Jayne was his childhood sweetheart, the inspiration for his first love song – Hear Them Bells, a little-remembered ditty that goes: “My darling, I need you more each day/ I’d be contented dear, if only you’d say/ I’ll be yours forever, sweetheart”.The sentiments worked sufficiently well for them to marry in their early twenties and have two daughters before divorcing in 1969. By now, following some bruising years on the New York club circuit, Neil was tasting success.Rubin made Diamond sit down and re-listen to his melancholic Sixties hits – Solitary Man, Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon, and Red Red Wine – and work out what was good about them. Both albums became huge hits, taking Diamond to the top of both the US and British charts for the first time in decades. He had written The Monkees’ monster hit I’m a Believer, and landed a lucrative recording contract with Atlantic Records. His songs – said by Rolling Stone critic David Wild to be rooted “in a deep sense of isolation and desire for connection” – brought up feelings that propelled him into a lifetime of therapy.
My closest friend is a fellow I went to school with, and I haven’t seen him in four years.
Every tour has its different touches, but there are certain things that it is reasonable to expect from the Neil Diamond package.
A forest of chest hair, a coating of sequins, and a few poignant words from the star on his failure to find love.
“My relationships have suffered,” he admits, “because I haven’t been able to find an outlet other than music, whether it be mountain climbing, skiing or playing cards; whatever it is that husbands do with their spouses.
My wives grew tired of playing second fiddle to my work.” He grew up in working-class Brooklyn, the son of Polish-Russian immigrants, who didn’t take kindly to his wasting his youth on the guitar.