Friday, February 24, 2012

on the tumblr

I have a bunch of random photos that are not going to get posted here any time soon, so I plunked them into a tumblr blog and queued them up. If you're curious, head on over

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Before Its Time

From Playboy, January 1981.

I always thought it was "we will sell no wine before it's time," as in "before it is time." Huh. This is as confusing as finding out the jingle was "nobody doesn't like Sara Lee."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Officially Too Much Neil Diamond

I have mixed feelings about "Hell Yeah" because, to be honest, it feels a little bit like that Bill Cosby joke about old people acting nice because they're trying to get into heaven now. Neil has been talking about dying since the mid 1970s! Get over it, Neil, you're going to live to be 100. Your mother is still alive, for corn's sake. Cut it out.

Behold the rock star ego in its native habitat. I've seen this before but only tonight did I notice that the girl who was holding her hand out to him during the entire concert passes him her key at about 2:55, which he takes and puts in his pocket.

I'm obsessed with the girl giving him her key. At 1:50 you can tell he notices the key. When he takes the key about a minute later, he does an "aw yeah" gesture with his arm. Other girls have their hands out too, but I don't see him taking anything. He goes back about 4:45 to who I think is the first girl.

So many questions. How does he know what hotel it is? Does Neil Diamond at the height of his fame really try to sneak into the downtown Motel 6 to get some groupie booty? What if he changes his mind, how does the girl get her key back? She'd be locked out of her room! Very inconvenient.

Every hotel across America probably had to change their locks because Neil had all the keys by 1980.

Anyway, another reason Neil is irritating me tonight is because he apparently did a song called "Diamond Girls" about his groupies and how they were hurting their souls with one night stands. Dude, you're getting booty and BJs out of this little arrangement, why don't you worry about YOUR soul and stop with the slut shaming?

I don't know, man. The 70s were too confusing.

I can't embed this, but it's Neil Diamond from May 27, 2011 interviewed on the BBC, where he apparently gave the female host a flower and kissed the male host. In 1976 in an interview I already linked to, the host gives Neil a flower at about 38:35, and at the end of the interview at about 46:00 minutes in, Neil flirts back. As irritated as I am with Neil tonight, I can't hate on him too much because he is adorable in both instances. Why is he never that adorable with female interviewers?

Found out tonight that Neil is responsible for getting Elton John his first gig at the Troubadour for a performance that became the "11-17-70" album, and since Elton John is my sworn nemesis I have very mixed feelings. It's a long story I'll go into on SBBN sometime soonish, but I decided tonight that I was going to punch that Diamond bastard if I ever ran into him [1] but then I saw this:

Yeah, that guy is wiry and has a reach on him. I'll steer clear, thank you.

[1] Attention Neil Diamond's security personnel: Not an actual threat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tacky and Misguided

So this is pretty strange: Neil Diamond performing "Holly Holy" with really bad dancers distracting everyone.

It's from the "Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," and the IMDb places it in 1970, probably an October episode. It is... well, I already said tacky and misguided, so all I got left is bizarre.

Neil had been on the show a year earlier. Interestingly, he's introduced as having had 8 top ten hits in the past three years, which wasn't true in 1969 unless you counted half of those hits as Monkees versions of the songs. To make things even more confusing, the IMDb has no record of either Neil or Cher appearing on this episode, so I have no idea what the date could be beyond 1969.

Don't watch this. It's terrible. It's a revoltingly smug Glen Campbell and slightly confused Cher singing a medley of Neil's hits with Neil playing a supporting role, and at about 4:24 when he gets a close up, you can see he's frightened to death, and I would imagine really damn irritated to boot. I can't believe human beings were subjected to this kind of crap just to get their art noticed.

Not content with having his work butchered by Glen Campbell twice, Neil apparently went back in 1971 to perform "Soolaimon."

This is listed as the "Glen Campbell Comedy Hour," but no such show existed. It's a rerun from CMT so obviously it's the "Goodtime Show" again, and it's certainly 1971 because Neil looks exactly as he did on the 1971 BBC performance... which is also not on the IMDb, I mean come on IMDb, what are you even there for? While I'm not comfortable with the white god standing over the African natives motif, the dancing is very good, the song is surprisingly strong 40 years after it was released, and the overall presentation of the white male singing about his black female "my woman" was pretty progressive.

Back to the bad: The 1977 "I'm So Glad You're Here With Me Tonight" special with Neil performing a medley of his hits with interspersed bits of slo-mo clips of his past concerts. It appears stretched out because aspect ratio is hard, and editing the width doesn't correct the problem.

The sunglasses are to hide his shame.

Honestly, the "I Am...I Said" breaks my heart, because I imagine the pained look on his face is the knowledge that he is about a million miles away from the earnest young man who could barely bring himself to perform such an emotionally revealing song in the 1971 BBC appearance.

And finally, speaking of 1971 BBC, here's Neil in almost the same outfit as the BBC appearance, performing "I Am...I Said" while wandering around a bunch of teenagers who aren't paying much attention.

No idea what show this is from. Does anyone recognize the tag on the upper left? I guess I should be asking if anyone is even reading this blog first, then asking questions of the few stragglers left behind. But if the tag can be identified, we can possibly figure out what reruns they show and go from there.

I have done nothing but learn about Neil Diamond for five full days now. I was about to say "nothing but devour Neil Diamond" but that turns this post into some kind of cannibal porn I'm just not prepared to think about right now.

Speaking of tacky and misguided, I guess I should actually create a Neil Diamond tag for the blog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Neil Diamond

Another performance video from the same show that had "Solitary Man" which I put in the previous post. From a 1966 episode of "Where the Action Is" which was hosted by members of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Those are not imitation Raiders, they are the genuine article, which explains why they are so irritating.

I'm learning how to dance by watching the girl on the right. She is fantastic. I have an enormous crush on her right now, she is so terrific.

Special Note For Arachnophobics: One of the Raiders teases Neil with a small crab, which is a kind of freaky.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Neil and my nervous breakdown

Brief interview with Neil Diamond on American Bandstand in 1966. There is so much to love about this. He looks 12 years old (to be fair, he looked 12 until he was in his 30s, the bastard). He has great hair, but then Dick Clark asks him a stupid question about long hair, which is hilarious in retrospect. Neil is too nervous to look at Dick Clark while talking, but watch at the very beginning for his instinctual "hey baby" suave look at the girls shrieking at him.

Solitary Man video performance from 1966. Includes bonus original nose.

Neil with Johnny Cash in 1970. He's started growing his hair out and he's gotten over his nervousness. The banter before the song is corny, but don't blame me, I wasn't even born in 1970. I just report the facts. Once again, the host has to compliment Neil on his hair, but you have to admit, Neil had the best hair in show business. No offense to Gary Sandy.

BBC concert from 1971. UPDATE: I changed this to the full version instead of the edited 30 minute version which was released on UK DVD. The edited version omits two songs and some really nice banter. Small audience, intimate performance. The version of "I Am...I Said" at 30:00 will ruin your life forever. If you want to see just that song and not the whole thing, try here, but the video quality isn't quite as good.

Promotional film to go along with the studio recording of "I Am...I Said" from 1972.

Audio-only interview with Geraldo Rivera on August 13, 1976 before his concert at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, after the nearly four-year hiatus he took at the height of his career. Includes a little sound check audio and performance audio at the end. I think this is audio recorded from a television broadcast. You youngin's don't remember, but in the days before VCRs we would put a tape recorder in front of the TV to record shows. Some "Doctor Who" episodes survive only in audio that fans recorded this way.

Absolutely insane 47-minute interview during Neil's Australian tour in 1976. The sound goes out of synch halfway through; the whole interview can be found on the DVD release of the concert footage.

According to the anchor, it's the first real in-depth interview he had ever given on television, and Diamond says early on that he agreed to the interview because he wanted to counter his image in the press.

UPDATE: I have the dates wrong on this. The drug bust thing was about 3 months after this, but I'll leave the story because it's interesting.

The media in mid-1976 was filled with news of his drug bust on the day before the launch of his comeback tour. A few dozen federal agents swarmed his house as he was packing for the tour, brought there by an anonymous tip that Neil had shitloads of cocaine in his house. He did not, but they did find less than half an ounce of pot, which was not a federal crime. It was a crime in California at the time, though, so a few months after this interview he went before a judge, pleaded not guilty, and was given diversion. That's like probation for misdemeanors. Go ahead, ask me how I know this. When he completed drug counseling, the charges were dropped. The big news about this was that Neil had been adamantly anti-drug prior to this, so he came across as a hypocrite. Like all things, time has dampened the scandal, but the news coverage is probably the first memory I have of Neil Diamond.

If you ever wondered why Neil Diamond is considered so damn sexy, watch the concert footage early in the clip. Those hips in those pants, and then the breeze pulls through his hair at just the right moment.

I know it's a long interview, but give it about 14 minutes or so because it's fascinating to see Neil when he drops his defenses. He's honest from the very beginning, but he's often very guarded, hidden behind tinted glasses and defensive postures.

Also, glory in the fashions of 1976. Hipsters would pay hundreds for knock-off vintage copies of those glasses.

"I Am...I Said" again, this time at the Greek in 1976.

I'm watching a ton of Neil Diamond concerts, TV performances and interviews during a pretty spectacular nervous breakdown tonight. You may have seen mention of this on my Twitter, which I use infrequently. So infrequently that in my inexperience typed "@NeilDiamond" instead of "#NeilDiamond" and thus directly tweeted news of my emotional distress to a major, international celebrity. I'm sure he appreciated that.

For some reason the sight of a 30-year-old Neil on an old album cover a few days ago triggered an enormous emotional response that I cannot fully define, and of course one of Neil's most famous lyrics is "I am lost and I can't even say why." So I am fluxing between relating to that and feeling like an idiot for relating to that. To semi-define the problem, I'm absolutely consumed with this overwhelming feeling of loss for the past, and it becomes unbearable in the context of Neil Diamond. (See for yourself.)

We all go through life accepting that we get older and everything changes, but for some inexplicable reason I have lost that acceptance and am pretty much just wailing and gnashing my teeth about it 24/7. Maybe posting will help get it out of my head for a while.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Press Your Luck

I haven't been around for a while because I'm busy. Busy busy busy. But I stumbled across this screen shot of an episode of the 1980s "Press Your Luck" -- my second favorite game show ever -- and had to share.

The audience pretty much shared that guy's WTF face. I remember this episode; the woman was a lunatic.