(I interrupt the normally scheduled Random Weekend for some thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Warning: Spoilers follow!)
It’s been a decade since I saw a Quentin Tarantino film I really loved. That was 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, a masterful blend of tension, action and melodrama that burst at the seams with daring creativity. It’s up there with Pulp Fiction as the most Tarantino movie Tarantino has ever made.
In contrast, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — for most of its running time — is the least Tarantino film he’s ever made. It’s also one of the best.
For my last song of Neil Diamond week, I’ll spare all of us and not share ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,’ Diamond’s #1 duet with Barbra Streisand. Instead, here’s ‘Forever in Blue Jeans,’ a track from the same album.
An ode to simplicity, this 1979 track closed out a strong decade for Diamond and ushered in the 80s, where his music descended into schmaltz (‘Heartlight,’ anyone?).
Two years after landing his first #1 song with ‘Cracklin’ Rosie,’ Neil Diamond did it again with ‘Song Sung Blue.’ This would be his last ever solo #1, though he did reach the top spot again with ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,’ a duet with Barbra Streisand.
I know this song best through Frank Sinatra’s cover version, recorded for his 1980 album Trilogy. Sinatra was a staple in my childhood home; Neil Diamond not so much.
Neil Diamond saw The Monkees take his song ‘I’m a Believer’ to #1 in 1966, but four years later he’d land his first #1 as a recording artist with ‘Cracklin’ Rosie.’
The rollicking song about a band of men who find solace in Cracklin’ Rosé wine was inspired by the tale of a Canadian First Nation tribe in which the men significantly outnumbered the women.
Neil Diamond’s most iconic song reached only as high as #4 on the Billboard charts, but ‘Sweet Caroline’ has undoubtedly been played more often than any of his other hits, and probably more often than most songs ever written.
Written in a hotel room in a couple of hours and recorded in a Memphis studio in 1969, ‘Sweet Caroline’ is now a karaoke and piano bar staple and a sports stadium standard on par with Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.’ The Boston Red Sox, in particular, have adopted this song as their official anthem and play it during the eighth inning of every home game.
This week I’m showing a little love for one of the most beloved and best-selling artists of all time, who has nevertheless gone unrepresented on my blog for almost ten years.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Neil Diamond!
I’m not sure what possessed me to download Diamond’s All-Time Greatest Hits recently. I suppose I was drunk with the power of my Amazon Unlimited Music streaming account. But download it I did, and found that I enjoyed the hell out of a good six to ten of its tracks.
I took last week off from blogging to allow time for the 40th birthday cruise my wife and I took on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. I’ll kick this week off with a short video from the cruise.
Cruise ships offer so many options for entertainment and relaxation but it’s funny how — just like in our regular lives — we tend to zero in on a just a few. In our case, it was the Schooner Bar, where each night an Australian pianist named Paul O’Shea set up shop.