Neil Diamond Is Forever: The Illustrated History Of The Man And His Music – Book Review


Did you know that “Neil Diamond” is Neil Diamond’s real
name? I had no idea. In fact, there are a whole bunch of facts about this legendary
singer/songwriter I didn’t know. Fortunately, these little tidbits are
all lovingly illuminated in the ‘heart light’ glow of Jim Bream’s
book, Neil Diamond Is Forever: The Illustrated Story Of The Man And
His Music

It’s all put in a chronological perspective in this beautiful coffee
table-like art book, another in a long line of these music artist bios from
Voyageur Press. Voyageur does a great job at culling together incredible visuals
of memorabilia, concert programs, posters, backstage passes, foreign and domestic
45 singles, and a whole litany of odds and ends. The thing with a book like
this is you don’t want just anyone doing the writing. I mean, it’s pretty
to look at, but unless you get a guy like Bream behind it, it would be nothing
more than just a conversation piece.

Bream (see my interview with the author)
is a seasoned, award-winning music journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune
who is able to temper his adulation of Diamond while trying to get to the
root of the man. As the book’s author told me during an interview, Neil
Diamond has sold 3.6 concert tickets around the world since 2001. That’s pretty
impressive numbers for anyone, let alone a guy who has been inducted into the
Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

It’s all here — Diamond’s humble Brooklyn childhood: his
days as a Brill building songwriter; the infamous Greek Theater concerts and
subsequent live album; working with the legendary Laurence Olivier in the film
The Jazz Singer; even Diamond’s recent albums with producer Rick
Rubin,. There are quotes about the singer from luminaries like Paul McCartney,
John Fogerty, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and many others. But mostly it’s
Neil Diamond talking about himself where we get the most insights.

Bream has interviewed Diamond seven times since 1976, and is the sole writer
here (many other Voyageur Press titles include teams of writers). The book is
a perfect balance of just enough commentary with just enough interview excerpts,
filled out with incredible graphics. Neil Diamond Is Forever: The Illustrated
Story Of The Man And His Music
is a great read for any Diamondhead
or casual fan that helps you get inside the world of Neil Diamond, the man and
his music.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.Bookmark and Share