Author Jon Bream Talks Neil Diamond is Forever

Author Jon Bream Talks Neil Diamond is Forever
By Christina Lee on August 26, 2009 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The man had stood before Jon Bream dozens of times over the course of four decades, as an interview subject and as a performer. But Bream’s perception of Neil Diamond has remained the same throughout, even as other critics changed their minds, because after every conversation the two ever had, Diamond would tell Bream, “Stop by the show and say hi.”
Through a collection of interviews, mementos and memorabilia, such candor becomes the main focus in Bream’s Neil Diamond is Forever: The Man and His Music, out Oct. 15. A longtime music journalist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Bream had already investigated the life of Prince and depicted the history of Led Zeppelin in past books. But for Diamond, Bream wanted to further demonstrate the legacy he had to fans.

“These books are designed to be the ultimate fan books, and Neil Diamond had incredibly devoted, fanatic fans,” Bream tells Paste. “So we wanted to put together a project that would give them the ultimate fan book.”

As shown in the book, the conversations Bream had with Diamond have been characteristically consistent. All had been over the phone, and all had brought up one subject in particular.

“The interesting thing is the one topic we have always covered over the years: the relationship he has with his audience,” Bream says. “It’s interesting to see how he relates to them, how he treats them. It becomes interesting to see how those answers would evolve.”

Neil Diamond is Forever also contains photos of 45 singles, ticket stubs and other merchandise Bream salvaged from Diamond’s merchandise manager of the mid-’70s to mid-’90s. Much of what illustrates the 160-page book is a depiction of his career, though mementos like a handwritten thank-you note from Diamond demonstrate the personality that very few saw on a regular basis.

But while Bream’s coverage spans Diamond’s entire career, the book fails to provide the answer to just one question: why he has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I dont’ think the process has been fair. There are people with less impact and less success that are in the Hall of Fame. One-hit wonders,” Bream says. “But Neil certainly had a distinguished career, whether you like it or not.”

Related links:
Feature: The Diamond Life
Feature: The Diamond Life, continued
News: A raspy Neil Diamond gives refunds to concert-goers

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