(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If you disagree then you should be forced to leave...deported from America.)
I knew that if I worked hard enough, I'd be able to find a way to incorporate my love for the World Champion Boston Red Sox into my hatred for sucky music. I knew there was a link to be made between the team that made history by sweeping the Anaheim Angels (or whatever they want to call themselves) in the ALDS, came back from a three games to none deficit in a best-of-seven ALCS to beat the overpaid whores known as the New York Yankees (first time in baseball history that has been done), and then went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to end an 86 year championship draught and end any and all talk of a curse, and Music That Sucks. Then it occured to me that I had yet to induct Neil Diamond. Now the question the non-Red Sox fan readership of MTS might have is "what does Neil Diamond have to do with the Boston Red Sox?" More on that later...
Born on 1/24/41 in the former home of baseball's Dodgers, Brooklyn NY, Diamond set out to bamboozle the rock-loving world by invading the airwaves with music that sounds more like it should be headlining a Las Vegas hotel than topping the pop music charts. Fancying himself a songwriter, Diamond signed on with a small outfit called Bang Records while also writing songs for other artists in 1965. It didn't take long for Diamond to succeed in his quest of getting shitty music over with the masses: in 1966 his first single, "Cherry Cherry" made the Top Ten (eventually peaking at #6) while a song he wrote for fellow MTS inductees The Monkees (MTS #6), "I'm A Believer", made it all the way to the top.
Putting the shitty Monkees song aside for a moment, with "Cherry Cherry" you are exposed to full dose of Diamond suckiness: everything from the weakest raspy voice in the history of recorded music to the horrible backing instumentals that would fail to impress a high school band instructor. Let me also state for the record that much like a handful of other MTS inductees, Neil Diamond's music skewed towards the middle-aged set. Unlike those other inductees, Diamond was actually appealing to the younger crowd in the beginning as well. Diamond was actually able to appeal to both teenagers and their parents for a short period of time.
Diamond, permanent bad hair day and all, garnered five more spots in the Top 30 in 1966-1967. Among these are "I Got The Feelin' (Oh No, Oh No)" (#16), "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" (#10) which enjoyed a bit of a resurrgence when it was included in the soundtrack to the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, "I Thank The Lord For The Night Time" (#13), "Kentucky Woman (#22), and "You Got To Me" (#18). During the rising the of hippie movement in 1968, Diamond and his awful crooning fell out favor, leading to Diamond having a horrible year in which none of the five he released managed to crack the Top 50. Just when it appeared that Diamond's career was finished, a funny thing happened. Those parents I spoke of earlier, who were never really big record buyers before, started turning out in droves to buy Diamond's music in 1969. His first single that year, the annoying and pretentious "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" made it to #22. You've got to remember the '69 was the year of Woodstock, and I highly doubt the zonked-out hippies were smoking weed and dropping LSD while listening to Neil fucking Diamond.
His second single of '69, "Holly Holy", a song that seems to drone on for ten hours, was the first of what would be many to appear on the "Adult Contemporary" charts (#5), as well as the pop charts (#6). His biggest hit of the year was his last, and is also in the running for most annoying Neil Diamond song. "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)" became his biggest hit to date, reaching #3 on the A/C charts and #4 on the pop charts. This song, perhaps the one he is known best for, is played before the 9th inning during Red Sox home games at Fenway Park in Boston with the crowd of 35,000 plus chipping in a "Bah Bah Bum" right after Diamond croons "Sweet Caroline" and right before "good times never seemed so good". This is a fairly new phenomenon, as the game I attended this past year on my birthday was the first time that I witnessed it, and I had been to a few Sox games before (the last time before this past championship season was 2001).
As Diamond-reha spread thoughout the land, Neil became a sex-symbol amongst the middle-aged crowd. It's hard to fathom,what with his hair that seems to be in a permanent comb-over and glittery jump suits that pre-date Elvis. Yet "mature" women the world over were finding out that they still get wet despite having gone through menopause. Diamond's stretch of luck only got bigger in the '70's, as his first single of the decade, "Cracklin Rosie" (perhaps about one of those estrogen-challenged groupies of his) became his first #1 hit (on the pop charts, it hit #2 on the A/C charts). His follow-up single, "Do It" (unfortunately not about advice he recieved while contemplating suicide) only went as high as #36, but his version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" went to #20 on the pop charts and #4 on the A/C charts. That same year the Hollies also recorded the song (I'm unsure of which version came out first), and they took it to #1. After a couple of songs that charted decently on the pop charts and high on the dreaded A/C charts (such as "Solitary Man" and "Soolaimon, Diamond had another major hit in 1971 with "I Am...I Said", which went to #4 (#2 A/C). Apparently the grandmothers of the world couldn't get enough of this guy's repetitive horseshit.
The following year Diamond topped the pop charts with the putrid "Song Sung Blue" and the A/C charts with the horrid "Glitchy Gloomy". In 1973 he kept right on rolling after signing a huge contract with Columbia Records. His first album for Columbia would be his most successful chart-wise, that being the soundtrack for the movie Johnathon Livingston Seagull. One of his many albums to go gold, it reached #2 on the album charts. That same year he had to audacity to re-release his debut single, "Cherry Cherry", and the damned thing managed to go as high as #31 the second time around. King Midas had nothing on this asshole!
Aside from "Glitchy Gloomy", Diamond managed to top the A/C charts four more times. He did it in 1974 with "Longfellow Serenade" (which also went to #5 on the pop charts), in 1975 with "I've Been This Way Before (#34 pop), "If You Know What I Mean" in '76 (#11 pop) which was off his first platinum album Beauitful Noise, and a cover of the Beach Boys' hit "God Only Knows" in '78. 1978 also saw Diamond top the pop charts for the third time in his career with "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", which amazingly enough also showed up on the Country Music charts (#70). His next single, 1979's "Forever In Blue Jeans" would also reach the Country charts (#73) and claim the #20 spot on the pop charts.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Diamond hit the big screen starring in the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer. Diamond had previously appeared in The Last Waltz, the Oliver Stone directed movie chronicling the final concert for the group who at one time backed up Bob Dylan, The Band; but this was his first real acting gig and it was a box office smash. The soundtrack for the movie reached #3 on the album charts and went platinum, backed by the hit single "America" (#8 pop, #1 A/C). A song about immigration, "America" could be used as a way to send immigrants fleeing back to their respective homelands with tears running down their faces their faces and blood running down from their ears.
Although his days of a chart topper are long behind him, Diamond continues to make major bank touring. He was actually the top concert draw for the first half of 1992, according to Amusement Business, who apparently keep track of shit like that. To this day his concerts sell out and bring top dollar for tickets. Perhaps when his aging fan base dies off we can put his shitty ass music to rest. His recordings should be put in a time capsule and shot somewhere into outer space where they could do no more harm. If the inbred dumb-fuck president of this country had really wanted to capture Osama Bin Ladin, perhaps he would have equipped the troops stationed in the middle east with a Neil Diamond box set and tried to flush his ass out of hiding.
What pisses me off most about Neil Diamond (aside from the fact that I'll have to suffer through "Sweet Caroline" anytime I go to Fenway to catch a Red Sox game) is that despite being a performer who appealed mainly to dried up house fraus, is no better than teen idols such as New Kids On The Block. Every song has the same basic sound, and he never deviates. Yet to this day he continues to make money hand-over-fist. If you'll excuse me, I have to vomit...then take a big, nasty, smelly shit.
Neil Diamond, music...that sucks!