Last week Neil Diamond and Elton John both announced that after 50 years they were retiring from touring.
Sadly, Diamond’s reason is a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease while John wants to spend more time with his family. Nevermind the fact that they are 77 and 70 years old, respectively which is beyond the age of retirement. And they both stated that they are retiring from the road only and will still be active in the music industry in other ways.
In 1966, at the tender age of 8, I fell deeply and madly in love. He was 17 years older than me but ruggedly handsome with a deep gravelly voice that sang to me (literally) over the radio. His name was Neil Diamond and the songs I was hearing were “Solitary Man”, “Shilo”, “Cherry Cherry”, and the one I felt was written for and sung to me and me alone, “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon”.
Yes, I would have had to fight off a lot of other females who were just as in love, but it was worth it. We had 9 “dates” over the years, beginning with 1972’s “Hot August Night” tour in Vancouver, Canada. I guess we will never have number 10.
Neil Diamond went on to have many hits both as a singer and songwriter. I remember my friends younger brother saying “who’s this Diamond dude covering UB40’s song – doesn’t he know it is supposed to be reggae?” Of course, he was referring to “Red Red Wine”, written and recorded by the Diamond dude many years before.
Anyway, Neil, I am so sorry for your health news but I look forward to hearing any new songs you write, whether for yourself or anyone else. You started in Tin Pan Alley making $50.00 a week (in the 60’s) writing songs for other people to sing and I am sure you could bring in a little more than that these days! 😉
Sir Elton John first entered my life in 1970 with “Border Song” and “Your Song”. I loved his piano-laden tracks and beautiful melodies. Bernie Taupin’s lyrics really drew me in, making me feel like I was part of the story they were telling. “Tiny Dancer” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” remain two of my favourites. It is amazing that these two did not work together on a song. Bernie would write “a bunch” of lyrics and hand them off to Elton who would add the music. It is a process that definitely works.
Oh, and Sir Elton John may be not touring, but that is only after he does his 300 date Farewell tour!
In researching this post I found out some interesting facts that I didn’t even know about.
- Both wrote songs for other people before they had their own singing careers
- Both had songs recorded by Lulu and The Hollies
- Sir Elton played piano on The Hollies’ recording of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, a song that Neil Diamond also recorded and had a hit with.
- Both are celebrating 50 years of touring this year.
Enjoy a couple of my favourites.