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He Is ... I Say : How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond
He Is...I Say examines Neil Diamond's singular place in the pantheon of popular music. David Wild--who has written about Diamond for Rolling Stone, penned the liner notes to a number of Diamond's anthologies, and produced Diamond's scandal-free episode of Behind the Music. Now he dares to turn on his "Heartlight," offering a moving and hilarious salute to his own Jewish Elvis based on his past interviews with the Solitary Man himself. An illuminating snapshot of a beloved American icon, He Is...I Say endearingly speaks to the condition of being a Diamondhead in a hipper-than-thou world, while fully illustrating exactly what it is that makes the man and the artist so special.
Wild, who's written companion books to the sitcoms Friends and Seinfeld, doesn't pretend to any objectivity on the subject of Neil Diamond--over the years, he's interviewed the singer-songwriter for Rolling Stone, written liner notes for a retrospective box set, even produced an episode of Behind the Music. So this isn't so much a biography as a book-length case of pure, unapologetic fandom that traces every step of Diamond's life, from his childhood in Brooklyn and his rise to fame in the 1960s and '70s to his most recent comeback albums. (Wild is not, however, critically blind; an attempt to watch the film of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, for which Diamond wrote the soundtrack, ends in frustration.) The cutesy references to song titles can get annoying--Wild runs the phrase I'm a Believer as a self-description into the ground--but perceptive insights into the biographical circumstances of Diamond's artistry abound. If you are not a Neil Diamond fan already, this book is not likely to change your mind, but Wild knows he's preaching to the converted: If you hate Neil Diamond, he jokes, then you may actually hate yourself. (Nov.)
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Da Capo Press
October 04, 2009
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