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Friday, January 24, 2020

Solving the 'Mystery' of Writing

“There’s a mystery to writing, and you don’t really know where most of it comes from.”—Neil Diamond

Diamond, born on this date in 1941 and raised in Brooklyn, NY, is arguably one of the world’s best-known singer-songwriters. He’s authored hundreds of songs, had 11 number one hits, and sold some $150 million records around the globe.   And, yet, this great musician almost took his talents in a different direction.

A terrific athlete, he attended New York University on a fencing scholarship and was a member of the 1960 NCAA championship team.  But he said his life ambition was to be a laboratory biologist “and find a cure for cancer  (his grandmother died of the disease); I sincerely thought I could discover the cure,” he said.  But during his senior year, a music publishing company made him a dream offer he couldn’t refuse – writing songs at $50 each, a huge amount in those days. 
A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Kennedy Center honoree, his Number One hits include Cracklin’ Rosie, Heartlight, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers and Sweet Caroline, which has become a standard for almost every sporting venue.  The “bah, bah, bah” refrain may be the most sung phrase in the world, next to Happy Birthday, of course.  And, the song was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

“The main objective in any song I write has always been that it reflect the way I feel, that it touches me when I’m finished with it; that it moves me, that it can take me along with it and involve me in what it’s saying.  Songs are life – in 80 words or less.”

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