Today is Neil Diamond’s birthday. It’s difficult for someone my age to even give him lip service, and even so, I must qualify it: “Uh, only up to around ‘Longfellow Serenade’ (1974)”. After that, he became an easy listening mainstay and a sort of late-phase Elvis for old Jewish ladies. But before that, he was a relatively tasteful and talented pop songwriter, even though his performances are sort of mortifyingly uncool.
Some of those songs from the early 70s are pretty amazing, especially the tunes, production and the ideas behind them (though the lyrics can range from bad to kitsch).
I liked the bathos and existential melodrama of “I Am…I Said” so much that I used it for the closing number in my show Nihils: The Negation of Everything in the Brick Theater’s Pretentious Festival. The piece is a sort of relentless exploration of the negative aspects of comedy, the need to upset things, to make them wrong, to, in essence annihilate them. In retrospect I can see that I was in a pretty low psychological state while working in it (good for the piece, not so good for the author). Anyway, it’s published on line at Indie Theatre Now; you can read it here if you are burning with curiosity!
Nowadays, I am in a much healthier place, and for reasons that will be obvious to some, I am much more inclined to hum along with this one, even if it gets one of the vowels wrong: