G-Man Tribute another hit at Blu Fusion
By Phyllis Bator 02/05/2004
Gary Groneman, also known as The G-Man, performed a birthday tribute to Neil Diamond, who turned 63 on Jan. 24. The G-Man is one of the few entertainers who is naturally earthy, loves what he does and has a voice that is extremely close to a younger Neil Diamond. This was a performance well worth seeing.
The show ran from 7 to 10 p.m. with a short intermission. In the first half, The G-Man was dressed in a casual shirt and sang songs such as Cherry Cherry; I am, I said; Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen; A Little Bit of Me, A Little Bit of You and many others. He roamed through the audience and danced with some of the ladies as he sang.
In the second half, he changed to a blue sequined shirt made specifically for the Blu(e) Fusion show and continued with the Diamond tribute. When he sings Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, he gives the woman he is dancing with a lovely scarf with his picture on it if she promises to be at his next show. Of course, they all say they will be there. “I do this at every show. If a woman walks in wearing my scarf at another show, I dance with her again. The audience really gets a kick out of it,” he said. Among other songs in the second half were Spanish Harlem; I’m a Believer; Sunday and Me; Cracklin’ Rose; and Song Sung Blue, where the audience was encouraged to sway their arms and sing along. His last song was Diamond’s famous America.
The G-Man (Gary) was born and bred in New York. His musical roots began in grade school, singing and participating in several concerts and stage shows. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Gary worked with Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, The Buckinghams, Randy and the Rainbows, and Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge as well as other national oldies. He also worked with local radio stations WBLI, WBAB and WALK in Suffolk County. It wasn’t until the early ’80s when Neil Diamond’s Yesterday’s Song came out that Gary developed an interest in him. “I knew Neil Diamond before from Hot August Night when he was a young guy with long hair. He was actually a comeback,” said Gary.
In the early ’90s, Gary and his family relocated to Southwest Florida where he became one of the founding fathers of the Cape Chorale Barbershop Chorus. “The transition to doo wop was easy. Singing barbershop is difficult because of the harmony, but we won barbershop contests two years in a row,” he said.
One of Gary’s friends heard him sing a Neil Diamond song and said he sounded just like him. Although he didn’t give the statement much thought, Gary later decided to put together a tribute show to Neil Diamond and found the ladies loved it. He has been performing the tribute for almost three years. “As long as Neil Diamond lives and writes songs, I’ll be in business,” Gary said.
Previous to his tribute show, he was with a group called Brylcream where he was the lead singer. In their album Rockin’ the Neighborhood, he was also the lead, baritone, second tenor, and bass singer. His solo album is called Caricature, which includes 16 Neil Diamond songs.
In addition to the tribute shows, he works at 95.3 FM, Oldies 95 “Street Corner Bop with Dr. Wop and G-Man” every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 p.m. He continues to work as a solo artist opening for such talents as Jan and Dean, Shadows of Knight, Dion, Three Dog Night, and others. He has been featured in CitiView Magazine as “Best Cover Artist, Dec. 2002,” in newspapers and on television.
While he has enjoyed performing outside of Florida, his most recent gigs have been at Fisherman’s Village in Port Charlotte, the Seminole Casino, Waterside Shops, Vanderbilt Country Club, Marco Town Center, Naples Princess and Fifth Avenue events.
Music is not Gary’s only contribution to society. He has been involved with the United Way fund-raiser at the Naples Bath and Tennis Club as well as the United Cerebral Palsy Sunrise Program in Cape Coral. He is also the recipient of the very prestigious Clear Channel Cares award for his dedicated work in the “For Kids with Cancer Radio-thon.”
If you would like to hear The G-man or see his schedule, visit his Web site at www.angelfire
.com/music4/gman/index.html. For bookings, call 458-5889, the radio station at 1-800-226-FM95, or reach him by e-mail at ggrone
If you are a Neil Diamond fan and missed this great show, you will have another opportunity to see The G-Man do another tribute on March 14 at the Blu Fusion located in the Marco Town Center. Reservations are a must. Call the Blu Fusion at 389-4545.
Phyllis Bator has been involved with music all her life and has been reviewing entertainment for several years. Comments can be sent to her at
©Marco Island Sun Times 2004