Hi, this is Neil Diamond.

I've been in this music business for over 50 years, and I'm here today to answer your questions and hopefully help you understand things about my life and my world and have you share your experiences with me and for me to do the same.

My new album is called Melody Road, which is in-stores on October 21st. You can pre-order it here.

Watch the my new music video for “Something Blue” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qjqysU36tw

I’ll also be going Tour in 2015 and you can purchase tickets here! http://www.ticketmaster.com/neildiamond

I’m here to answer as many of your questions as I can! Victoria's helping me get started.


Update Just to tell everybody thank you for taking the time to ask these questions, and to tell me your OWN stories. I'm always fascinated that I hear people's stories about my songs, because those songs themselves are written in a void, in the silence of a room, and I never know if anybody will hear them or if so what effect they will have on people. So this is a great forum for me to great feedback. I appreciate the opportunity, and I wish you all love and luck. And I hope to see you soon, in a city nearby!

Comments: 673 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

brody10123438 karma

Hi Neil, I have a story for you.

In 1998 my cousin Caroline was born. At the time my uncle was working the PA system at Fenway Park and every season they would have one song designated to play in the 8th inning. My uncle, having had his daughter Caroline months earlier, suggested Sweet Caroline to be the song for the 1999 season. Fifteen years later and the tradition has stuck, and this is a pretty cool fact for my family.

Question time: How do you feel knowing that a song of yours has become an integral part of Red Sox history and tradition?

Neil-Diamond466 karma

Well, I'm grateful that the Red Sox have included Sweet Caroline into their games. And it's a great story that you have shared, about how your family affected that decision on the part of the Red Sox, I hadn't heard that before. There's something about that song - from the moment i wrote it, I felt a connection with a higher force, and I think that's why people are attracted to it and love it in a way, because it connects them to that higher spiritual force, and it's been used as a good luck song for teams all over the world, cricket players in Hong Kong, it's the official closing song of Oktoberfest in Germany, Penn State plays it at their football games, and of course, the Red Sox play it in the 8th Inning at home games... I love that, I love it. It was a totally un-premeditated - the song just came to me when I needed it most, when I was at my lowest point ever in my career, when I thought my career was over, that song came to me and gave me back my career and my life, and then I turned it over to the public and now they're taking that song to their hearts, and I think that song is an act of god, and I couldn't be more thrilled that I had a little part in making that happen.

Frajer221 karma

What do you think about the impression Will Ferrell does of you?

Neil-Diamond417 karma

I loved his impression of me, and I was flattered that he picked me out to make some fun of. On the last show of his stay at Saturday Night Live, I volunteered to come on it and make a little cameo appearance, I showed up and I kind of interrupted his act with a song, I think it was "cherry cherry" that I did, and I looked over my left and he was standing there with his arms folded with an expression on his face which said (in a sense) "So that's what he does." He was obviously studying what I actually do, and he probably picked up a few hints, but at that point it was too late, we had already finished. So I guess I got the last say on that.

But the short answer: Will Ferrell can just get up and be in front of a camera and make me laugh. He doesn't need me or anybody else to have some fun with.

Xannon180 karma

When I was a kid I thought you were my grandpa and I told my babysitter you were my grandpa. Is that okay with you even if it's not true?

Neil-Diamond312 karma

I love being a grandpa, it's my favorite thing in the world to be, and I'll be anybody's grandpa that only sends a dollar to charity or does something kind for someone else. I'll volunteer to be their - not official grandpa - but honorary grandpa. Thank you!

KeatingOrDie149 karma

It's 3:30am here and I stayed awake for this because, although I just turned 22, your music and I go way back. As a kid my dad would always have a Neil Diamond best-of album playing in his car when he'd take me with him to his manual labour job to muck around and help out. By the age of 10, those impossibly catchy melodies had all been hardwired somewhere in my brain and Neil Diamond was my rock star. Rather than dream I was a member of Greenday or Coldplay, I would dance around my computer in my singlet pretending to perform "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" in front of a sold-out stadium. Thanks so much for the singalongs.

I'd like to ask, are all of these great, catchy songs as fun for you now, after so many years, as they were when you wrote them? Also, do you get more headaches from crafting the lyrics or the music?

Neil-Diamond225 karma

First, I wanna thank you for staying up so late! It's more than I would do for almost anybody.

But it's a mark of your fan-ness, and I really appreciate that.

I love doing my music onstage, and even though I've done some of these things for years and years, they bring me back to the moments they were written, I still remember those moments, and they were euphoric, and they were important to me. Some I remember for 40 years, or 50 years.

Lyrics are impossible to write, I hate writing them, I always have. And melodies are as easy as pulling off a log for me, they come instantly and if they are written properly, they provide an emotional foundation with the mood of a song. Then it's up to me to match that song with words, and express that feeling or tell a story, and it's hard. I don't like doing it, but I haven't yet found a lyricist that I can work with, or I definitely would have somebody else working with me at this point. Right now, I'll slog through the lyrics as best I can and hope that they reflect the mood of the melodies and the whole thing adds up to something for the listener.

2feetorless108 karma

Which one of your songs do you get asked to play the most and which one is your favorite to play?

Neil-Diamond286 karma

Well, I'm asked to play "Sweet Caroline" all the time, and usually I will do it, because I can have fun with it too, I had a bunch of autograph hounds (professional autograph hounds) meet me at the airport in the last week or so, and they did what they usually do, which is to print out my name and try to embarrass me so I just sign something, and I decided to make THEM do something in return - so I said "Sing Sweet Caroline in return for me and I'll sign your autographs." They did sing it, so I did sign autographs, and I'll do that song at a drop of a hat.

But my favorite song to do is "I am I Said" - I can really dig into it, the lyric has a real resonance in my life, and I don't do it nearly as often as "Sweet Caroline" but it is easily my favorite song to sing.

d1sc0p0p96 karma

When was the first time you've thought, "I've really made it."?

Neil-Diamond249 karma

Well, honestly, I don't think I've made it yet. I'm still struggling to get to that perfect song, to make those perfect notes, to give that perfect performance. So I'm still working on that part. I didn't believe that I had made it, and I'm still working toward that end though. I haven't stopped dreaming.

escherbach83 karma

Are you still interested in microbiology?

Neil-Diamond159 karma

I"m totally fascinated with microbiology. I just saved an article that i read in a newspaper about 2 guys who got the Nobel prize for discovering a way to use a microscope and expand its ability to see tiny small things, even molecular structures. And i was jealous for the first time in 50 years, because that was going to be MY job, to discover a microscope that could see deep into the heart of nature and what goes on below the surface of our world. But somebody else won it, and my hat's off to them. I just have to keep writing my songs, I guess, and hope to make a contribution in that way.

chaz91w70 karma

Everyone has a vague golden rule they try to follow in life, whats yours?

Neil-Diamond241 karma

I try never to say "f*ck" In public.

And I never put other people down.

lanceschaubert61 karma

Did you ever see the movie Saving Silverman?

If so, what did you think of /u/_JackBlack 's tribute to you? Diamonds in the Rough?

Neil-Diamond159 karma

I think I was in that movie for a little bit? And I had some trouble doing it, because i kept cracking up and laughing at these guys - between Jack and Jason Biggs and Steve, and Amanda Peet, they kept me hysterical for the entire movie, I don't think I ever got one of my lines right, and I decided to retire from movies after that.

Sam_Vimes8158 karma

SO exciting!

1) If Love on the Rocks was a cocktail, what would it be in it? 2) Favorite pizza toppings? 3)Should I quit my job and follow your tour around this summer?

Thanks for doing this! You're the best!

Neil-Diamond129 karma

1) Probably U-Bet chocolate syrup, I love it, mix some milk in there, put some seltzer in there, mix it up, and you got the greatest, most refreshing drink you'll ever have. An egg cream cocktail is what I would end up with. It's a New York concoction and everybody in the city knows what it is.

2) I'm a purist. Just gimme a good crisp crust, some good cheese on it, some tomato sauce, and I'm a happy man.

3) I would suggest you do it ONLY if you want to be happy.

MagicRat92358 karma

Any rationale person would agree that you have a cool name. Did you ever consider using a stage name when you were starting out? If so, what was it? No way it was cooler than your real name.

Neil-Diamond152 karma

Well, I actually did have a couple of stage names that I wanted very much to use because although Neil Diamond may sound cool now, when i was about to put my first record out, it was just my name and pretty boring. Nothing particularly interesting about it. My first name - Neil - was the one the kids around the street made fun of, because there was hardly anybody around who had that name, and I was anxious to get rid of that name on my first record, but i chickened out for personal reasons and stuck with my own name, and it worked out pretty good.

You wanna hear the other choices?

My 2 other main choices were:

Noah Kaminsky (which had biblical underpinnings and great character)

And secondly

Ice Charry (which I thought was pure rock & roll)

But both those names are relegated to the dustbin of rock & roll history and I'm so glad that they are.

pilto48 karma

Mr. Diamond, I am a HUGE fan.

How much were you involved with the band, The Monkees, outside of songwriting?

Neil-Diamond106 karma

Well, I'm sorry to say that I never met the Monkees. I didn't meet them when they recorded "I'm a Believer," but I will always be grateful to them because they kind of saved my career. I had a huge hit with "Cherry Cherry" and the next record out was kind of a bomb, it was called "I got the feeling," and in those days, you had to have one hit after another and if you missed one, you could expect that the radio would stop playing you altogether unless you had another obvious hit for them to go on again. So during that bomb period, the Monkees came out with "I'm a Believer" which was the number one single of the year, it was so big that they even talked about the songwriter, and it carried me through that 3 month period where I got the feeling was NOT getting played and I was not getting played on radio, at least the DJs were talking about me being the writer of "I'm a Believer" and I came back with my next record after that, which I believe was "Kentucky Woman" or "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime," and continued on my streak of six or seven or eight hits in a row which really established my career.

jonemillard46 karma

Hey Neil,

What is your favorite scene from a film or show in which one of your songs have been used?

Neil-Diamond99 karma

One of my favorite scenes... I like the way that guy at the end of the movie sang "America." I think the movie was called "The Jazz Singer."

escherbach37 karma

Hi Neil Diamond! You have written many great songs, but there is a strange lyric in one of my favourites, I Am I Said - "And no one heard at all, not even the chair", why did you write it like that rather than something more conventional like "And no one heard at all, nobody to care" (for example)?

Neil-Diamond87 karma

Well, I think you're gonna have to write your own version of the song if you want it to come out your way. I wrote it "not even the chair" and I stand by it. I've spent considerable amounts of time defending it over the years. It's what came to mind when I was putting it down to paper, so I will have to stand by it.

MockingbirdRambler31 karma

What inspires you to keep writing?

Neil-Diamond54 karma

Well, I got in the habit of writing when I was 16 or 17 and I haven't been able to stop. i wish somebody would shake me or stop me or make me put my guitar down, but it's like an addiction, it's another way of communicating (for me), and it's the right way (for me). It's better than any shrink, and it works. I'm able to put things down on paper that i feel, and I feel a little better after I do that. So I don't need inspiration, I just am - it's part of me, the songwriting thing is part of my life, long before being a songwriter was a cool thing to be, I've been writing songs just because it works.

DarwinWinner31 karma

Do you still fence?

Also how did you become so awesome? Were you born awesome or did you have to work up to it?

Neil-Diamond64 karma

I don't fence. The last time I competed was at a reunion meet at New York University, it was about 35 years ago, and I realized that I shouldn't even get up and try to fence. It requires a lot of training to just get up and compete poorly. My closest friend is still - was the captain of my fencing team at NYU, and he's as close as I come to fencing. He still gives classes in it, and I was just lucky myself to have made the starting time. He was an Olympic Fencer in 3 Olympics.

I became awesome through work, and focus, a tiny bit of talent, and a massive amount of persistence. And let's not forget about luck. That's the key point. Without that, nothing happens right in the world. I started out awful. And I ended up awesome for all of those reasons, and anybody can do it, all you have to do is devote your life and your mind and your heart to it, and you're on your way going in the right direction.

dimplejuice30 karma

What is the first song you ever learned to play on guitar?

Neil-Diamond73 karma

The first song I learned to play was a song called "Hear them Bells" which I wrote myself - it was my first song ever that i had written. I wrote it for my girlfriend Jay. Actually she wasn't my girlfriend yet, but I was hoping she would become my girlfriend after she heard that song. and that was the first song I ever played. And it worked, and it inspired me to write MORE songs, and sing 'em myself!

YaketyMax29 karma

What was it like performing at Fenway right after the Boston Marathon bombing?

Edit: This was the performance.

Neil-Diamond42 karma

I was... honored in a way to be able to do that, even though I wasn't invited and had to talk my way into the stadium. But it was an emotional and moving experience for me that i will never forget. And I was happy to be able to do it to repay, even if only in a small degree, my fans up in New England, and the song has been adopted by the Red Sox and by other people, and I've even heard Yankee fans sing it now and then.

judomonkeykyle29 karma

What artist have you always wanted to work with, but never had the chance?

Neil-Diamond54 karma

Well, I always wanted to work with Chet Atkins, and I did have the chance to work with him at a special in Nashville. In case you don't know who he is, call Eric Clapton or Marc Knopfler, they will tell you who he is the way they'll tell you who Les Paul is. I always wanted to work with Chet, I never dreamed when I was a pimply faced kid practicing my guitar skills that i would meet him, but I did meet him on my own TV special, and he is my greatest idol.

As far as wanting to work with someone but never having the chance, I had the chance to work with a few of my idols, it was a great experience, I don't think there is anybody I wanted to work with and wasn't able to. I've been lucky in that regard.

sincewedidthedo29 karma

Who would win in a breakdancing fight - you or Neil Young?

Neil-Diamond112 karma

I think Neil is about the same age as I am, so if we had a breakdancing fight, we'd probably both break, period.

But he doesn't have to dance, he sings GREAT, and he can just be who he is, and I'll love him and his music.

castmemberzack28 karma

What's your favorite meal?

Neil-Diamond88 karma

My favorite meal?

I would say my favorite meal is breakfast the way my wife makes it -scrambled eggs like you've never had scrambled eggs this good before, crisp bacon, some toast, good coffee, and good orange juice.

Neil-Diamond105 karma

And her company! which is the hard part because she won't make breakfast for just anybody.

jnetelle26 karma

Good afternoon, Mr. Diamond! Very cool to see you on reddit :) Q: Which music artist or musical group has done your favorite cover of one of your songs? My personal favorite is “I’ll Come Running” from the Murder City Devils. Unexpected.

Neil-Diamond83 karma

Well, I haven't heard that one before but I'm anxious to hear it!

Still my favorite covers are UB40's version of "red red wine" and Frank Sinatra's version of "Sweet Caroline." Right up there with them I'd put Urge Overkill doing "Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon" in the movie Pulp Fiction.

nkleszcz23 karma

Hello Mr. Diamond,

Can you share some interesting anecdotes during the making of THE JAZZ SINGER?

Neil-Diamond41 karma

The whole filming of the Jazz Singer was interesting, as I had never made a movie before. I don't think I had ever been on a movie SET before!

So it was all fascinating to me, and the night before we started shooting, I went to visit my co-star, Sir Laurence Olivier, who was reputed to be one of the great actors in the world at that time. and I sat down with him, and asked him some of the most basic questions that an actor would wanna know, and that everybody who gets into a movie wants to know - like "Am I supposed to remember the entire script before we start shooting, or how do you do that?"

And he answered that question, and a bunch more. I can't say I went into that movie really prepared, because i wasn't really prepared, but at least I had the greatest resource that an actor could possibly want, and that was Sir Olivier at my side and open to my questions during the entire filming of that movie. It made my life a lot easier, and it made the whole experience a happier one.

amiker770923 karma

Mr Diamond! Thanks for doing this AMA. In all your travels, what was your favorite city/venue to play?

Also, my mom is a HUGE fan of yours – when I was a kid and you would come to town, Mom and Dad would buy tickets to your show, rent a limo, get dressed up and really make a special night of seeing you perform. Your music was the soundtrack of my childhood. Today is my mom’s birthday, so if you could wish her a happy one, that would be completely amazing (her name is Theresa). Thank you so much!

Neil-Diamond57 karma

First, thanks for all the kind words. I'm very happy to hear that my songs and performances have become intertwined with your life. This is secretly what every great performer and creative person wants to hear. And I thank you for telling me that, straight out. Your mom gets a big shout out of me - I haven't met her, but I like her, because I like you. So keep listening', and I'll keep trying to cook up good things for you to listen and keep you warm when the nights are cold and you're so all alone, oo-wee.

My favorite venue: up until last week, I'd say my favorite venue was the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, but last week I did a homecoming concert at my high school in Brooklyn, and I guarantee it was my favorite concert or show and venue, because I was 15 years old as I did all those songs and it's hard to kick off 60 years that quickly, but I made up for lost time and it was an amazing experience for me.

BroetjeAutomationJes23 karma

My Nana (Caroline) used to tell me all the time that "Neil Diamond is the only person who can eat crackers in my bed!" It's my favorite saying of hers, and only in adulthood did it finally click as to what she was actually saying! She is your biggest fan, and you were my very first concert! My question is a two-parter: 1. Have you ever eaten crackers in bed? & 2. Do you remember a pair of blue silky boxers that you flashed at the crowd during a concert in Upstate NY (I cannot remember where...first concert...sometime around 1995!) when you had tech difficulties?

I thank you for being one of the loves of my Nana's life (Caroline E this is for you!!!) <3

Neil-Diamond43 karma

I love crackers in bed.

bernieperry20 karma

Hi Neil. I love singing Dry Your Eyes at karaoke. What’s the background story for that wonderful song?

Neil-Diamond33 karma

I don't know it was a kind of karaoke flavor? But I'm happy to hear that it is. Robby Robertson and I wrote that song for "Beautiful Noise," and I started it and almost finished it but couldn't get it finished, so I asked Robby to come in and help me finish it. I wanted it to tell the story of Martin Luther King's death, and how it affected society here in America and maybe even around the world, and that's what it was all about.

UnexpectedDenouement17 karma

What instrument do you not play that you wish you could?

Neil-Diamond52 karma

Well, i'm embarrassed to admit it, but I always had a yen to play the accordion. It's a portable instrument if you don't get too big an accordion and it puts out a tremendous amount of sound for a non-electric instrument. I'd have to say accordion is what I'd want to play. And that's all I got to say about that.

michaelhj16 karma

What is a day in the life of Neil Diamond? Is there any chance of you playing the Bonnaroo music festival next year?

Neil-Diamond26 karma

My days is dependent on what my commitments are. I've been pretty busy for the last few weeks fulfilling those commitments. But usually my day's pretty mundane - my wife likes to make me breakfast and she makes the best breakfast in the world, then my second concern is what will I have for lunch, and the rest of the day seems to unfold from there. It's pretty ordinary.

I never like to say "never" but I'd say it's doubtful. I have a tour planned out which will be covering North America, as well as Mexico, then we travel to Europe for about a dozen cities, and hopefully we'll go to Australia and New zealand after that towards the end of the year. If I continue on the tour through 2016, it's possible that we might stop by Bonnaroo, I haven't even gotten an invitation yet, but if they do I'd have to consider it.

dkampling15 karma

Do you still own the jacket from the Headed For The Future music video and how can I obtain it from you?

Neil-Diamond30 karma


That's a good question. I have most of my stage costumes, but I think my costumer went out and bought that somewhere. I probably gave it to one of my sons, who will probably pass it down to their sons, so if you're willing to wait for it, there's a chance you might get it, but you're better off going and picking out something you like nowadays.

Mutt122315 karma

What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

Neil-Diamond33 karma

My favorite flavor is Rocky Road, if that's a flavor.

CherryCherry9315 karma

Hi Neil :) will you keep performing as long as you are able to? Please say yes!

Neil-Diamond26 karma

I'm not the one who determines how long I perform. That's something the audience will determine, and when they are ready to have me make my exit, that's when I will make my exit. Yes, I'm gonna keep touring as long as i can.

sciette15 karma

What is your favorite part of 'The Jazz Singer'? Mine is the falling in love montage - best montage EVER!

Neil-Diamond27 karma

My favorite part of the Jazz Singer was the last scene we shot in the movie, simply because it was the LAST SCENE! It was a had experience for me to have, I was in just about every scene, and I was just about ready to be finished with it. It was Lucy Arnez and me walking along the beach in Venice, California.

gboysun14 karma

Hello, Mr. Diamond. Thank you for doing this AMA. Your music is a constant companion on road trips. What music do you listen to on road trips?

Neil-Diamond37 karma

Well, i usually go back to the songs I loved as a teenager or as a young adult. I can listen to the Weavers albums all day and all night, Belafonte still does it for me, Sinatra is still the greatest singer ever, The Everly Brothers' greatest hits take me back to being 17 again, and then in the post-Beatles era, I could say Bob Dylan is always interesting, the Beatles are SO amazing, Simon & Garfunkel blow me away every time, Elton John made some of the greatest records of the early 1970's, and if I feel like dancing, I will put on some of Michael Jackson's records.

HomerWells14 karma

I'm 62. Many of your songs have truly inspired me. Have to ask. Did you bring her flowers?

Neil-Diamond28 karma

That song was inspired by a show which never made it to television about the roles of men & women in modern society, and it came to pass these days where women have jobs that are more and more equal to men in many ways and it will keep going in that direction, and the flowers were flowers that were to be given to me by a girl. It's an unusual crossing of genders but it kind of follows culture and society in general.

My wife doesn't give me flowers, but nobody's perfect.

bemreclvr8 karma

Hi Neil!

Huge fan, and my family has three, going on four generations of Neil Diamond fans. My grandmother, father, myself, and if I have anything to do with it my son are all fans. We got backstage passes once for a Milwaukee tour stop when I was a kid, but unfortunately you weren't able to meet and greet that night. I'd love to have the chance again someday. :)

My question is this: I know all of your "classics" by heart. If I were to fall in love with a song from one of your newer albums, what would it be and why? Looking forward to your suggestions!

Neil-Diamond18 karma

Well, I've got a few favorites from the Melody Road album.

First, thank you for being such a dedicated family, and for all your family for being such great fans. I love to hear that kind of story.

I'd have to say I've got more than a few favorites from the new album, but I would think most interesting a song called "Seongah and Jimmy" and it's the story of a Korean girl and a boy from Long Island who fall in love, go to Brooklyn, move in together, get married, and live happily ever after without once sharing a common language or being able to converse with each other. It tells a story of the power of love, and how it transcends such mundane things as language and customs and country of origin.

dimplejuice6 karma

Do you still hear songs on the radio and try to figure out how to play them?

Neil-Diamond14 karma

No, I don't, I'm happy just to be able to figure out how to be able to play my own songs.

Deadmanx1324896 karma

Hey Neil !

What is your 2nd passion besides music ?

Neil-Diamond7 karma

Well, I only have that one passion that i've devoted my life to. Of course I love people, and I love life. But as far as expending myself and communicating with people and sharing what i am and what i have, music fills up all of those spaces, and has done it for me since i was a kid.