The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Neil Diamond Covers

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Neil Diamond has a unique style. To prove how unique his style is, he sometimes sets his sights on a song totally unlike anything he’s ever performed and then makes it submit to his Diamond-studded glory. Here are the five noblest attempts.

5. Rocket Man, by Elton John

Neil must have been tripping on acid when he covered Elton John’s Rocketman, giving the most ridiculous half-spoken version of the song since William Shatner. Also, he changes “wife” to “lady,” just so we all know the Diamond is still on the market.

4. God Only Knows, by The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys’ harmony-filled song gets the Diamond Makeover, where he sings it slower and so. much. more. sincerely. If by “sincere,” you mean melodramatically self-indulgent.

3. The Chanukah Song, by Adam Sandler

Neil Diamond has been called “the Jewish Elvis,” though I don’t know by whom. Still, when it came time to do a Christmas album, he knew he had to include a schout-out. So he turned to Adam Sandler. The comedian’s list of famous Jews is a great novelty track, and when Neil Diamond performs it, you know those eight days of lights are all coming from his overly sequined shirts.

He also includes the “drink your gin and tonic-a” line, but changes Sandler’s “smoke your marijuana-ca” to “don’t smoke marijuana-ca,” because Neil Diamond is a drunk who wants to help the kids.

2. Don’t Turn Around, by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond

Written by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond and originally recorded by Tina Turner, “Don’t Turn Around” found its greatest success with a minor-key reggae version sung by Ace of Base. However, two years earlier, Neil put his own spin on the track.

1. I Dreamed a Dream, from Les Miserables

Pedants might argue who played the best Fantine — Elaine Paige the usual front-runner, but nobody gets close to the dramatic majesty of the Diamond.  By changing the last line from “But life has killed the dream I dreamed” to “But life can’t kill the dream I dreamed,” Neil turns a song of utter misery into one of awesome hope.


Written by Greg Karber

May 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

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