Neil Diamond might be called the Rodney Dangerfield of popular music. Like the late comic, the sequined balladeer made a career out of getting no …
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Neil Diamond might be called the Rodney Dangerfield of popular
Like the late comic, the sequined balladeer made a career out of
getting no respect — at least from music critics — and has long
been caricatured as a schmaltzy Las Vegas-style novelty.
Enter Super Diamond, a high-octane tribute to the derided
singer-songwriter. The band will give life to Diamond’s beleaguered
catalogue on June 13 at Hudson Gardens in Littleton.
After nearly a decade in the trenches, Super Diamond achieved
its ultimate goal in 2001 when the band performed with its hero at
the Hollywood premiere of “Saving Silverman,” a romantic comedy
centered on a fictional tribute act called Diamonds in the
Long before the real Diamond was ripe for tribute or parody, he
spent his early career as a credible 1960s pop-rock artist, writing
"I'm a Believer" for the Monkees and scoring his own hits with
“Cherry, Cherry,” “Solitary Man,” and “Cracklin’ Rosie,” among
When Diamond reinvented himself as a player in the burgeoning
singer-songwriter movement of the early 1970s, he crafted both
competent pop and ambitious pretension [the six-part “African
Trilogy,” the Robbie Robertson-produced album “Beautiful Noise,”
and the soundtrack to “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”].
By mid-decade, though, Diamond had re-invented himself again —
this time, as an adult-contemporary crooner. It was the label that
stuck. For more than three decades, Diamond has ruled “Lite FM”
with reruns of “September Morn” and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers,” a
duet with Barbra Streisand.
Although the name Super Diamond may conjure an ultra-powerful
Neil exacting vengeance on dismissive critics, the so-named band is
a San Francisco-based sextet whose set list is comprised entirely
of Diamond's wide-ranging oeuvre.
“It's definitely not a joke, but there's certainly some
campiness to the act," said lead singer Randy Cordero [aka "The
Surreal Neil"]. "We get Neil Diamond fans that come expecting it to
be a lounge show or something. But it's heavy guitar, heavy drums.
We do ‘Play Me,’ his quintessential love song, and we do it as
almost punk rock.”
Although the band is also faithful in many respects, Super
Diamond spices many of its covers with a heavier alternative-rock
edge and Dread Zeppelin-like musical nods [a Black Sabbath riff,
for example]. All the while, Cordero delivers his hero's canon in a
respectful, yet familiar gruff baritone.
Super Diamond has ironic roots in the culture of alternative
music in San Francisco. Cordero, 45, founded the band during the
grunge explosion of the early 1990s after successfully
incorporating a few Diamond covers into his solo acoustic act.
“It was an underground rock scene. I didn't know what to expect
for reaction," he said. "I kind of thought people would boo me, but
it brought the house down. It was kind of weird and strange and
fun. I never knew there were other people my age who liked Neil
That's not to say the band has not seen its share of blank
stares and dropped jaws. Those accustomed to Diamond's late-period
work are often aghast when learning of Super Diamond's intimidating
“A lot of people think of Neil Diamond as being cheesy,” Cordero
said. “But we've converted many people. I can't believe how many
people have come up to me and said ‘I thought I used to hate Neil
Diamond, and then I saw your show and I went out and bought lots of
A broad range of artists from Deep Purple to the Specials have
also taken note of Diamond’s under-appreciated songwriting. UB40
reinterpreted “Red, Red Wine” as 1980s reggae pop. Urge Overkill
covered “Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon” for the “Pulp Fiction”
In 2005, Neil Diamond received long-awaited critical acclaim for
“12 Songs,” a “comeback” album helmed by Rick Rubin, the same
rap-metal producer who had engineered the late-career resurgence of
The slow build-up of recognition has gradually provided Diamond
with a sort of hip renaissance — and Super Diamond with a built-in
audience ready to rock.
“The hardcore Neil Diamond fans love to come and see all the
young people that have been turned on to his music,” Cordero said.
“A lot of people bring their parents to our shows and it’s this
If you go
Super Diamond will perform June 13 at Hudson Gardens, 6115 S.
Santa Fe Drive in Littleton.
Gates open at 5 p.m.. Concert at 6:30. Adults $15. Members
$12.50. Kids (3-12) $5.
Tickets are available at shop.hudsongardens.org or by
calling 303-797-8565 Ext. 321.
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