In my most recent article celebrating Neil Diamond’s upcoming birthday, I spoke of how remarkable it is that Neil Diamond is still able to travel the globe and present his fabulous shows to his adoring audiences, particularly as younger artists and bands have been and gone, and yet Neil remains a constant in the music industry.
Never did I think that a mere three days later I would be reading of Neil Diamond’s retirement from concert performing due to a medical diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, where regrettably he has cancelled his upcoming Australian concerts as the finale of his “50th Anniversary World Tour” as disappointed as his many fans in Australia will be, Neil Diamond himself will be devastated.
Neil will no doubt feel he has let his fans down, and yet his consideration has to be his own welfare and wellbeing.
As a man who has been a huge fan of Neil Diamond for over forty five years, I am deeply saddened by this, the tears welled up in my eyes as I read this awful news.
I remember the first time I heard Neil Diamond on the radio, the song was “I Am...I Said” and being such a young boy, I couldn’t analyse it as I have done on this Website, it was Neil’s voice, warm and sincere, it was then I began this love affair, following his music and career, I began collecting cassette tapes of his albums, and now have practically everything he has ever recorded on vinyl, tape and CD, I have attended umpteen live shows over the many years I have followed this great man, and I fully understand the devastation fans of Elvis Presley felt when their idol passed away.
My fandom of Neil Diamond has been lifelong, and all consuming, my partner says I am obsessed, how does one define obsession, if by collecting a vast array of his albums and other memorabilia, and by following Neil around the UK over many, many years on his tours, and by compiling scrapbooks of news clippings and other articles, then I guess I am obsessed.
Neil Diamond touched my soul too many years ago to recall, and meeting him was a particular highlight of my life, a meeting which cemented, and wholly justified my worship of this remarkable man. I don’t see my fandom as obsessive, but as a recognition of his immense talents as a musician,
a humble man, a genuine and sincere man, but a giant in the music industry.
I understand Neil is to receive a lifetime achievement award at the upcoming Grammys, a fitting tribute to a man who has given everything he can to the industry, and can now bow out knowing he has filled his lifetime ambition of being accepted and recognised.
As Neil fights this most debilitating condition, my thoughts are with him, as I am sure are those of his legions of fans around the world, who will wish him the best in his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Neil Diamond will realise that we his fans are with him, and that he is no longer the “Solitary Man”.
My intention isn’t to make this sound like an ending, as Neil has stated he will continue to write and record for as long as he is able. This is a heartfelt narrative about a man I have loved and admired all my life, and a wish that he continues to thrive as best he can in lieu of his diagnosis, however, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that we will not see Neil Diamond on stage anymore, particularly as those fabulous shows of last year are still fresh in the memory.
Good Luck Neil, and thank you for all you have given throughout your amazing career. God speed and blessings.
May 23, 2018