“He once said that nowhere felt like home and that he didn’t have many friends. It’s been a lifelong struggle to fit in.”
He grew up in Forties working-class Brooklyn, the son of Polish-Russian Jews. He says of that, “a childhood shapes you and you’re like soft clay when you’re a child, in every respect. If fans are familiar with my music they are familiar with me, because the music is a direct reflection of who I am as a person.”
” I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried but it won’t let me go..”
He would ride the subway every day to college where he was studying to become a doctor. Having received a guitar for his 15th birthday from his parents, he wrote songs on the train ride.
“The subway was the only time I had privacy and quiet.”
His family were forever moving house in search of better business opportunities, which resulted in him having attended nine different schools at age sixteen. This lifestyle was forced on him by circumstances and it was instrumental in forming his internal, fiercely self-reliant personality. He says it was there, in his childhood that he developed a pathological resistance to any kind of uniformity. Along with that and his singing talent he became somewhat of an enigma to those close to him and he was, without exception, excluded from every circle of friends he encountered. He became a loner, “I don’t fit in” and a necessary condition for his survival. This forced him to create an imaginary friend, as he tells us in ‘Shilo’:
Papa says he’d love to be with youIf he had the timeSo you turn to the only friend you can findThere in your mindShilo, when I was youngI used to call your nameWhen no one elseWould comeShilo, you always cameAnd we’d play….
“I imagined the poet who writes the words he cannot speak to the woman he wants to woo and win.”
“I have to know myself and I have spent my life trying to know myself.”
He is an American singer-songwriter with a career that has spanned five decades, he has sold over 125 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. Considered the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton John.
“I am difficult,” he said. “I am very sensitive, and can be hurt and disturbed by things around me. It is hard for me to shake things off..”
Neil Leslie Diamond, Healer Idealist, was born January 24, 1941 Brooklyn, New York. a son of immigrants, Rose (née Rapaport) and Akeeba “Kieve” Diamond, a dry-goods merchant. As mentioned he grew up in several homes in Brooklyn, attending Abraham Lincoln High School. Diamond had also been a member of the fencing team there, then later attended New York University on a fencing scholarship, specializing in saber, and was a member of the 1960 championship team. [Wikipedia, revised]
His life ambition had been to go into medicine, as explained in a live interview with TV talk show host Larry King:
“I actually wanted to be a laboratory biologist. I wanted to study. And I really wanted to find a cure for cancer. My grandmother had died of cancer. And I was always very good at the sciences. And I thought I would go and try and discover the cure for cancer.”
However, during his senior year in NYU, a music publishing company made him an offer he could not refuse: an offer to write songs for $50 a week. This started him on the road.
“I portrayed myself as a Solitary Man in the early part of my career because the writing process is a very solitary process, and that was my frame of mind. As I grew up and learnt about myself, I’ve realised I like having people around. I like being with people. I enjoy company, but it’s only been in the last five or 10 years that I’ve realised that’s part of me as well, that there are those two aspects to me.”
“There was no eureka moment – it was a gradual growing up, a gradual self-awareness. I always liked having fun with audiences. Because the moment calls for it I believe I am allowed to be over the top on stage, so I am. And I enjoy that part of myself.”
“I am, I guess, a little over the top generally. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but it’s true. I’m a super-sensitive kind of person; I can be very emotional about things.”
“Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of being a king
And then became one
Well, except for the names and a few other changes
If you talk about me, the story’s the same one..”
(I Am I Said)
“There’s a lot of talking to myself in the songs,” says Diamond. “I advise myself, warn myself, congratulate myself, criticise myself, explore myself. That song is an exploration of how I’ve spent my life and whether I’ve been honest or just a poser. What is this thing? Does it have any value?”
It seems extraordinary that someone who has had so much success should still be questioning his worth. Diamond always denies suggestions of having suffered a hard childhood, but acknowledges that “Melancholy is part of my makeup.”
Idealist self-confidence rests on their authenticity, their genuineness as persons, or put another way, the self-image they present to the world allows for no façade, no mask, no pretense. To be authentic is to have integrity, inner unity, to ring true, and, driven by a Gandhi-like desire for Absolute Truth, Idealists insist on an ever higher standard of authenticity for themselves. On the other hand, if Idealists somehow undercut their authenticity by being phony or false or insincere, they can be taken over by fear and self-doubt.
…more than others, Idealists go through life feeling misunderstood, unknown, mistaken for the roles they are forced to play by social reality. You see, Idealists believe that each of us is a unique and special person. So it makes sense that they would feel prized by having their person known by another, if only on rare occasions. Idealists idealize themselves, and, as mentioned above, continue searching for their true self or real self. [David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II]
“The Reconcilers [Healers] are deeply committed to personal conciliation, that is, to preserving or restoring, as the case may be, the wholeness and health of those near and dear to them. Healers are spiritual go-betweens, acting as a bridge between conflicting factions, with the hope of assisting others to find health through inner peace. In this way healing is a matter of acceptance, accommodation, reconciliation, forgiveness, resolution, reunification — all in the interest of mending relationships between people or making whole a divided self.” [Personology]
“Healers are deeply reserved in nature, and are thus more comfortable working out of the limelight; indeed, they need to retreat periodically to private places to contemplate the mysteries of life, and to regain their own threatened wholeness. But when their ethical view of events thrusts them into public roles, they can be quite effective as leaders, filled as they tend to be with an exalted sense of mission.” [David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II]
And Diamond himself has the following to say about a writer’s perpetual dilemma: “That’s part of the test that I believe every artist has to face and either overcome or be overcome by it, the question being, can you write despite the intrusions of real life?”
“Just as life has very deep, dark moments, it also, hopefully, has its shiny, happy moments, and that makes for balance,” he says.
But the bedrock of his writing is a probing examination of self. This is the ditch he refers to:
“It’s grunt work, pure physical labour,” he says. “It’s ditch-digging, and unfortunately the ditch that I’m digging is inside of me.”
“In the mid 1970s I wrote that Apollo was the guiding deity of these Idealists (Myers’s Idealists). For the Greeks, Golden Apollo was the god of light, sometimes referred to as the sun-god, but more often portrayed as the god of light in the symbolic sense of the word — the god of truth or insight, of spiritual illumination or personal enlightenment. He was also the seer and the revealer, whose oracle at Delphi was the hallowed and feared voice of prophecy throughout the ancient world. And he was the healer, particularly the psychic healer, whose lyrical music purified his followers and taught them how to find inner wholeness. While some fascination with the primitive and the profane seemed to lurk just beneath his shining surface, Apollo was for the Greeks the most ideal of all the gods, a radiant figure of beauty and poetry in whom little of the savage remained.” [David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II]
I’ll be what I am: (Solitary Man)
“Healers present a tranquil and noticeably pleasant face to the world, but while to all appearances they might seem gentle and easy-going, on the inside they are anything but serene, having a capacity for caring not usually found in other types. Healers care deeply — passionately — about a few special persons or a favorite cause, and their fervent aim is to bring peace to the world and wholeness to themselves and their loved ones.” [David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II]
BOSTON, April 2013 — Neil Diamond called the switchboard at Fenway Park at about 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.
“Hey, I’m here,” he said, according to Red Sox officials. “Can I come?”
The 72-year-old, who had flown himself to Boston just for Saturday’s 1:10 p.m. game against the Royals, surprised the 35,152 in attendance after the top of the eighth inning and sung the song that’s made him synonymous with Fenway Park.
“Sweet Caroline” may have never sounded sweeter.
“What an honor it is be here. Boston I bring Love from the Whole country.”
“Isolated by their seclusiveness and infrequency (around one percent of the general population), their idealism leaves them feeling even more isolated from the rest of humanity.” [David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II]
Having not long turned 72, he is also in love again, re-married:
Diamond, at 71, had basically given up on marriage after his first two unions ended, but is glad he’s taking another shot at love. In 2012, April 21st he married his Manager, Katie McNeil.
“Katie and I got married last night, we wish you all could’ve been there. It was magical!”
“I had every possible chance to do it right. Both are spectacular women,” he says of his past wives. “I felt if I couldn’t make something wonderful and life long happen with them, then maybe I wasn’t capable of it. But I’m throwing myself back in because I like being married. I don’t want to end this whole fabulous journey alone.”
“Healers cling to their dreams, and often find it difficult to reconcile a romantic, idealized concept of conjugal life with the realities of everyday living with another person. Even at the best of times, they seem fearful of too much marital bliss, afraid that current happiness may have to be paid for with later sacrifices. The devil is sure to get his due if one experiences too freely of happiness, or, for that matter, of success, or beauty, or wealth, or knowledge. This almost preconscious conviction that pleasure must be paid for with pain can cause a sense of uneasiness in Healers when they marry; they may feel they must be ever-vigilant against invasion, and can therefore have trouble relaxing in the happiness of mating.” [Please Understand Me II]
And the Singer sings his Song..