Tag Archives: song

How Do You Write A Song, Neil Diamond?

25 Sep

Five days following the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox invited Neil Diamond to perform Sweet Caroline at the game’s eighth-inning. Returning home to New York, he knew he wanted to do something. So he wrote a song.

NEIL-DIAMOND.9.25.13.BostonCapThe Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down)  took him about six weeks to write and record. He had a lot riding on it. He wanted to get it right. He felt he needed to get it right. Neil Diamond wrote a compelling and passionate message from his heart. He ended up writing an anthem.

Sold on Amazon and iTunes, 100% of the proceeds benefit the Boston One Fund and The Wounded Warriors Project. The song is a tribute to the first responders, promoting freedom, pride, unity, and strength. What a keen demonstration of the power of music. Can you listen to it without shedding a tear? I can’t.

“Every song is different. I wrote ‘Sweet Caroline’ in an hour and it took me four months to write ‘I Am, I Said’ … This was one of the most difficult songs I’ve ever written. And I wanted to get it right.”

“I was moved by the unity and the attitude of the people in Boston. And that’s really all a songwriter needs, is to be inspired. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does you have to follow that muse and I did …

“I didn’t know exactly what would happen with this song, but I did know I had to write it. So I set out on that creative journey of writing something that would lift people up, lift their spirits in the way that mine was lifted when I flew to Boston to sing at the Red Sox game.”


Pic: Michael Dwyer, AP
1st Quote: Boston Herald, June 27, 2013
2nd Quote: Billboard, June 26, 2013

Friday Fave: Pressure Trending

7 Jun

From its inimitable scat singing opening, we know immediately what song we’re in for. Trending this week was the recent reveal of the isolated vocal track of David Bowie and Queen’s Freddie Mercury recording, Under Pressure. The story of how the song even got recorded by these icons of rock is equally noteworthy. Issued October 26, 1981 and featured on Queen’s 1982 album Hot Space, it is now a classic. Why? Is it that remarkable confluence of great artists, great lyrics, and great music?

Mm ba ba de, Um bum ba de, Um bu bu bum da de
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down
Splits a family in two, Puts people on streets
Um ba ba be, Um ba ba be, De day da
Ee day da – that’s okay.

How does such a song endure? The story behind it doesn’t hurt its legendary status – the history of the song’s life after its creation is as notable. Played by Queen at concerts, featured on live recordings, greatest hits compilations, sampled by Vanilla Ice in Ice Ice Baby (followed by a lawsuit between Vanilla Ice and Queen that culminated in lots of money and Vanilla Ice buying the song!), performed by David Bowie and Annie Lennox at the 1992 Concert For Life tribute to Freddie Mercury, featured in movies, covered by maBowie&Lennox.UnderPressureny modern artists, and its music video which doesn’t include any of its musicians. Well, it’s certainly a recipe that would be hard pressed to serve as a template for promoting a hit song, much less a classic.

And now that we hear the only-vocal track, we appreciate how remarkable a recording it is. Once heard, it is haunting, making it indelible. Tell me, is there a more compelling plea than Mercury and Bowie singing, pleading: Why can’t we give love???

David Bowie and Annie Lennox pic: eurythmics.me.uk

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