Diamond Goes Unpolished


Neil Diamond has brought the world so many hits, such as “Cherry Cherry,” “Sweet Caroline” and “Song Sung Blue.” Now the Grammy Award-winning songwriter is celebrating the release of his new studio album called “12 Songs,” and it has received rave reviews from the top critics in the music industry.

On The Early Show, in addition to performing two songs from the new album, Diamond chatted with Dave Price, who pointed out that “12 Songs” is very different from what Diamond has done for much of his career.

“It’s true,” said Diamond. “We really have come back to basics with this and have tried to bring it down to just the heart of the song and the heart of the performance and with nothing interfering with it. So it is different. It sounds different. And I like it a lot.”

On “12 Songs,” a listener hears fewer orchestrations, he explained, and less “hand clapping and foot stomping. It was really to get down to the essence of the song. And we’re getting a very good reaction to it.”

Rating how happy he is about this new release, on a scale of 1 to 10, Diamond said, “I’m at about 12 right now ? We’ve gotten great critical reviews. It’s amazing. Then I have to look at the songs again and say, ‘It must be pretty good because look at all the people that like it.

“But I’m very happy now. This is a wonderful thing. I haven’t had this kind of attention for a long time, so it’s nice.”

Diamond is 64 years old now, with adult children as well as grandchildren. Dave Price wanted to know what it’s like for him to look out at his audiences and see generations of fans. Does that throw him?

“It did many years ago,” Diamond said. “But I’ve had this for a long time, for some reason. There have been, you know, just various generations at all my shows. And at first, it troubled me, because I didn’t really know who to play to. Who am I singing to? What music am I singing?

“Then I realized it didn’t matter, that they were all there to accept whatever it was that I was giving and I just carried on with it. But it is a good feeling to have youngsters ? actually little kids, you know ? and then youngsters, teenagers, college kids and my fans who have hung in with me for years and years and years, who I love. And so it’s a good feeling.”

So who is he playing for now?

“Well, first, we have to please ourselves,” Diamond said. “The band and I work these songs out. When we’re happy with it, we present it to the audience. Then we’re after pleasing the audience. I mean, that’s the main goal. That’s what we all work for.”

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