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SHOW ME HOW
Neil Diamond's hipster cachet has increased greatly in the past few years: The Rick Rubin albums, Saving Silverman, ultimate Neil tribute band Super Diamond and Will Ferrell's deadly funny SNL impression, in which "America" is presented as an anti-immigration number. But his fans have long been an extremely dedicated lot, even when loving Neil was the height of uncoolness. Music journalist and confessed fan Jon Bream does a good job here telling the tale of the "Jewish Elvis," from the scrapping days hawking his songs at the Brill Building to MOR superstar to spangly-shirted icon. And while the textual aspect is far too brief and mostly taken from previous sources (and a bit hagiographic), fans will appreciate the close to 300 photos of Diamond in action and memorabilia including rare posters, album covers and posters. Readers might be surprised to learn that Diamond himself considers "I Am... I Said" his best song, and most difficult to write (it took four months) and that his most recent album, Home Before Dark, has been his only No. 1, making him the oldest solo male artist to earn that position. Neil Diamond is Forever is not a meaty biography like others (Neil Diamond: Solitary Star; Neil Diamond: His Life, His Music, His Passion) or career/pop-culture analysis (He Is...I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond), but is it a breezy read that "Diamondheads" will appreciate. Voyageur Press, 160 pp., $25.