Episode 169: Diamond's Diamonds

Episode 169: Diamond's Diamonds
Pat welcomes rock journalist David Wild to the Co-Host chair to discuss their love of the "Jewish Elvis"... Neil Diamond.
From October 9, 2014

With your host:

Pat Francis

00:00:00 Pat welcomes us to the show. It's a very exciting show for Pat today because he can't talk about the topic with any of his other friends. But he can talk about it with this week's special guest: Writer/Critic David Wild!
David is a recent obsessive listener of the show. He got in with the Elliot Easton episode. To be honest, you probably don't know who David Wild is, unless you saw his face. The guy is in practically every documentary. He also wrote for the Grammys and The Beatles 50th Anniversary tribute show. At the tribute show, Tom Hanks talked to David about a 1960s docuseries that David was part of. David was all over the British Invasion episode. His appearance made him a superstar in Jewish old folks homes. People think David watched The Beatles on TV, but he grew up with Wings and Neil Diamond.
00:05:00 Pat and David both love tennis and Neil Diamond, and have two kids (Kyle not included). They also have gorgeous wives that are way out of their league. David met his wife on the road with Paul McCartney. Linda basically pressured them to get married. Those naggy vegetarians, always on your ass. David also knows Rick Springfield, whom Pat hopes to get in studio. David will see what he can do. David has an in with Neil Diamond's manager/wife and got his new album early. David also wrote a Neil Diamond book and is currently using it as a coaster. No respect for the written word!
00:10:00 David wrote the book in the last few weeks of the writers' strike. Pat has to go fix something, so David asks Kyle what his favorite Neil Diamond song is. Kyle surprises everyone by admitting that his first concert was Neil Diamond! His dad forced him to go. And we wonder why he only listens to nu metal. Pat's brother is the reason Pat got into Neil Diamond. But now, no one else in Pat's circle of friends likes Neil Diamond nearly enough as he does! He's trapped on Jewish Adult Contemporary Island.
David hates people who like Neil Diamond ironically. Truth is, Neil can go to any arena and sell it out based on nothing else other than being Neil Diamond. Neil is the last unapologetic singer-songwriter. David got into him through his mom's 8 track tapes. He first met Neil when he worked at Rolling Stone. David got to interview Neil when his career was in a bit of a downturn.
00:15:00 After the interview, Neil invited David and his family to his concert. David's mom got invited backstage. Did she have sex with him? Sadly no, but a man can dream, can't he? In case you have an IQ of 30, today's topic is the songs of Neil Diamond. Most of David's picks are chronological, except the first one. When David helped Neil make his "Behind the Music" episode, Neil played some songs off his third Christmas album, A Cherry Cherry Christmas. David pressured Neil into recording a version of his first pick, "The Chanukah Song". Pat says that Neil Diamond occupies the most CDs on his shelf: A whopping 37 CDs. Neil also has a lot of compilation albums.
00:20:00 Pat's first pick is off Neil's first album, The Feel of Neil Diamond. It's "Solitary Man". Neil really is a solitary man. He doesn't belong in any one genre. David says that even Neil doesn't know what he is. When Neil is "out of uniform," David says he's just a regular guy. He's even got a beard now. Pat doesn't like it when people say "Bum bum bum" during "Sweet Caroline." That's his prerogative and he's sticking with it, dammit. Neil's first label was Bang Records. Amazingly, he kept all his publishing rights.
00:25:00 David mentions Neil was influenced by The Beatles. Speaking of, a few years ago Neil and Paul McCartney both performed at the Grammys. Years prior, Paul had said a disparaging remark about Neil. When Paul went to rehearsals and saw Neil, he realized that he actually liked Neil Diamond. You see? Even a Beatle recognizes Neil's greatness. David plays "The Long Way Home" off the album Just for You. David's wife and in-laws are huge Neil fans. But David is such good friends with Neil, he keeps getting pressured to pay lots of money for concerts, even though he's seen Neil about 50 times!
00:30:00 On David's birthday, Neil invited David to see Super Diamond, a Neil Diamond tribute band. Neil was gonna sing with them, but David's wife forced him to leave early because of the babysitter. That foolish woman, you don't separate a man from his Diamond on his birthday! In a similar story, Pat's brother Kirk doesn't like to fly. Pat enticed his brother with Neil Diamond tickets to get him to fly to LA. In the end, Kirk didn't come out. Pat plays a song from the album Velvet Gloves and Spit called "Brooklyn Roads". The song brings the feels for Pat and David.
00:35:00 For Neil's Madison Square Garden special, David wrote a scene taking place on the Brooklyn Bridge. There was just one problem: David had never walked on the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a real comedy of errors, let me tell you.
Pat and David sing more of Neil's praises. He's unironic, honest, and poetic. His influences are very Tin Pan Alley, Broadway style. Tom Hanks' production company Playtone wanted to do a Neil Diamond musical with David's childhood as the story. A Jewish American boy growing up with the sounds of Neil Diamond. Sadly it didn't pan out. Pat asks David who he would want to play himself. David says Yaphet Kotto. Personally, I would have picked Edward James Olmos, but that's just me. Another quick story is David and Neil arguing about how many covers The Monkees did of Neil's songs. Neil said 2, while David said 3. David was actually right, proving Neil isn't actually infallible.
00:40:00 David plays the song "Love to Love" off of The Feel of Neil Diamond. Neil isn't your average Jewish guy. The man is a fencing champion! Goodbye "shalom," hello "en garde." Neil did a lot of his stuff on his own. David says he had to because no one liked him except his fans. Pat says it's like being a Barry Manilow fan. David says Neil doesn't like that comparison because they're two different guys. Neil is the rocker, Barry is everything but. There's room for both, though.
Pat's next song is from an album called Tap Root Manuscript. 16 years before Paul Simon did it, Neil was the first Jewish singer-songwriter to incorporate African music. Pat plays "I Am the Lion". It's an odd song, but Pat likes it.
00:45:00 David brings up another example of Neil breaking ground. Before Billy Joel listed a bunch of things in "We Didn't Start the Fire," Neil did it in "Done Too Soon." David is a big Billy Joel fan, and a Springsteen fan too. The difference between the two songs? "Done Too Soon" doesn't suck. David isn't a fan of "I Am the Lion." His next song isn't a classic either. It's what he and Pat would call a

David plays "Pot Smoker's Song" off of the album Velvet Gloves and Spit. It's a weird, crazy song with real spoken word audio of junkies.
Does David have a favorite Neil album? David has a fondness for the album Beautiful Noise. It was produced by Robbie Robertson from The Band. Neil was in The Band's concert documentary "The Last Waltz."
00:50:00 During The Last Waltz concert, Neil had a plane waiting so he could make it to Thanksgiving dinner with his family. What a good Jewish boy, loving his family so much. Bob Dylan was on after him, Neil walked past Dylan and said ironically, "Try to follow that." Meanwhile Neil is dressed in huge aviator sunglasses and there's a good possibility that cocaine is lining the inside of his right nostril. David plays "Dry Your Eyes" off of Beautiful Sound, with The Band performing backup duties. Pat plays another song off the album, "Surviving the Life". You can tell that Neil has a love of spiritual and gospel music.
00:55:00 Neil never had a problem with musicians. That's why everyone covered his songs. Pat brings up the much maligned film The Jazz Singer. There are good musical numbers, but Neil's acting is terrible. David says that Neil wrote "I Am… I Said" after auditioning for the role of Lenny Bruce in a movie. Neil bought the screen test. David saw it and says that Neil was actually a great Lenny Bruce. The Jazz Singer had more problems than Neil's acting. There was bad directing and a crazy, random cast.
It's all about the chest hair. ALL OF IT.
David plays a cover version of "I'm a Believer" by The Four Tops from their album Reach Out. Neil loves it when people cover his songs. Urge Overkill's version of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" gets praised. David says that that song belongs in the category of "Creepy Old Man Hitting on Young Girl" songs.
01:00:00 A few people get brought up. Pat and David both love Susanna Hoffs and Martha Quinn. Bob Gaudio from The Four Seasons produced a bunch of Neil's albums. It took Neil a few albums to really pick up steam. Neil has a serious work ethic. He also, get this, wanted to use the name Ice Cherry. Dude, your name is already Neil Diamond! How can beat that name? Lenny Kravitz originally went by the stage name Romeo Blue. Yuck. He sounds like a Zoolander character. David interview Lenny once. He's a good dude. He also sat in bed and wore leather pants during the interview. So just think about that for a minute.
Pat brings up another Neil album, Serenade. Pat got it signed by Neil backstage at Jimmy Kimmel Live.
01:05:00 Pat plays the song "I've Been This Way Before". Powerful song. The movie "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" gets brought up. Neil did the soundtrack. David saw it with his kid and it was completely unwatchable. Nothing but seagulls and music. Pat and David agree that Neil is a great romantic poet. David plays a song off of Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show called "And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind".
01:10:00 The reason women like Neil is because he speaks in that romantic poetic language. Pat says Neil seems humble. David says that Neil is funny and proud of what he's done. He's fiercely independent. Neil has had the same band for pretty much 40 years. Neil takes care of his people. When Neil teamed up with Rick Rubin for the album 12 Songs, Rubin had Neil sing and play the guitar at the same time. Pat plays "Oh Mary".
01:15:00 There's an intensity there that Rick Rubin dug out of Neil. During the 90s when Neil was going through a hefty divorce, he left LA and went to Nashville. On a side-note, David is seeing Ringo Starr today with his wife. Pat hopes his wife gets sick so Pat could go with David. Careful Pat, we're recording. Don't spoil your evil plan on tape, you rookie! Anyway, Neil teamed up with a bunch of country artists and recorded an album called Tennessee Moon. David plays the song "Can Anybody Hear Me". It was Neil finding his way back.
Neil put out two albums back to back, The Movie Album: As Time Goes By and Three Chord Opera. Neither are good.
01:20:00 Pat has another

for us. Off the album Three Chord Opera, Pat plays "At the Movies". It certainly isn't Neil's strongest stuff. It proves that just because you can write a song about going to the movies doesn't mean that you should. David has another

Off the album Velvet Gloves and Spit, it's a song called "Knackelflerg". What does that even mean? If I make it say its name backwards, does it go back to the 5th dimension?
Recently, Neil's song writing has had a second coming. He has a new album coming out soon. Pat says that a lot of Neil's old albums have to be remastered.
01:25:00 Pat and David compliment Neil for being a sexy old man, rather than looking like an uncle or a grandpa. David plays the song "Don't Go There" off the album Home Before Dark. Oh yeah, Neil definitely goes there. If by there, you mean the pussy depot. Because that man is a masterful wooer of the feminine form. Speaking of women, David plays Neil's duet with Barbara Streisand called "You Don't Bring Me Flowers". Neil and Barbara never did anything else together. Every time Neil plays LA, Pat hopes Barbara comes out and sings. What can he say, he loves the Babs!
These sexiness readings are off the chart!
01:30:00 Does David have a favorite artist? Neil and Sinatra are his roots. He also likes those hip young rising stars The Beatles. David named his son after Bob Dylan. But enough talk about other artists, this show is about Neil Diamond, for Pete's sake! David's next pick is a pseudo

It's Neil's rendition of "Don't Turn Around" off the album Lovescape. There's a lot of "Don'ts" in Neil's songs. David says that it's like getting told what to do by a real guy.
01:35:00 Neil is the last real man in music. Pat and David oddly like Lovescape and The Best Years of Our Lives. Pat's next song is called "Comin' Home" and is off the album Heartlight. Pat only really dislikes two Neil albums: Three Chord Opera and Headed for the Future.
David compares Christy Stratton and April Richardson to Betty and Veronica. That totally makes Pat Jughead, right?
01:40:00 This was a lot of fun, but David has to go. Pat gives the plugs. You can find David Wild on Twitter @Wildaboutmusic. Or you catch him on Facebook at David Wild. David has signed two copies of his Neil Diamond book which Pat will give away to the listeners.
It's time to hit the bricks, kids. Pat plays us out with a song from Neil's new album Melody Road. The song is called "The Art of Love".
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:15:00 The Chanukah Song A Cherry Cherry Christmas Neil Diamond David
00:20:00 Solitary Man The Feel of Neil Diamond Neil Diamond Pat
00:25:00 The Long Way Home Just for You Neil Diamond David
00:30:00 Brooklyn Roads Velvet Gloves and Spit Neil Diamond Pat
00:40:00 Love to Love The Feel of Neil Diamond Neil Diamond David
00:40:00 I Am the Lion Tap Root Manuscript Neil Diamond Pat
00:45:00 Pot Smoker's Song Velvet Gloves and Spit Neil Diamond David
00:50:00 Dry Your Eyes Beautiful Noise Neil Diamond feat. The Band David
00:50:00 Surviving the Life Beautiful Noise Neil Diamond Pat
00:55:00 I'm a Believer Reach Out The Four Tops David
01:05:00 I've Been This Way Before Serenade Neil Diamond Pat
01:05:00 And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show Neil Diamond David
01:10:00 Oh Mary 12 Songs Neil Diamond Pat
01:15:00 Can Anybody Hear Me Tennessee Moon Neil Diamond David
01:20:00 At the Movies Three Chord Opera Neil Diamond Pat
01:20:00 Knackelflerg Velvet Gloves and Spit Neil Diamond David
01:25:00 Don't Go There Home Before Dark Neil Diamond David
01:25:00 You Don't Bring Me Flowers You Don't Bring Me Flowers Neil Diamond & Barbara Streisand Pat
01:30:00 Don't Turn Around Lovescape Neil Diamond David
01:35:00 Comin' Home Heartlight Neil Diamond Pat
01:40:00 The Art of Love Melody Road Neil Diamond Pat