How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond, By David Wild

Reviewed,Anita Sethi
Saturday 22 October 2011 21:09

David Wild is a "Diamondhead". It has been this way since childhood, when the music of Neil Diamond filtered through his family home: the Wilds worshipped the musician as a "Jewish Elvis". David Wild manages to turn his personal passion into a profession and becomes a Rolling Stone journalist charged with interviewing his hero several times. He wins Diamond over and the Wild family receives a personal invitation to shows.

The book, then, is part Wild's memoir, part biography of Diamond, tracing the arc of his career and private life. It was at a progressive Jewish camp in 1956 that Diamond was inspired to take up guitar, going on to produce what Wild feels is the "almost existential quality of loneliness" at the heart of his best early work. He paints a portrait of a solitary, otherworldly, self-deprecating musician with single-minded vision, who made a decision to please the masses rather than the critics.

Wild is captivated by Diamond's "beautiful noise" and the "semireligious experience" of speaking with the man. While his enthusiasm is not always infectious, the book sheds insights into the fascinating psychology of fandom.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments