Neil Diamond Television Appearances

1969

 

January - The David Susskind Show
(In what was no doubt one of Neil's most unusual TV appearances, he was a guest on David Susskind's public affairs talk show. I saw the show on a Saturday in January 1969, probably January 4 or January 11. I had read in a newspaper that this show had been made, so I was tuning in to the Susskind show every week to look for Neil's appearance. The show had been taped several weeks earlier, probably in late 1968. 

David Susskind interviewed several rock and pop musicians on their views of the issues of the day, including drug use. I'm sure that Neil said that he was opposed to drug use, while some of the other musicians may have been less opposed to it. I'm trying to remember who else was on the show. The only one I can think of is Steve Katz, the guitarist for the group Blood, Sweat, and Tears. One of the participants pointed out that all of the guests were white, and Susskind said that a black singer named Richie Havens was also supposed to be on but couldn't make it because he was ill. Although no one commented on this, I believe that all of the participants were also male.

 A similar roundtable of musicians, also including Neil, participated in a discussion that was printed in "Seventeen" magazine at the time. - Regina Litman

March 22 - American Bandstand
(According to "The History of American Bandstand" by Michael Shore with Dick Clark, Neil appeared on the show on Saturday, March 22, 1969, and sang "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show".

But I didn't need the book to tell me this. I saw the show, and what I remember most about it is that Neil had grown a beard! I had never seen him looking like this before, and I loved it! When the "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" album with the bandwagon cover came out a short time later, he was also pictured with the beard. But the beard was gone by the time the later version of the album was released that summer. - Regina Litman) 

October 1 - The Joey Bishop Show
(Neil was on the Joey Bishop Show on October 1, 1969. This was a Wednesday night, and I was still in high school, so I had to be on my best behavior to be allowed to stay up and watch it. Oh, if they only had VCRs back then! Not only would many fans have been able to save these shows for posterity, but the presence of one in our house would have prevented several bedtime arguments between my parents and me. The Oct. 4, 1968, appearance was on a Friday, so there was no problem with my staying up late. When he appeared on another late night show hosted by Dick Cavett on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 1970, I was out of high school and attending computer school. Because I was 18 by then and because computer school was not seen by my parents as being as academically demanding as my high school studies, I was also able to stay up and see that show. 

On this show, Neil sang "Sweet Caroline" and was backed up by Randy Sterling on bass, Eddie Rubin on drums, and Carol Hunter on guitar. Neil made what I would have considered to have been sexist remarks about Carol Hunter if I had been through consciousness-raising at the time. He called her a "chick" (a feminist no-no) and said that she was the softest member of the group, which he said he knew to be true based on the times the four of them had to squeeze into the back of a cab. I probably shouldn't have repeated this, but unfortunately, this stuff sticks out in my memory. 

He wore the same shirt he was to wear on the cover of his next album, "Touching You, Touching Me". This was the first time I saw Neil on TV after my father finally broke down and bought us a color TV.

 One disappointment I had connected with this appearance is that Neil and Joey did not talk about Neil's music and career, only about his anti-drug work. But I told myself at the time that Neil probably wanted it this way, that he wanted to go on TV and discuss this subject. Eighteen years later, I read in the "Solitary Star" book that Neil wanted to discuss his music and had specifically told Joey's people that he did not want to discuss the anti-drug stuff. But as soon as he sat down after singing his number, Joey asked him what he thought about drugs, and Neil had to go through that whole interview. (The "Solitary Star" account was based on an interview by the author with Randy Sterling.)

 Yom Kippur was on September 22 in 1969, so that may explain why Neil did not show up on Joey Bishop's show that night as scheduled. Since Joey himself is Jewish, there was probably a substitute host. Under 1968, I've just posted a message on no-shows and mentioned that I thought there were two Joey Bishop no-shows for Neil. One was definitely on March 19, 1968, and I mentioned it in that posting. The other one may have been the one on Sept. 22, 1969. Incidentally, although the Yom Kippur holiday ended at sundown on the 22nd, and the show was seen late at night, I believe it was taped earlier in the day. - Regina)

November 19 - The Glen Campbell Show

(I have a TV listing for Neil on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on Nov. 19. Other guests were Bob Newhart and Cher. - Bev)

(Yes, this show aired as promised. I remember Neil doing a medley of his hits with Cher and Glen. I especially remember Cher doing "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show", something she also recorded with her then-husband Sonny sometime along the way. - Regina)

November 30 - The Ed Sullivan Show
(On Sunday, November 30, 1969, Neil made what would turn out to be his only appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

 And "a really big shew" it was that night, as Neil sang his two most recent hit records, "Sweet Caroline" and "Holly Holy". I believe he came on early in the show and did "Holly Holy" and then returned late in the show and did "Sweet Caroline".

 Snippets of this appearance have turned up on Ed Sullivan highlights TV specials and videos. - Regina Litman)

December 1 - Music Scene
(The host of this show was a comedian whose first name was Robert, but I can't think of his last name. It was something like Klein or Stein, maybe with another syllable at the end. As with Jack Carter serving as substitute host on the Joey Bishop Show the previous New Year's Eve (see message under 1968), I didn't think he was very funny. I think he may have been a guest host for that week (with the series having a different guest host every week), rather than a permanent host.

 Another guest that night was Cass Elliott, Mama Cass of the Mamas and Papas, who died at too young an age in 1974. At the end of the show, Neil and Cass snuck back on stage (or appeared to sneak back on stage) and picked Robert up and carried him off, as if they knew he was not being very entertaining. 

One of my favorite groups from that time period, the Creedence Clearwater Revival, made one of their rare TV appearances on that show.

 Because my overriding memory of that show was of Neil and Cass carrying the host off at the end, I had forgotten what Neil sang. Also, his Ed Sullivan appearance of the previous night had still been fresh on my mind. As a result of a recent video of this appearance recently being released, I now know that he sang "Holly Holy", his then-current hit single, and "Both Sides Now" during that appearance. - Regina Litman)

 

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