The proof: Neil Diamond was working on the IGYHWMT video before being kidnapped. He probably had visitations from aliens earlier in 1977 and had been whisked away for days at a time. You only have to look at his unkempt appearance on the "Free Man in Paris" segment of the video to see that he had not shaved for a few days, wore a rumpled shirt and looked dazed in several scenes! Neil did not want to be interviewed. He admitted he had nothing to say - perhaps that was a result of an earlier interrogation by aliens which had partially wiped some of his short-term memory.
Don't forget too the key references from '76 to "the dark side of the Moon/distant falling angels" etc. in "Dry Your Eyes". Something was afoot even as early as 1976! The close out to the video should be checked as maybe there is a hidden message in the "Shilo/Kentucky Woman" jam.
Neil was working on the socially-conscious "Diamond Girls" when this dastardly incident (his final, permanent abduction) happened. The handsome, talented Neil was whisked away and... wasn't replaced by an impersonator, but... A POD PERSON. This pod person was a somewhat imperfect copy of the real Neil (DNA was extracted from stolen nail clippings)... so this pod person, upon maturity, had much of the original Neil's singing talent AND appearance, but couldn't write worth a whit. Then, the YDBMF disaster happened (mainly driven by Marilyn and Alan Bergman... Pod-Neil's contribution was to decide whether "and" or "baby" or "nothing" should be used between the lines "tell you goodbye... [and] [baby] [nothing] You don't bring me flowers, anymore"). So Pod-Neil managed a co-writer's credit for what was REALLY a Bergman work! In order to round out 54 minutes of the incomplete IGYHWMT video, ArchAngel shot some new segments (the footage with the Bergmans was done after the main shoot and with Pod-Neil) and spliced them in…So, the reality is… the real Neil Diamond never WROTE or CO-WROTE YDBMF! He never approved its use in the IGYHWMT video or album… Neil Diamond didn't even KNOW that such a song even existed- he was already in space!
Columbia KNEW this, so they came up with the "brilliant" idea of a mostly covers album, The American Popular Song... something which didn't require Pod-Neil to write. Later, Columbia became inspired by a radio DJ's combination of Pod-Neil and Barbara Streisand's versions of YDBMF, so they sent in some hit-men to persuade Pod-Neil to sing it as a real duet. Good-natured, but not-very-industry-savvy Pod-Neil agreed to it, especially after the hit-men twisted his thumb (Pod-Neil also had a very low pain threshold). The *&^%$! duet became a hit, so Pod-Neil's cover artist work on The American Popular Song was scrapped, and a new album, named after the duet, was concocted. The real Neil's last composition, the gritty "Diamond Girls" was resurrected, and band members Richie Bennett and Tom Hensley were called in to help compose. Pod-Neil took a stab at composition, but you can see that lyrically, the newer tunes didn't resemble the earlier Neil Diamond... with light-hearted ditties like "Say Maybe" and the tear-jerker "Remember Me" diametrically opposed to the real Neil's "Street Life" and "Jungletime". The introspection and the grit and the storytelling were gone... replaced by pleasant and easily forgotten ditties about love, love, love.
The September Morn album is telling in its continued musical slide downwards (making even the YDBMF album sound decent). Pod-Neil was sliding deeper into mushy love song territory, and some hideous covers from the American Popular Song album were dug up, to help fill up space on the album. Pod-Neil even sang "I'm a Believer" in a cocktail-lounge samba style... perfect for bored rich folks to sit at tables and discuss their marital problems while sipping martinis.
Yes... then came "The Jazz Singer". The real Neil left behind some notebooks of songs that he had written, all driven by a backbeat and chukka-chukka rhythm guitar, just like the Bang days! Pod-Neil was quite capable of singing these, and Pod-Neil was still attractive, so that one starred in the movie.
However, after that, the well ran dry. No more notebooks could be found, so Pod-Neil recruited some "past-their-prime-by-1981" Brill writers like Carole Bayer-Sager and Burt Bacharach, who, by this time, seemed to know only how to write MOR music. Pod-Neil could contribute an idea or two... being a seasoned pro after 4 years of impersonating the real Neil. Pod-Neil ended up getting a few co-writing credits... Bayer-Sager and Bacharach knew that it was a good selling point to have "Neil Diamond" as a co-writer, so they allowed it. Pod-Neil showed incredibly bad judgment in recording "You Don't Know Me", which was the first indication that his genetic blueprint was beginning to break down.
Throughout the 80's, hints of what happened would leak out on certain records... We only have to look at co-written songs in the early 80's with revealing titles such as "On The Way To The Sky", "Lost Among The Stars", "It's a Trip (Go For The Moon)" and "Starflight". Neil's earlier music was devoid of outer-space references...why the sudden appearance of these themes? And why would Neil, Carole Bayer-Sager and Burt Bacharach suddenly feel such an affinity for a poor lost little alien, to the point of writing the sap-fest song, "Heartlight" for ET? On "At The Movies", Pod-Neil wrote the line, "Oh no I hear an alien comin'"... perhaps it was all subconscious for him, but we suspect members of Neil's band knew what was going on! "Signs" were left for those fans who were clever enough to read them!
Stop and think: Why did Neil's musical direction change so drastically after Beautiful Noise? Why did IGYHWMT seem like such a schizophrenic work- with an even split between rockers and slushy love ballads? Why is it that complete artistic control meant so much to Neil in 1967 (causing a nasty split with Bang, and a keystone to his Uni contract), yet by the mid 80's, Neil was willing to let his record label call the shots and REJECT his work (the albums The Story of My Life, a good chunk of Primitive)? Simple answer- the Neil of 1967 and the Neil of 1984 were DIFFERENT PEOPLE! This is undeniable!During the 80's, Pod-Neil became known for his live shows, as opposed to his spotty studio albums. He concentrated on studied moves, instead of spontaneity. He was insecure about being "Neil" so he encouraged singalongs, because he felt loved and went into hammy behavior because the audience cheered and went along with it. He catered to the audience, instead of making new and innovative artistic statements, because the audience feedback was instantaneous whereas the quality of real ART is harder to gauge. Pod-Neil started to reprise "Forever in Blue Jeans" up to 10 times, to ensure that the audience had a good time.
As the 80's progressed, Pod-Neil's concert performances started to sound less and less like the original arrangements of the hits. Audience demand made him ruin perfectly good songs like "Sweet Caroline", with asinine additions like "wo wo wo" and "so good, SO GOOD, SO GOOD!". Pod-Neil started to shout at the audience, and over the next few years, smoked and shouted excessively, destroying his fragile vocal chords.
Pod-Neil's DNA was unraveling, and his hair fell out at prodigious rates after 1986. Pod-Neil tried to retain the long-ish hair on the sides and back, despite what was happening on the top of his head (he really didn't have the concept of what a "fashionable hairstyle" looked like). He wore thick, bushy sideburns well after they became seriously outdated. Pod-Neil's appearance was so bad that Columbia photographed a stand-in (an Engelbert Humperdink impersonator) for Lovescape. Pod-Neil also started to show a penchant for outlandish shirts, starting with the "pharaoh-collar" clown shirt and spending the next several years as being a human art gallery for the loudest, tackiest shirt designs known to mankind.
The 80's ended with a whimper, ushering in the worst decade of his career... the 90's. Pod-Neil was a mess by then- no hair, vocal abilities gone, looking 10 years older than he should (same problem as Dolly the cloned sheep), and unable to make a sound decision on career direction. After all- the proof is in the pudding... The Christmas Album- Vols 1 and 2, Up on the Roof- Songs from the Brill Building, Live In America, The Roof Party (Brill video), The Movie Album and countless lame and redundant compilation titles by Columbia/Sony and MCA. Pod-Neil started wearing a rug starting with Tennessee Moon and was bolstered by Nashville's best country music talents- lending a hand in "co-writing" a large amount of Tennessee Moon.
Next Frightening Exposé: Why does the Neil Diamond Fan Community seem to have so many psychotic, socially dysfunctional fans? Well, this took some time, but we've finally found the pattern! In 1977, there was a group of fans who recognized what was happening and got too dangerously close to exposing and jeopardizing the aliens' plans. The aliens had to kidnap them, and rewired their brains to forget what they knew about Neil's abduction.....and their behavior centers were also affected. These fans were returned to Earth shortly afterwards. The aliens also left other pods, but these pods left to hatch on their own (without a normal, nurturing family), and ended up with no human social interaction skills whatsoever. The pod-fans fell-in with the brain-scrambled fans, so the younger pod-fans thought that was the normal way for a Neil fan to act (excessively possessive, overt Neil-worship, hyper-sensitivity to criticism, extreme fanboy/fangirl ways, wishy-washy, etc.) and assimilated the behavior. That left the mainstream Neil Diamond Fan Community with the unwanted duty of teaching "Basic Human Social Relationships and Interaction Skills 101" to their less-fortunate brethren.But, ear in mind that not all pods are bad, or subversive beings. This was all an unintended result of pods hatching without any guidance from "real" humans. For instance, Pod-Neil lucked out big time: he was basically taken by the hand by the Columbia Records promo department. He was groomed to "be" Neil, so he fared better in the social skills dept. TOO well, in some instances. Pod-Neil was malleable and eager-to-please. To the public, Neil quit joking, quit cussing, quit being spontaneous and irreverent. He went from writing "Lordy" to (allegedly) co-writing inconsequential, inoffensive little tunes (that is, when he actually wrote!). But we all know the real story now, don't we?
So what became of the original Neil? Somewhere in space, a talented songwriter is entertaining aliens with new songs (he had never stopped writing). The aliens proved to be respectful fans, not obsessive nutcases, so Neil had no reason to WANT to come back. The aliens didn't tell him what to record, or to do duets that he wasn't interested in, or to release album after album of filler due to contractual obligations, or co-star in stupid teen flicks. It was also major stroke of luck that Neil's biological clock was reprogrammed to sync with the yearly cycle of the outer planets, so he still has the general appearance his 36-year-old self, as one year in the outer planets is the rough equivalent of 250 Earth-years.
Not to mention that the aliens' recording and mixing equipment is much superior to ours, and that the aliens truly figured out how to simulate live sound in pre-recorded music (they had perfected multi-channel recordings while Earthlings were thrilled with 78 RPM records played on a phonograph with a crank handle). Their holographic video broadcasts made Neil a superstar in half the galaxy (the half that our puny space probes from Earth have not reached yet. We Earthlings just have NO IDEA about how big Neil really is out there in space!)
The aliens, with their teleporters and
suspended animation chambers, made planet-hopping for Neil a breeze. Neil
was able to tour Alpha Centauri and Pluto without the wear and tear of
long-distance traveling. In addition, the aliens did not have cigarettes
or cigars, and didn't seem motivated to invent them, so Neil simply had
to quit "cold turkey", thereby saving his vocal chords. The ingenious aliens
even made miraculous throat lozenges that soothe tired singing voices so
they don't get hoarse and made it possible for Neil to perform SIX hour
concerts. And since the aliens only knew Neil's live performances circa
1976, they were discriminating enough that they wouldn't allow Neil to
scream, shout or rasp through his concerts. Neil, still having a voice,
and with creative juices that never stopped flowing, is still performing
today in outer space, with several rotating setlists, because he has too
darn much good material and just can’t fit all of it in six hours. The
rotating setlists ensure that ALL of his good stuff is played, albeit not
on every night. To the aliens, Neil is not an "oldies act", they view him
as an innovative and creative artist who continually breaks new ground
and constantly adds new (and good material) on every tour.
Investigative reporting by:
The FUN Conspiracy
FreeThinkers United for Neil
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