GRAMMY-winning recording artist Neil Diamond has been honored this weekend at the 2009 Grammy Awards as the 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year.
Artists honoring the 68-year-old Diamond include the Foo Fighters, Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay and Jonas Brothers who kicked off the show with “Forever in Blue Jeans” (”Aren’t they adorable?” host Jimmy Kimmel joked. “These kids wouldn’t even have sideburns if it weren’t for Neil Diamond”), Kid Rock who did “Thank the Lord for the Night Time”, Adele and Urge Overkill, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Jennifer Hudson’s stirring vocals on “Holly Holy” and Coldplay’s stripped-down version of “I’m A Believer” helped take Neil Diamond on a musical journey of his career.
The music industry charity celebrated Diamond, also known as Diamond Te Cutter or The Jewish Elvis, for his philanthropy, which included donating concert merchandise sales last fall to relief efforts for Texas areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike. Besides, this was not his first charity action, as in April 1992, Diamond worked with Australian artist Sharon Davson to launch the Hands Up project of Artists For Life. Diamond originally just donated his autographed hand prints to raise funds and awareness for the charity, but the impact of the initiative spread, and over the years, Davson personally painted the hands of over 400 world leaders from many fields of endeavor.
Surrounded by his children and grandchildren, Diamond listened as more than 50 years of what he called “my little musical creations” were interpreted for 2,200 people at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“I love you for it,” he told the crowd.
The singer-songwriter thanked his mother, Rose, who was in the audience, recalling how his parents bought him a $10 guitar as a youngster in Brooklyn.
“They paid it off a dollar a week for 10 weeks,” he said. “It was a good investment, Mom. You invested $10 and made a life for me.”
Then, Diamond slow-danced with Faith Hill during their duet on “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and kissed her hand.
He got the crowd on its feet for “America” and kept them there for a sing-along finale to “Sweet Caroline.” In the audience, comedian Sarah Silverman wrapped her arms around boyfriend Kimmel as they swayed to the music.
After that, British singer Adele sang “Cracklin’ Rose” while wrapping her heavily bandaged right thumb around the microphone. Chris Cornell offered up “Kentucky Woman,” while Raul Malo did Diamond’s big hit “Solitary Man.”
Cassandra Wilson and trumpeter Terence Blanchard teamed for a jazzy take on “September Morn,” Eric Benet crooned “Heartlight” from the movie “E.T.” and Tim McGraw sang “Hello Again.”
This entry was posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009 at 4:36 pm and is filed under News.