NElL DIAMOND: SOLITARY STAR by Rich Wiseman

NElL DIAMOND: SOLITARY STAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unauthorized fanbio of the King of Pop, with research that should satisfy Diamond devotees without converting a single nonbeliever. Jewish and Brooklyn-born Diamond began with a vast crush on Minnesota-born Bob (Zimmerman) Dylan and on Dylan's stark integrity as a songwriter/performer. But Diamond has instead turned into a glitzy Guy Lombardo of vintage saccharine whose moody striving for integrity is compromised by muddy lyrics and often feeble melodies, an unconvincing, sham-Dylan delivery, laser lightshows, an elevator-Muzak backup band, and the painful self-knowledge that, beside his idol, he may seem to others to be a fake, a song-thief, and an entertainer made in the image of Mammon. Wiseman does not set out to write a destructive biography. Deeply introverted, Diamond turned down any interviews, so this is largely a musical survey with the personal background richest during the filming of The Jazz Singer. Various sidemen in Diamond's groups attest that his songwriting is very much of a group effort, with Diamond showing up with foggy fragments that the others help put into presentable shape for which Diamond takes sole credit. Members who complain or ask for recognition disappear from the ranks. The gap between Diamond's talent and the inflation it receives at the hands of more talented players and from studio publicists puts Diamond into an insecure place. He is one of the top musical moneymakers of the century, with a huge following, and dying to be taken seriously while being sheer fudge. He remains a great solitary and neil-biter (who has his manicurist flown in before shows). Since the disaster of The Jazz Singer (he had to laugh at his blistering reviews ""or else shoot myself""), he has begun to come to terms with himself, being relatively more affable and accessible. Fine rendering of a singing Campfire marshmallow.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Dodd, Mead