I choose Neil because I simply got no choice

The subject of karaoke came up recently, as in “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get a group together and go do karaoke?”. To which this embedded reporter replied, rather earnestly “They still do that? . . Sure! Yeah! Let’s!”.

Sure enough, my quaint little town has a place that specializes in the shit. Who knew? And so now I’ve got to write up a to do list that most likely is going to begin and end with Neil Diamond songs. Because karaoke is a kitschy throwback to the musical revolution of the sixties where power to the people was de rigeur and Neil Diamond? He’s a man of the people

A top five favorite Neil Diamond cuts? Oookay why not . . .

Sweet Caroline

Song Sung Blue

Cracklin’ Rosie

Hello Again

Love on the Rocks

Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon

Forever in Blue Jeans

September Morn

I Am, I Said

Cherry Cherry

What? That’s more than five? Of course it’s more than five, this is Neil Diamond we’re talking about here. He’s not going to be contained inside one of my top five lists. And really, I pared it down significantly, because the truth is I could throw down to basically anything he’s ever spun into vinyl. With Neil Diamond, there really is no wrong answer. Maybe America. . maybe that one. As popping as the melody is, and it is pretty triumphal . . Imma say no only because of the theme. It’s no fault of old Neil, mind you. He just happens to be the unwitting victim of my aversion to rock songs about the United States. It’s not about being unpatriotic, it’s just that, these songs rub me as commercial endorsements more than legit get downs.

If I were to give you a top five Karaoke list for yours truly, there would be little concern for overpopulation considering the fact that there are precious few songs to which I will climb on a stage and bare my vocals to complete strangers. Singing in public is one thing, I do it all the time- whilst grocery shopping, working, running, walking in the park on a Saturday. Whatevs. But that’s wholly different from standing up on a stage with props and lights and a digital song sheet staring you down, because at that point it becomes about expectations. See . . when you sing in public, without solicitation, there is a prevailing respect for that kind of rugged improvisation that doesn’t exist on a stage- even a karaoke stage. So while expectations in a karaoke setting are oftentimes lower than Charlie Sheen’s penis, they still matter enough to keep me honest.

Top five karaoke must haves? Como no . . .

The Dock of the Bay- It’s an easy transition for me, with nary a high note to tamper with my harmony.

Sweet Caroline-Same diff. Neil is a most forgiving grader.

September Morn- My grocery shopping Hall of Fame song. Along with Song Sung Blue. Oh Neil . . what you do to me (sigh). . .

Lean on Me- One of my least favorite Bill Withers selections, but imminently singable.

I feel like a Woman!- Totally left field, I know. But it’s one of my favorite car ride songs, like ever. And while I do not possess the feminine wiles to carry this song to its best Gloria Steinem conclusion . . it’s actually a safer bet to break out than you might imagine. If you’re the dude who chooses this hot number to karaoke to, rest assured that the lyrics will cover for a multitude of disharmonious sins. The crowd ain’t gonna be judging your talent . . nope. They’ll be too busy wondering why you chose this song.

When it comes down to it though, it’s going to be Neil. And it’s most likely going to be Sweet Caroline since it just so happens to be one of the best good time songs ever recorded. And I know it six ways to Brooklyn (Neil’s birth place). It will serve me best of all when the lights go hot and the patrons are getting their ten o’clock rowdy on. I’ll take the blues to the corner of Good Times Square and then I’ll just ride the mood to wherever it wants to take me.

My trust in Neil, it rolls like that.

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25 thoughts on “I choose Neil because I simply got no choice

  1. Too funny. The wife and I decided to go to Vancouver in a couple of months. When we were looking around for things to do while we are there, we discovered that Neil Diamond will be there. So we got tickets for the show. Yes, we’re going to Vancouver and gonna see him live. Why? I have absolutely no idea. I’ve never owned one of his records. I haven’t intentionally listened to him in years. Except as you say, he has this group of songs that are classics going back to my childhood.

    Last night, on the drive to a BBQ, I put Neil on Spotify and streamed a few songs through the ol’ blue tooth in the car. First song up. Sweet Caroline. Indeed.

    • Vancouver is a beautiful place, never been. Add in Neil Diamond . . you guys are golden.

      Yeah, I just dig his songs. Probably because I can hum them without making a total ass of myself in the process. Always a plus.

      What a coincidence! I’ll make a wish for us.

      Thanks for the comment, King.

  2. You do realize, of course, that Fenway Park resounds with “Sweet Caroline” at every home game in the middle of the eighth inning, right? 😀

    • Jeff,

      I am well aware of this Jeff, but thanks for harshing my mellow with that reminder.

      Not gonna lie, it IS a pretty cool in game tradition they have going on there. But you most certainly didn’t hear that from me . . . 🙂

        • No, don’t be sorry. I’ve always said, if I wasn’t a Yankees fan, I would be a Sawx fan. Seeing as how these teams are so inextricably linked. Okay, a quick example for you.

          1978 Boston Red Sox infield

          1B- George Scott
          2B- Jerry Remy
          SS- Rick Burleson
          3B- Butch Hobson

          I did that without benefit of Google (Scout’s honor). Feel free to check my work. I THINK I’ve got Burleson and Remy correct, unless it’s the other way around lol.

          Buenos dias Texas

          • That’s impressive! I couldn’t even do that for the 1975 team, which is probably my all-time favorite Red Sox line-up. By the way, if you like baseball books, I highly recommend Game Six by Mark Frost. It’s a fantastic book about what I consider to be one of the greatest WS games of all time.

            • Like I told ya, I loves the rivalry in the truest sense. A fun fact, Butch Hobson is the skipper for the Lancaster Barnstormers, my hometown team.

              Hey, thank you for the 411 on that. I LOVE baseball books. And I would have to agree with you, game 6 of the ’75 series IS one of the greatest games in WS history. And I truly wish the Sawx would have taken down the Reds in Game 7, because then maybe . . just maybe, 2004 never happens.

              Hey, a boy can dream.

              • I know, right? Or maybe Bill Buckner doesn’t let that grounder go through his legs in ’86 . . .
                In spite of the results, ’75 is my all-time favorite World Series. Even more than 2004.

                • Ugh! The Buckner ground ball. Always felt so bad for the dude, because he was such a solid player and yet, will always be remembered for that play. I was happy to see him back in Fenway after they won the Series.

    • The championship Bulls teams of the ’90’s got nothing on Shania when it comes to lighting up Grant Park, tell you what.

      Frank, it’s like this. I fear that my Neil Diamond giddy up will be frighteningly reminiscent of Will Ferrell’s classic impersonations of the man. Oh . . no wait. I don’t fear such a thing, I welcome it! Yes, indeed, I do.

      My warp comes without benefit of any meds- which I truly could benefit from. So it’s really an arduous process of therapy, running, karate aerobics and eccentric rants served up piping hot. Thank you for seeing the good in all of that mess. Truly appreciated, kind sir.

      Peace and Barry Larkin

  3. Not sure if you’ve ever been to Fenway, but they play Sweet Caroline in the middle of the 8th inning, it’s tradition. Just another reason why Red Sox are … well, yanno. Got something for ya … hang on …

    • Alright Bahstan, I believe I play the foil to quite humorous degree, but this is getting ridiculous, lol.

      I have indeed been to Fenway. I believe I called it “a finished basement with a baseball diamond”, which is soooo typical of a Yankees fan, I know. And yes, I am well aware of the 8th inning stretch song the Sawx adopted (stole) from Neil Diamond. I even forgave Neil for performing at Fenway Pahk (I’m guessing he didn’t care that I forgave him).

      You guys exacted your revenge on the Yankees, you got your World Series hardware collection, you have one of the best teams in baseball . . AND you have Neil Diamond. I have learned to live with it, best I can.

      Thanks for the reminder Bahstan! I can always count on you to provide me with the 411 on this rivalry. Oh! And I forgot one . . Mark Wahlberg shot Derek Jeter! Well, that one was fictional, but the symbolism of it all . . ugh.

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