on the road to sensational song writing success. Even a very early single called “Clown Town” that never quite took off couldn’t dampen Diamond’s desire to make it. Then there was a top twenty hit Diamond came up with for Jay and the Americans, 1965’s “Sunday and Me.” What turned Neil Diamond to songwriting in the first place?
Neil: It’s just something that I started doing. I don’t know exactly why. I thought it was kind of strange for me to do. I had never been interested in it before, but I took a few guitar lessons and I learned a chord progression one summer. And the day that I learned the chord progression I wrote a song. I don’t know why I wrote it, It just came out. It was pretty basic, but it was a song. It had words that followed a theme. It had a melody that was not too bad. So when I did that, I kind of sat back and looked at it and said, well, maybe I should do it again. That was fun and I’ve been doing it since then.
Announcer: How about when it came to recording what was destined to be Diamond’s first real hit? Was there anything about stepping inside the recording studio that made Neil feel, well…green?
Neil: No, I wasn’t green at all. I’d made hundreds of demonstration records of my songs so I knew my way around a recording studio. At least I wasn’t green. I’d been making demonstration records for years, but having “Solitary Man” on the charts as my first record with my name attached to it was tremendously exciting. It was the first recognition, really, for myself and although the song wasn’t a big hit nationally, it did very well in certain areas and had a fairly respectable showing nationally.
Play: “Solitary Man”
Neil: There are a number of songs that I don’t really sit and listen to for one reason or another, but most of the songs that turned out to be hits are songs that you can still listen to. There was a reason, I guess, that they were hits. There was something good about them that people liked and that I still like. I still do “Cherry, Cherry” in my show and love it. You know, I still do “Kentucky Woman,” but these songs weren’t accepted on a critical level when they were put out. I mean “Kentucky Woman” and “Cherry, Cherry” and “Solitary Man” weren’t where it was at. They were just kind of my own things. I love the fact that I can put the radio on and hear “Cherry, Cherry” today. It’s great! I wrote it fifteen years ago.
Play: “Cherry, Cherry”
Announcer: Neil Diamond goes from medical school to the Monkees when we returns with tonight’s FM 96 Special.
Announcer: It’s been a long haul for Neil Diamond from Erasmus Hall and Lincoln High Schools in Brooklyn to the hallowed halls of superstardom. Not many make it, especially those who start college on a fencing scholarship with plans for a medical career.
Neil: I was a very good science student in school and I wanted to be a doctor. I was serious about it. I wanted to get into the sciences somehow and so music was just something that I found along the way and fell in love with. I’ve been singing since I was a kid just for my own pleasure even though I knew I had a voice when I was nine years old. I once let out a note and it actually came out and sounded great, but I never really took it seriously. When you’re a kid you get these comic books and in the back they have all these little ads… you know, you sell this many greeting cards and you can win these prizes: roller skates, bow and arrow, bicycle, guitar… Wait…I stopped at the guitar. The guitar! Gee, that looks neat, you know. So I was attracted to that from the time that I was a kid …singing cowboy. I think the singing cowboy was the thing and I guess that’s where it all started.
Announcer: Just as Neil Diamond was starting out with his own records, he became the man behind the hits for a very important group in 1967.
Play: “I’m A Believer” (The Monkees), “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”
Announcer: “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”… just one of the many early tunes Neil Diamond was wowing them with on stage in the sixties.
Neil: So at that time I was doing rock and roll shows in 1966 and 67 and most of the audience were teenaged girls… fourteen and fifteen and sixteen and so that was basically what my audience was… teenaged girls. So I guess I wrote a few of those earlier songs for them, you know. I think probably “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” was probably written to be performed in front of an audience of girls which is the best audience in the world ’cause they go crazy. They go nuts and it’s fun for a guy to be able to do that.
Announcer: Even if those tours were nothing like the major productions of today, the magic of stepping out and performing in front of an audience was still strong enough to hold Diamond.
Neil: It was very very exciting. I was out on my own. I was away from my neighborhood. I was away…you know I was out for the first time, really, in a serious way, traveling and meeting new people and going in front of audiences of all types that had never seen me before, you know, or knew who I was, or cared, you know. Every night was the unknown… stepping out into the unknown. You never knew what was going to happen, but it was fun. I loved it. I loved every minute of it.
Announcer: The growing number of Neil Diamond fans were quickly learning to love every minute of it as well, especially with songs like “Kentucky Woman,” one that Diamond says he is still proud of, even though it first came out back in October of 1967.
Play: “Kentucky Woman”
Announcer: On the road with Brother Love when Neil Diamond continues on FM 96 KRAV right after this.
Announcer: From the coffee house circuit of New York’s Greenwich Village to the teeny bopper hit trail is a major move for any performer and when the singer/songwriter happened to be a serious artist with a conscious, that road can become overly predictable and eventually damaging, but Neil Diamond album efforts like “Velvet Gloves and Spit” and “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” helped prevent all that. By showing his spiritual side, Diamond also proved himself to be a poet and a craftsman.
Neil: There’s definitely some kind of spiritual side to my nature and it comes out in the songs. It’s part of me so it’s part of the songs I write. Tell about that. I’ve never laid too heavily on it. I’ve never pushed it. It’s just part of my feeling about God and man and the nature of things. And so every once in a while a song like Brother Love, Holly Holy, or even the score for Jonathan Seagull, which was very highly spiritual in nature. The whole thing was written on a spiritual level. They come out, but fortunately I don’t let them get the best of me.
Play: “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”
Neil: Well, everybody who likes rock and roll has got to love gospel because that’s rock and roll. That’s the essence of it, I think. So I’ve always loved gospel and I’ve sung with choruses from the time I was a youngster…from the time I was fourteen. So I loved that sound. I try to use it whenever I get the chance.
Announcer: “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” was a landmark record for Neil Diamond. It established him even more securely as a dramatic songwriter and performer with a huge impact on the rock scene as it slid into the seventies. And for Neil Diamond it all comes together in the studio.
Neil: It’s really a joy to work in the studio because you are creating something from nothing and you think well maybe this is going to be good or maybe somebody will like it or maybe it will be worth while or maybe it will even be great! Once in a while you get an inkling that maybe something’s going to be great. So that’s exciting and working in the studio with musicians …they’ve got to be like brothers. You can’t have musicians arguing with each other or uptight with each other…even uptight with the session. It’s one difference that I discovered between films and music. You can’t make music when you don’t love each other. You can make films when you don’t love each other. You know, the director hates the writer or the writer hates the actor and the two actors are not talking to each other off the set. And still they make a movie. They’re actors. They’re making believe. But there’s no making believe in music…not when you’re creating it. It’s real and if you don’t feel good…feel good about it…you’re not going to come up with anything worth any thing. So why waste your time? So it’s a brotherhood in the recording studio and it’s a very exciting time for me. I can go in a recording studio with my band and work and sing for four hours or five hours or six hours and not even notice it… not even think about the time. And of course when you come up with a track or a vocal or a performance that you love, it’s there on tape. You have it for all time. This is your painting. So it’s very exciting. It’s always been exciting to me.
Announcer: And out of that excitement comes success… the phenomenally huge “Sweet Caroline.”
Play: “Sweet Caroline”
Announcer: Coming up on FM 96 KRAV …a number one song about cheap red wine when we continue with tonight’s Neil Diamond Special.
Announcer: 1970 was a sold-out year for Neil Diamond as he packed in audiences across the country and entertained them with strong versions of the hits sung in his by now familiar husky growl of a voice. From rock to gospel to ballads, there was always something inspirational and revealing about Diamond’s music. And with each composition, he continued to climb towards his most difficult and personal music to date. Along the way, says Diamond, there were definitely some favorites.
Neil: “Holly Holy” was definitely one of my favorite songs. It got me off. It just …you know, it made me crazy when I wrote it. I thought it was special. It was kind of magical. I remember carrying the tapes to the airport after the session and thinking “Wow,” you know, pretty soon the world is going to hear this, you know, because I loved it so much. I thought everybody would love it and it worked. It doesn’t always work like that, I mean you fall in love with something and think it’s great, and people just yawn. But “Holly Holy” I felt I really loved it and I wanted it to be heard.
Play: “Holly Holy”
Neil: I recorded all over the country and in England …also we did some sessions in England and I find that it doesn’t really matter where you record as long as the equipment is up to par…as long as the attitude and the mood around is good, it doesn’t matter where you record. I recorded in Memphis and the musicians had their own special thing and they were wonderful. It was the first ensemble that I’d ever worked with and these musicians that had worked together for many years and know each other very well and when that happens, it becomes very special. When we were down there we recorded “Holly Holy,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” There were only five musicians on the sessions, but it was an ensemble group and they were wonderful and they brought those songs to life. They made great records.
Announcer: Great records like “Holly Holy” were becoming a Neil Diamond trademark. With a greatest hits package called “Gold” in the national top ten late in 1970 and reissues of some of the early Diamond hits also appearing on the charts, Diamond was definitely a bright and shining force in the music field. With the obvious talent, came some surprising experimentation. For his next album, “Taproot Manuscript,” Diamond stunned everyone with his masterful and innovative “African Trilogy.” With this rhythmic interpretation of the life cycle of man Diamond broke new ground and even managed to make his fascination with native melody into a stirring and soulful single.
Announcer: The album “Taproot Manuscript” gave Neil Diamond enough room to include more innovative rock along with his African rhythms, but one very special number one song from “Taproot Manuscript” gave Neil Diamond not just a gold record when it rose to the top, but the satisfaction of a story well told.
Neil: “Cracklin’ Rosie” was like a folk story that I heard in Canada…a story about an Indian tribe on a reservation in Canada. They have reservations in Canada as well as the United States and the story goes that there were more men than there were women in this tribe and Saturday night there were a lot of guys without girls. So they’d go down to the general store and get themselves a big bottle of very cheap wine called Cracklin’ Rose wine and that bottle would become their woman for the night and they called the woman “Cracklin’ Rosie.” And I decided that I wanted to put it into song form.
Play: “Cracklin’ Rosie”
Announcer: When we return with more Neil Diamond, he talks about his hit that’s so simple even his son can sing it.
Announcer: At the end of the psychedelic and idealistic sixties, Neil plunged into the seventies or the “me” decade and landed squarely on the charts. As personal growth movements and celebrations of self became ways of life for aware Americans, Diamond’s own exploratory opus opened up the singer’s soul to millions. Neil Diamond says for that reason, the tune was a tough one.
Neil: Well, I have a love hate relationship with “I Am…I Said” because it was so hard to write. It took a lot out of me and for that reason I really disliked the song for a while. It made me angry. It took too much from me. It was such a difficult melody to say the words that I wanted to say to it. Although I started with the title and the concept at first, I had to put words to it and say…did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of being a king. It was just real rough from a songwriting point of view. I wanted it to fulfill it’s destiny. I thought “I Am…I Said” had a little bit of a destiny to it. I don’t know what it was, but it felt good to me.
Play: “I Am…I Said”
Neil: There are some that are incompleted, but I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from a tough song. If I thought it had potential to be really good.
Neil: What is it that you want to do? What’s the thing that gets you most excited or makes you scared the most? If it gets you scared, right away I think maybe that’s something I should be doing. Scary stuff is good. It’s exciting, you know. But I just did a very scary thing. I just made a movie and I acted in it and I sang in it. I wrote the songs and I’m real happy with the way it came out. I thought it came out pretty good. So I don’t know if I’d want to do anything scary again for another year or two. I think I want to do things that I know about …concerts, songwriting… mostly concerts.
Play: ” Song Sung Blue”
Announcer: Coming up on FM 96 KRAV… the best way to bring two old Brooklyn kids together…give them a hit.
Announcer: Back in the late sixties and throughout the nineteen seventies the name Neil Diamond stood for a style of songwriting that tapped into true feelings and set these most personal sentiments to melodies that were sometimes deceptively simple, but always unforgettable. But as exciting as the individual songs may be, entire Neil Diamond albums themselves are often stunning collections of thematically entangled work. There was also documentation on disc of Neil Diamond’s tremendous popularity in concert and the magical, musical frenzy that the man is capable of creating.
Play: “Walk On Water”
Play: “Play Me”
Neil: Well, it’s all like a banquet, you know. So you don’t have to overdo any of those things. You can do each in it’s own time and it’s own place when you think you can do it well. That’s the luxury and that’s the responsibility, also.
Play: “Longfellow Serenade”
Announcer: Survival on the streets and in the jungle of the music world was an experience known as day to day living for Neil Diamond back in the early 1960’s. The frustrations and heartaches of the Tin Pan Alley existence eventually came out in Diamond’s autobiographical “Beautiful Noise” album, with it’s emphasis on pouring your heart out with every note you wrote… all for a song.
Neil: I was assigned as a staff writer to a CBS music publishing company and I worked there for about two years. They brought in a new head of the publishing company and he just started letting people go and I was one of those people that they let go and it had just been my last chance. I’d worked for five different music publishers in New York as a staff writer and never earned a penny for any of them and placed my songs without about thirty publishers and this was like my last chance at it and when they let me go, I realized that I’d have to really get my act together and figure out what I was going to do. So I took a tiny office somewhere and I locked the door for a year and I learned what songwriting was all about… not on demand, but real songwriting…inspired songwriting… when you get it inspired. It’s not always there when you want it.
Play: “Beautiful Noise”
Neil: I didn’t know I would be a success at all, but I knew that I had found some kind of connection with music that I wasn’t able to find before. So it was very exciting. It was exhilarating. It gave me hope. It gave me a new burst of energy because I had spent eight years knocking around trying to do it the other way, you know. So it was new found hope, you know.
Play: “If You Know What I Mean”
Announcer: “If You Know What I Mean” from the “Beautiful Noise” LP in 1976 signaled a return to the road for Neil Diamond… a move that would make not just his American fans ecstatic, but also concert goers in Australia and New Zealand. From there the Diamond World Tour took on Las Vegas and on July 4th, the nation’s 200th birthday, Diamond became the premiere performer at the Aladdin Theatre. Neil Diamond, the entertainer, was back!
Neil: I’m more at ease now as a performer, probably more at ease as a person as well. The concerts are more fun. I want them to be fun. That’s my goal. I want myself to have fun and I want everybody else in the joint to have fun, too. And I’ll do whatever it takes for people to have a good time. Whatever it takes! They keep the battery charged for the whole show. I mean, they’re the power source. I’m the voice and they’re the power source. The louder they get, the better I get.
Announcer: Getting better all the time was how the fans saw Neil Diamond in 1976. For his triumphant come back at LA’s Greek Theatre, the tapes were rolling once again and this time so were the television cameras. “The Neil Diamond Special” captured the intensity of Neil live for the TV audience and “Love At The Greek” became Diamond’s latest hit album early in 1977.
Announcer: Also that year, another TV special, “I’m Glad You’re Here With Me Tonight” and an album of the same name. One hit from that album, “Desiree.” As the song entered the charts, Diamond himself found his way into some of the classiest concert halls in Europe for his first string of performances there in five years. One British appearance became the largest one-man show in entertainment history. Seventy-five thousand people turned out to see Neil Diamond at Woburn Abbey.
Announcer: Coming up on FM 96 KRAV the best way to bring two old Brooklyn kids together.
Announcer: Every great song writer has a particular style when it comes to setting down words and music for posterity. For some, the melody must be number one in the scheme of things, but for Neil Diamond the lyric is at least as important.
Neil: The lyric is definitely half of the song and sometimes it’s all of the song. Usually I’ll write a melody first and let the melody suggest the mood and sometimes even the story that the lyrics will have to tell. There have been a few situations along the way where I’ve written a lyric first, completely, without any melody and then put a melody to it. The most well known example of that is “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” which an entire lyric was written which I wrote with the Bergmans, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and then I took the lyric and put the music to it.
Announcer: “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” one of the strangest success stories of a song in the seventies. Of course everyone knows it as a duet sung by two of the biggest guns in music today, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, but originally the two stars had recorded solo versions of the ballad. A radio program director in Louisville, Kentucky first spliced together the double Diamond/Streisand version as a present to his ex wife and ended up playing in on the air as well. Listener response was tremendous and Columbia records talked Neil Diamond and his former high school classmate, Barbra Streisand, into cutting a studio version. The result…Columbia’s best selling single ever, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” And for the radio programmer who started the whole thing, a telegram from Streisand and from Diamond… flowers.
Play “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”
Neil: The lyric to “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” is a very finely tuned lyric and I think part of the reason for that is the fact that I wrote it with other people and so we were constantly reworking it and it’s the style of the lyric that came out between the three of us. Usually my lyrics aren’t that well honed.
Announcer: “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” was a brilliant combination of talents. Not just Streisand and Diamond as performers, but the Bergmans and Diamond as songwriters. But starting way back with “Solitary Man,” Neil Diamond always appeared to be a loner, especially when it came to composing. So why the collaboration?
Neil: Actually I prefer to write with other people. It’s a lot easier. It’s more fun. You can laugh and talk and chat about things and share the excitement of having an idea, a line, or an idea for a lyric or melody. It’s more fun to work with someone else, but there’s something also very satisfying about going off and doing it by yourself, but I’d like to work both ways. I mean…I will work both ways.
Announcer: Even after all these years making records and all of the obvious successes, there are still some things that astound and impress Neil Diamond… like the thrill of holding your latest effort hot off the press.
Neil: It’s always amazing to have to get a record from the company with your name on it…and the song, and you play it and it’s you singing. It’s always been exciting for me and it still is. When I get an album… I finish an album and they do all the artwork and they finally press them up and you get the finished album with that clear wrapping on it, you know. And it’s perfect and it’s the way you wanted it. Just to hold it in your hand…it’s tremendously exciting for me…still today after making twenty-five albums. It’s a big kick and you know, the first few days I just hold it and show it to everybody and open it up and say “Wow! Look at this!” It’s a great feeling. It’s one of the things I look forward to in making records.
Play: “Forever In Blue Jeans”
Announcer: What it was like for Neil Diamond to see himself upon the screen for the very first time. The Neil Diamond Special here on KLDY.
Announcer: For Neil Diamond each step towards success has been a tremendous and satisfying challenge. And “The Jazz Singer,” his first own screen acting assignment is no exception. Devoted Diamond fans are thrilled to see their hero larger than life in the theater and Neil Diamond was thrilled to have worked with such a talented film cast and crew.
Neil: There were a number of talented people, actors and actresses. I felt the cast was very special. I loved watching the other actors work. I loved watching the dailys of them. You know, I fell in love with them. They all knocked me out. I had a tremendous respect for them because they were just good. I’d never worked with professional actors before, and I was knocked out. Oliver looked so old and fragile. That’s because he’s a great actor. He’s not that at all. He’s very vigorous. He’s in his seventies, but he’s vigorous, spunky guy. But he is a great actor. He helped everybody. The guy walks on the set and he inspires everybody. You do that much better because he’s there. You can’t fool around. (Laughs) You can’t mess up. It’s Lawrence Oliver and he deserves the respect and the admiration that he gets. It was a tremendous experience working with him.
Announcer: If working with Sir Lawrence Olivier was one of the best parts of Diamond’s introduction to acting, what was the worst?
Neil: The hardest part of the whole acting process, for me, was learning the lines. ‘Cause I hadn’t had to commit any thing to memory since I was in school. Somehow when you write a song It tends to stick with you, but to learn pages and pages of dialogue was very difficult, but I got into the swing of it after about four or five weeks. I started to pick it up easier, but learning …learning, memorizing pages of dialogue was the hardest thing.
Announcer: So now Neil Diamond has made music and a movie. Is there any comparison between the two?
Neil: It’s different. It’s a different type of presentation, and for example a concert which has a certain continuity to it, but each day in film making has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think I hung on to that. Each day was a new scene. Each day was a new beginning and it didn’t bother me. I mean I was troubled in some of the musical sequences that I would do one song like “America” and then have to stop. In point in fact, the audience that was at the show was ready for, you know, to really get into it. But it was only a movie. It wasn’t a real concert. So we couldn’t get into it. We did that song twice and that was it.
Announcer: From the opening strains of “America” to the closing credits of the film, what was Neil Diamond’s first impression of “The Jazz Singer?”
Neil: I had dreamed of it that way when I wrote the song and it really came out to be the way I had fantasized it. I loved the black faced scene in the night club, the fight which was wonderful. My son thinks I’m a hero ’cause I am able to fight. I told him that these guys are stunt men and could murder me any time they wanted to, and in fact, taught me how to throw the punches and make the kicks. There’s one scene with Lucie and I walking on the beach, real nice and cuddley and I like that because it was the very last scene that we shot in the film. It was the very last piece of film and it was pouring out, but you can’t see it in the film. And we got under the pier from the rain. We got our umbrellas and the director said to us, “That’s it, kids. We just shot the last scene of the film. Thank you very much.” And I had such mixed feelings, you know. I was thrilled that it was over, ’cause it was agony in a way, but I was sad and everybody hugged each other and kissed and tears welled up in everyone’s eyes. “Is that all? Can we come back tomorrow and make some more movies?” You know we wanted to … there were so many high points in this picture for me.
Play: “Hello Again”
Announcer: For Neil Diamond, the role of the Jazz Singer was real. In a lot of ways that really was him up on screen struggling for the recognition and eventual stardom that would one day belong to him. And if the audience has it’s way, there will be a non stop of high points, and possibly movies, too, for Neil Diamond, and entertainer of great craft and depth.
Announcer: From his days as a fledgling fifty dollar a week songwriter to his multi-million dollar super star status of today, the musical talents of Neil Diamond remain uncompromised and ever expanding. Whether he’s in character as the Jazz Singer, or Solitary Man, Neil Diamond knows how to touch his listeners with his magic, his moods, and of course, his music.
Announcer: Neil Diamond, written and researched by Laurie Kaye, produced and engineered by Ron Hummel. Executive producers, Bob Hamilton and Harvey Metnick. I’m John Leeder.
Announcer: Neil Diamond was produced for the RKO Radio Network by RKO Radio Productions. Copyright 1981. The RKO Radio Network.
You’ve been listening to the Thursday edition of the FM 96 KRAV Saturday night special. On behalf of the entire FM 96 KRAV staff, this is Ed Hopkins. Thanks for listening and have a happy and safe holiday season.