Neil Diamond’s “Lightning Round”: Kennedy Center Honors Watch

Neil Diamond, one of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees, sat down with the Washington Post’s top-notch baseball writer David Sheinin to talk about the singer’s long career.


Neil Diamond performs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this year (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

A full profile of Diamond will appear in Sunday’s Arts section, along with interviews of the other Honorees: Sonny Rollins, Meryl Streep, Barbara Cook and Yo-Yo Ma.

Sheinin: Which song is dearest to your heart?

Diamond: Well, I’d have to say “Sweet Caroline” because it’s stood the test of time. And people know it, and I’m still performing it. It’s a good luck song. It’s been good luck for me, and it’s been good luck for lots of teams [that regularly play it at their stadiums]. And people have adopted it.

Sheinin: Which song is your most personal?

Diamond: I’d have to say the most biographical of the songs were either “Brooklyn Roads” or “I am...I said” although there’s a fairly good piece of me in everything that I write, if you care to go deep enough.

Sheinin: What do you consider to be your most perfect song?

Diamond: Well, I’ve never written a perfect song. There’s always something about it that I would improve on when I look back on it. But again, I’d have to say the simplest of the songs would have to be the most perfect. “Sweet Caroline,” “Song Sung Blue.” I’d have to put those in that category.

Sheinin: What song would you like a “do-over” on, in terms of production, or the execution?

Diamond: Well I would like a do-over of “I’m a Believer.” There was the ‘60s version that I did, which The Monkees pretty well copied note for note. But [on] my last album, which was called “Dreams,” I was able to get another version of “I’m a Believer” in, which was much more reflective. And I like it. I liked it a lot.”

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