The Best Neil Diamond Covers

I have a deep, abiding love for a good cover song. I’ve hardly met a cover song I didn’t like. Except the Flying Lizards’ cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” which was also covered much less terribly by the Beatles. But the Flying Lizards did end up winning me over a bit when the song was featured in the movie Empire Records. Man, that movie was the showcase of everything about the 90s that I loved and wanted to so be a part of, but I was a tad too young: the short skirts and boots, moody alternative music, and cute boys with long hair.

But back to the cover songs.

I have a soft spot for Neil Diamond. I grew up listening to his music, as my mom is a huge fan. In those days I just thought he was a fluffy haired, caterpillar-browed, sparkly shirted music man to the old folks. Now it’s one of the legacies I pull from my childhood, a source of comfort and nostalgia. One of those things that we realize as adults that we really did love, no matter how much we made fun of it at the time. If only a photo existed of him without the Farrah Fawcett ‘do and the sparkly, open collared shirt…

Oh wait.

Hello, Neil.

Now whenever I hear one of his songs, I belt it out like I’m his #1 fan. Because somehow I know all the words. I’m well aware that my kids will soon think of my favorites as Old People’s Music too, but I only hope that someday they grow to appreciate it for the music that it is, like I have my friend Neil. Still, I’m readying my cane and my “you kids don’t know what good music is!” lecture as we speak. Possibly related: I am getting old.

I heard this cover of “Solitary Man”by Johnny Cash on the radio today and thought it was fantastic. Yes, I realize it’s like 12 years old. I never claimed to be the first to hear about things.

 

And then it was down the rabbit hole of Neil Diamond cover songs on YouTube. Hours, I tell you. Here are my favorites.

 

Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon, Urge Overkill

Pulp Fiction. This might be one of my most favorite Neil Diamond covers EVER.
http://youtu.be/GxLR_VaWkMM
 

Sweet Caroline, Waylon Jennings

You can’t talk about Neil Diamond covers without throwing in Sweet Caroline. The most popular covers seem to be from Sinatra and Elvis, but this one’s more my style. I only like Big Band in my Christmas tunes.

 

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Barbara Streisand

I’m not a huge Babs fan, but this song is seriously gorgeous. She and Neil also did a duet that I remember fondly from my childhood.

 

I’m a Believer, The Monkees

Didn’t know this was a cover? Me either, for the longest time. The Monkees are another one of my favorite childhood memories. I watched the show every day after school on Nickelodeon, and had a mad crush on Davy Jones. Now I think I may be more of a Peter Tork girl.
http://youtu.be/XfuBREMXxts
 

Forever in Blue Jeans, Will Ferrell?

Of course there could never be a cover of Forever in Blue Jeans that beats this one. Because really? David Hasselhoff is the only other person who’s covered it? Someone else get on that, stat.

 

I didn’t find any good covers of some Neil classics like “Song Sung Blue” and “America.” Because like with most things, nothing beats the original. No one sings a Neil Diamond song like Neil Diamond. I’d have a hard time not snatching up tickets if he came to town.

Neil, you still got it. Also, you’re better with short hair.

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28 Comments

  1. I had no idea that I’m a Believer was a cover song. Love that song; so many good Neil Diamond songs.
    I have a similar feeling about Elvis – his music was always around when I was growing up, so I feel all nostalgic – and know all the words – when I hear it now.

  2. Okay, I love this post SO much. I was actually writing my will last week (I know–scary, but finally feeling like a responsible parent!), and I actually wrote in a legal document that I wanted to have bagpipes and Neil Diamond played (not at the same time) at my memorial service. I went to a Neil concert with my dad in 1992. I was a trying-to-look-cool 19-year-old, but my dad, who was already in his sixties then, said, “Get up! Get up and dance! It’s Sweet Caroline!” That’s one of my favorite memories ever. And my dad, now 86, still grooves to Neil in our living room. LOVE!!

    1. THAT will be a funeral to remember! I remember my parents going to a few Neil concerts when I was really little. My sister got to go once, and I was NOT jealous at the time. Now I feel kinda cheated. 🙂

  3. I adore Neil Diamond, every one of his songs just makes me smile and want to sing along. I’ve seen him in concert twice and it was entertaining and unforgettable.

    I dare anyone to not sway and smile like an idiot to Sweet Caroline.
    I love knowing that you love him too.
    XO

    1. I can’t believe there are so many Neil fans out there. I would love to see him in concert some day.

  4. Plus Waylon Jennings… Amirite? David had an apprentice one time that told him, “that man (WJ) could sing the phone book.” 😉

    Do you watch Big Bang Theory? There was a hilarious story line last week when two of the characters realize that they both like Neil Diamond.

    1. Love Waylon. I also grew up listening to The Highwaymen, with Waylon, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.

  5. So – I am not a huge Neil Diamond fan, but he does have some really good songs I have to admit. I like him a whole lot more since last week’s episode of the Big Bang Theory where Amy and Howard sing his songs pretty much the whole episode long 🙂

    1. Jennifer mentioned that episode too! I’ve never watched it, but I may have to look it up. Seems a lot of people do.

  6. I think you just jacked my childhood and blogged about it. Seriously dude…same childhood. Cracklin’ Rosie was a favorite of my FIL and to this day when we hear it Eddie yells, “IT’S PAPA’S ROSIE SONG!”

    My dad used to sing “Sweet Caroline” to me, but change the words to “Sweet Katherine Ann”.

    Oh so many memories.

    This post just made my Monday.

  7. Empire Records is my favorite movie of all time. And I don’t go searching out ND songs, but I sing along when I hear them. 🙂

    1. I didn’t see it until years later, but man does it bring back memories. Going to music stores was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager. I can’t believe our kids won’t ever do that.

  8. Tim likes to bust out with the Neil Diamond tunes every now and again and tease me because I am not that much of a fan. But you may have swayed me a bit.

    The music that reminds me of my parents is old country songs like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers and stuff like that. Also, John Denver. I think my Mom was in love with him. 😉

  9. Soul sisters, I swear. I have seen him in concert at least 4 times. All with my mom. We sing and dance the entire time. There is never enough Neil.

  10. Yes my Sweet Daughter, your mom IS a huge, long-time Neil Diamond groupie. Just watched The Jazz Singer again the other day. Love that movie!!

    1. Well, I’ll have to watch that movie too. I’m glad you passed your love for Neil onto me, even if it did take a few years. 🙂

  11. I’d go see Neil Diamond in a heartbeat. That Urge Overkill song slays me every time. I sing it to my daughter, which mortifies her and is probably completely inappropriate, but I don’t care.

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