February 2012

The Jazz Singer

1980 movie received mixed reviews

Since this is Oscar week, I thought I’d write about Neil Diamond’s one and only film so far, The Jazz Singer. The film didn’t receive any Academy Award nominations, although Diamond did receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, and “Love On The Rocks” was nominated for Best Original Song. Diamond won a Razzie (Golden Rasberry) Award for Worst Actor and The Jazz Singer was nominated for Worst Movie.

The soundtrack to The Jazz Singer was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album of an Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special.

The Jazz Singer received mixed reviews when it was released in 1980. A remake of the 1927 Al Jolson classic, The Jazz Singer stars Neil Diamond as Yussel Rabinovitch, a young Jewish man who has dreams of becoming a pop singer. Yussel defies his father, a cantor (Sir Laurence Olivier) and his wife Rivka, and heads to California to pursue his dream.

Shilo

Song is based on Diamond's lonely childhood

One of my most favorite Neil Diamond songs is the early classic "Shilo". The song reminds me of my childhood, playing by myself with my imaginary friend, Alice.

"Shilo" was written and recorded in 1967, but it wasn't released as a single until 1970. At the time it  was written, Diamond's label, Bang Records, refused to release "Shilo” since it was a departure from Diamond’s signature pop sound. Disagreement with the label over the release of “Shilo” caused Diamond to leave Bang Records in 1968 and sign with Uni Records.

During his first two years with Uni Records, Neil did not have any hit records. In 1970, Neil had hits with “Sweet Caroline” and “Holly Holy”, and his career was back on track. At that time, Bang Records decided to release “Shilo” as a single. They re-recorded the back track to make the song sound more like Neil’s current sound at the time.

Neil Diamond on Pandora Radio

There's more to Neil Diamond than "Sweet Caroline"

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Pandora radio to my phone. Finally. I’m enjoying it so far, for the most part.

I like the fact that you have the ability to listen to one of their pre-programmed stations, or create one (or more) of your own, based on genre or artist.

I’ve created several of my own stations: Queen, The Bee Gees, Buddy Holly, and Neil Diamond. If you use Pandora, you know how it works. You select your artist and a station is created based on your choice.  The station plays songs by your choice of artist and by others of the same ilk. About every fourth song that is played should be by the artist you chose for the station. Except for the Neil Diamond station, I guess.