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You may be wondering, Who the heck is , and why should I care?
Well, here's my story. A co-worker of mine was riding in my car as we were going out to lunch. I had my "bubblegum" tape in the tape player, with such teeny-bopper greats as The Bay City Rollers, Leif Garrett, The Sweet, Shawn Cassidy and Andy Gibb. I had also put Andy Kim's "Rock Me Gently" on the tape, because I thought it was so humorous, with that bubblegum chorus and cheesy synth burbling away in the background. So, when that song came on, my co-worker exclaimed "Neil Diamond!" and insisted that it was Neil. I snickered a little. But then, the topic of "Rock Me Gently" kept coming up among Neil Diamond fans. So I decided to do some research and started asking around. There's an amazing number of parallels between Andy and his career and Neil's (intentionally or not).
Finally, I had to come to the conclusion: Neil Diamond and Andy Kim are twins separated at birth!
|Got his start writing hit singles for other artists, namely the pre-fab TV group, The Monkees, who took "I'm a Believer" to #1 on the charts. Another Neil-penned single, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was a #2 hit.||Andy Kim co-wrote (with Jeff Barry) the Archies' #1 hit single, "Sugar, Sugar" and Top 10 hit "Jingle Jangle". The Archies were a non-existent group associated with a TV cartoon show.|
|New York-born Neil had no interest in working in his father's dry goods store. Instead, he had early aspirations of becoming a songwriter as a teenager.||When he was 16, Montreal-born Andy arrived in New York with dreams of becoming a songwriter, partially as a way of getting out of the family grocery business.|
|Jeff Barry and his (then) wife, Ellie Greenwich had been pivotal in getting Neil a recording contract for Bang Records, and had produced Neil's albums on Bang from 1966-1968.||Andy Kim's earliest hit records on the Steed label around 1968 were produced by Jeff Barry. Neil and Jeff had recently parted company, so maybe Jeff was looking for a "new" Neil Diamond.|
|Brooks Arthur was the engineer for most of Neil's Bang period, and was also the engineer on Neil's first session for Uni Records, the single "Brooklyn Roads".||Brooks Arthur was the engineer for Andy Kim's first Jeff Barry-produced album, How'd We Ever Get This Way on Steed Records.|
|Neil took a well-publicized (and unhip) anti-drug stance in the late 1960s. He tried to form an organization called Performers Against Drugs (PAD), which proved to be unpopular. Even his own band members refused to be involved! And he did the song "The Pot Smoker's Song" on his album Velvet Gloves and Spit. This song was supposed to be a serious attempt at turning people against drug use, but it ended up being seen as a parody.||Andy Kim did a song called "Rainbow Ride", which was released as a single in 1968 or 1969. This is an anti-drug song.|
|Neil's legendary hit "Sweet Caroline" was arranged by Charles Calello (a former member of the Four Seasons, who'd also produced and arranged Laura Nyro albums). Calello's involvement in "Sweet Caroline" is usually not mentioned on albums, but appears on the 45 RPM record.||Charles Calello did the orchestrations for Andy Kim's 1970 single, "A Friend In the City".|
|As you can see, Neil had written hits for The Monkees during their ascendancy in 1966. Another of his songs, "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow" was extremely popular on the TV show.||Andy Kim (with Jeff Barry) had written songs for The Monkees on their last Colgems album, Changes (1970). This album, however, was made during The Monkees' rapid descent when only Dolenz and Jones were in the group.|
|Neil Diamond and Andy Kim played together on the same bill at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Oct. 4, 1969. Neil was the headliner.|
|Upon Neil's departure from Bang, he signed on to the Uni Records label, an offshoot of MCA records. Neil's tenure on Uni lasted from 1968-1972 and produced an impressive number of hit singles and albums. Most of the orchestrations on Neil's Uni albums were done by conductor/arranger Lee Holdridge.||Andy Kim signed with the Uni label in late 1972, at just around the same time that Neil left that label. One of his Uni releases, "Love The Poor Boy" did get some radio airplay, but he did not have any hits on that label. His album, Andy Kim (Uni 73137) appears to have been released right after Neil's Moods. The string arrangements on that album were done by Lee Holdridge.|
|Neil wrote a song called "Morningside" on his Moods album.||One of Andy's music publishers was called Morningside Music (ASCAP).|
|Joe Gannon was Neil's road manager, lighting director and show consultant in the early 70's. Gannon's involvement was credited as the reason for the great improvement in Neil's stage presentations by the time of the legendary 1972 Hot August Night concert series.||The 12/9/72 issue of Billboard reported that Joe Gannon (mis-spelled as Joe Cannon) would direct and produce a stage production for Andy Kim.|
|In 1974, Neil had retired from touring and was on an over-extended sabbatical and had not had any of his good-timey hits for almost two years. Neil's material from this period was rather thick on philosophizing, and a little thin on catchy, upbeat numbers.||In 1974, Andy Kim had his biggest hit record, "Rock Me Gently". He sounds almost exactly like Neil on this record. The public must have been hungry for a Neil Diamond sound, and Andy was there to present it, and it became a #1 single.|
|Neil included two versions of "I Am...I Said" on his album, Stones. One of these was a reprise.||Andy included 2 versions of "Rock Me Gently" on his Capitol album, Andy Kim (ST-11318). One of these was an instrumental.|
|Neil's albums, from Touching You, Touching Me through Serenade were engineered by Armin Steiner.||Songs on Andy's Capitol album, Andy Kim, were engineered by Armin Steiner.|
|Suzanne Ayers photographed Neil for the cover of his 1974 album, Serenade.||Suzanne Ayers photographed Andy for the cover of his 1974 album, Andy Kim (Capitol ST-11318).|
|Many of Neil's 70's albums utilized the services of Sid Sharp as Concert Master.||The Concert Master on Andy Kim's Capitol album was... Sid Sharp. (do we see a pattern here???)|
|Neil had won several entertainment industry awards, such as a Golden Globe, a Grammy and also an induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.||Andy had won the Juno Award (Canada's equivalent of a Grammy) for "Top Male Vocalist" in 1968 and 1969.|
|Neil had a #5 hit called "Longfellow Serenade".||In the 1980s, Andy Kim made some records in his native Canada under the name of Baron Longfellow, and later, simply as Longfellow.|
The liner notes of the CD called Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 13 astutely observes:
"Another of the year's biggest soundalike hits was Andy Kim's 'Rock Me Gently', which echoes Neil Diamond's earnest vocal style and sleek pop craftmanship. The song hit #1 in September, outpointing Diamond's biggest hit of 1974, 'Longfellow Serenade', which peaked at #5. Kim wrote and produced 'Rock Me Gently', which didn't give him the career uplift one might have expected: The Canadian, who had amassed 10 chart hits before 'Rock Me Gently', landed just one after it. Kim had topped the charts five years before as cowriter of The Archies' bubblegum smash, 'Sugar Sugar'".
So if this all doesn't convince you that Neil and Andy are twins separated at birth, take a look at THIS and see for yourself!
Physically, Neil and Andy look similar in these 1974 albums. They're both a bit over 6 feet tall, dark haired, of Semitic background (Andy= Lebanese, Neil=Jewish). They even had similar hairstyles (at the time)- I wouldn't be surprised if they had the same stylist!
The Andy Kim Collector's Page
This article is Copyright 1999-2001, K.F. Louie, unless
otherwise indicated. May not be reproduced without the written permission
of the author.
Sound samples Copyright 1974, Capitol Records and Copyright 1970, MCA Records Inc.
"Cracklin' Rosie" written and performed by Neil Diamond.
"Rock Me Gently" written and performed by Andy Kim.
Questions, or comments or more amazing Neil/Andy coincidences
can be sent to me at:
The "Thank You" List:
Regina Litman, Bev Lawrence, Mike Gmyrek and Brooks Arthurfor reporting several of the Neil/Andy similarities.
Much appreciated, everyone!
There's no place