Off The Record
Neil Diamond Opens Up About The Diagnosis In A New Interview: ‘I Was In Denial’
Songs like “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Cherry, Cherry,” and “Song Sung Blue” have made Neil Diamond one of the most popular and financially successful performers of all time.
Despite a successful concert touring career spanning decades, Diamond announced in 2018 that he will no longer be performing live due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
The 82-year-old artist spoke candidly about accepting his illness in a recent interview.
Diamond said on CBS Sunday Morning that he needed time to deal with the news of his Parkinson’s diagnosis.
“In a sense, I was in denial for the first year or two,” Diamond said. “When the doctor told me what it was, I was just not ready to accept it. I said, ‘Oh, okay. I’ll see you, you know, whenever you wanna see me. But I have work to do, so I’ll see you later.’”
Diamond’s 50th anniversary tour took him all over the world in 2017. However, he declared in 2018 that he will not be visiting Australia and New Zealand as planned, citing the difficulty of traveling as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years,” Diamond said in a press release at the time.
Diamond told CBS that he had a “very hard” time giving up touring and that it had taken him a long time and a lot of effort to come to terms with his illness and retirement. The musician, however, claimed that “in the last few weeks” he has accepted the situation.
“Somehow a calm has moved [into] the hurricane of my life, and things have gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio,” Diamond said. “And I like it. I find that I like myself better. I’m easier on people, I’m easier on myself. And the beat goes on, and it will go on long after I’m gone.”
Even though Neil Diamond is no longer actively performing, he still has a large and dedicated fan base.
Diamond praised the Broadway production of A Beautiful Noise, a biographical musical about his life, calling it “absolutely wonderful” and “a dream come true.”
“This show was part of my psychotherapy. And it hurt. I didn’t like looking at myself in many of the scenes,” he admitted to CBS.
In a special treat for fans at the premiere last year, Diamond sang “Sweet Caroline” at the show’s curtain call.
Diamond also sang “Sweet Caroline” at a Red Sox game in June of 2022. The song is performed every game night at Fenway Park.
Even though Parkinson’s disease has prevented Neil Diamond from performing on a regular basis, his fans are delighted to see him at his occasional concerts.
We’re glad to learn that Neil Diamond has accepted his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
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