ETA: My Picks are after the Jump…
It’s down to the Top 5. This week’s mentor is prolific songwriter and singer Neil Diamond. The remaining Idols will sing 2 songs each from the Neil Diamond songbook on Tuesday.
His career spans 5 decades, beginning as a songwriter in the famed Brill Building writing songs for others. After scoring hits for the Monkees, (“I’m a Believer”) Diamond was signed by a record label and had his first hit “Solitary Man” on the record charts. After that, hits like “Kentucky Woman, ” and “Cherry, Cherry” followed.
In the 70’s he had hits with “Cracklin’ Rosie”, “Sweet Caroline”, “Song Sung Blue”, “Longfellow Serenade” and “September Morn”. He and Barbra Streisand had a #1 hit together, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”
Diamond starred in the movie The Jazz Singer in 1980. The popular soundtrack featured the songs, “Love on the Rocks”, “Hello Again”, and “America”. He also scored a hit with the theme from the movie ET, “Heartlight”, in 1983.
After a bit of a slump in the late 80’s and 90’s, Neil Diamond re-emerged, made hip for the young folks. His song “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon” was featured in Quentin Tarrentino’s Pulp Fiction and producer Rick Rubin who began his career producing hip-hop records (and eventually working with Johnny Cash), produced Diamond’s latest record 12 songs.
Some covers of Neil Diamond songs you may or may not know:
Elvis Presley – “Sweet Caroline” and “And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind, ” UB40 – “Red Red Wine” and Johnny Cash – “Solitary Man.”
“Sweet Caroline” is the theme song of the Red Sox Nation. Just thought I’d throw that in there. Heh.
I like Neil Diamond’s work from the 60’s and early 70’s. After that, in my opinion, he became a bit of a hack. “You Don’t Send Me Flowers” makes me want to run screaming from the room. I mean…HATE. But hey, that’s just me. I haven’t heard his recent work with producer Rick Rubin, but it’s been very well received by critics.
This is a good theme for the folkies, Brooke White and Jason Castro. Unfortunately, one of them will probably be eliminated this week. What could R&B singer, Syesha Mercado possibly sing? David Cook will pick a song that sounds like a ridiculous song choice at first glance and then proceed to kill it. That appears to be his MO so far. Why change it? David Archuleta should have no problem finding a song to fit his style.
In a bit, I’ll add my picks. But in the meantime, what are yours?
- Syesha Mercado – “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”, “September Morn”
- David Cook – “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime”, “Solitary Man”
- David Archuleta – “America”, “I’m a Believer”
- Jason Castro – “And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind”, “Red Red Wine”
- Brooke White – “Heartlight”, “Holly Holy”