Happy Birthday to the undisputed "Jewish Elvis," Mr. Neil Diamond, who can make a grown man weep with a few bars of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," swiveling his hips and swaying his hair while wielding a deadly acoustic guitar.
Diamond turns 70 years young today, and he seems to only be getting more spry and relevant as he ages. He's as active as ever, releasing two Rick Rubin-produced albums in 2005 and 2008. Touring behind the latter, Home Before Dark, he stopped at Toyota Center and later gave back to the Houston area, donating generously to the Hurricane Ike relief effort.
Diamond's mark is all over pop culture, from movies, television and countless spins on the radio, to that swagger, and his almost peerless ability to reach out to his fans. At that Toyota Center show, he played fan favorite "Sweet Caroline" not once, but twice to sate the crowd. That night converted Rocks Off into a Diamond fan forever after.
His latest album, Dreams, is an acoustic covers record, with Diamond doing his take on 14 pop hits by the Beatles, Bill Withers, Harry Nilsson, Leonard Cohen and a run-through of his own composition, "I'm A Believer," which the Monkees turned into a smash in the '60s.
We picked out just a few of the best Diamond moments in pop-culture and movie history, including the blackface scene from his sole starring role in The Jazz Singer. You can find about six vinyl copies of that soundtrack ("America," "Love on the Rocks," "Amazed and Confused") in any thrift store in America.
Saving Silverman: Sure, the movie is awful, but it's still a cult hit on cable.
Pulp Fiction: Urge Overkill covers Diamond while Quentin Tarantino reels out the most squeal-inducing overdose scene in history.
Born In East L.A.: At 2:36, Diamond's "Coming To America" gets put to more than good use. This is easily our favorite solo Cheech movie.
Glee: Of course...
The Last Waltz: How cool is Diamond in this video? If those sunglasses could talk...
The Jazz Singer: Diamond gets found out in blackface make-up after he starts clapping along. "That ain't no brother! That's a white boy!"
Editor's Pick: Saturday Night Live: "This next song is all about my love of barely legal hardcore porno..."
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