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Neil Diamond records charity song for Boston

Neil Diamond visited Boston in the days following the marathon bombings and left convinced he should do something to help.

“I was moved by the unity and the attitude of the people in Boston,” Diamond said. “And that’s really all a songwriter needs, is to be inspired. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does you have to follow that muse and I did.”

The result is “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down),” a new patriotically themed song Diamond will release through iTunes and Amazon on July 2. All proceeds from the song will go to benefit the Boston One Fund and the Wounded Warriors Project.

Diamond watched coverage of the April 15 bombings unfold from afar, then visited the city the following Saturday. The Red Sox, the city’s Major League Baseball franchise, adopted the 72-year-old singer’s hit “Sweet Caroline” as an eighth-inning anthem some time ago and had invited him to perform it live.
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Neil Diamond says he's happy 'Sweet Caroline' offers comfort

Neil Diamond said he’s happy his “Sweet Caroline,” a staple of Boston Red Sox games, can provide comfort after the Boston Marathon bombing.

The New York Yankees, Toronto Raptors, and other professional sports teams have played the song at games in the days after Monday’s deadly blasts, with fans and players often singing along.

“There is a lot of comfort that music can offer,” Diamond told The Associated Press. “In this particular situation, I’d much rather it not have happened than for ‘Sweet Caroline’ to become part of it. But it’s obviously offering comfort to people and I feel good about that.”

Diamond spoke Thursday night in Los Angeles at the Rock and Roll Hall induction ceremony. He said he intended the song, first released in 1969 and addressed to Caroline Kennedy, to offer solace.

“I wrote it in a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee,” he said. “And I think there’s a little bit of God in that song. I always have felt that. There’s no accounting for what can happen to a song. But this one had something special to it.”

Read more:
Several sports teams honor Boston

‘Family Guy’ Boston Marathon bombing clip is an Internet hoax
Sports Illustrated dedicates cover to Boston Marathon bombings
Patton Oswalt responds to Boston Marathon explosions on Facebook

Bon Jovi passed over by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Three reasons they deserve to get in

bon-jovi-amaImage Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2011 inductees today—Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Dr. John, and Darlene Love are set to be immortalized in the the March 14 ceremony, which will air on Fuse. But those inductees are out of 15 possible nominees that were made public in September. First of all: Big ups to all of those lucky musicians! Congrats. But as you may or may not know, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame releases a list of nominees a few months before announcing who’ll actually be inducted that year. It was after looking over that list of possible inductees that I found myself stunned: Bon Jovi didn’t make the cut. Granted, there are several other deserving folks who were nominated and didn’t make it, and this was only the first year that Bon Jovi was nominated (they’ll probably get in before too much longer), but it does seem more than egregious that they didn’t make it. Right? Right. Anyway, without further ado, I present my three reasons why Bon Jovi should have made the cut this year.

• Um, have you heard “Livin’ on a Prayer”? How can you not revel in that awesome song? Relive it here:

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Neil Diamond covers Adam Sandler, becomes the Grinch who ruined Hanukkah

I thought my Chanukah wishes had been answered when I heard that Neil Diamond did a cover of Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song.” Until I listened to it: ugh. Then things got worse. I saw the music video, done in slipshod Flash animation. Needless to say, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Sandler’s song for a musically underrepresented holiday works because it’s fun and feels off-the-cuff. For some reason the Jewish Elvis though we needed a straight-faced, fist-pumping version of a novelty song. Well, this is the same Hebraic hero who—for some reason—has recorded three Christmas albums, so what do you expect?

There’s potential in this cartoon video for the song, and it’s criminally wasted. ‘Toon versions of David Lee Roth, The Fonz and Captain Kirk show up, but they don’t do anything other than smile/leer and raise their animated eyebrows.

Am I missing some secret subtext in this painfully vanilla cover? Or should we let this crazy Diamond shine on?

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Ke$ha: A Music Mix Q&A on her Top 5 hit ‘TiK ToK’ and why she’s no longer welcome in Paris Hilton’s home
Axl Rose issues statement on ‘unprovoked’ paparazzi scuffle
Miley Cyrus song disqualified from Grammy noms
Kanye West responds to EW’s Best of the Decade honor
Lil Wayne’s Rebirth delayed yet again to 2010
Did Eminem call Adam Lambert a homophobic slur?

'Glee': Rating the iTunes downloads from episode 8, 'Mash Up'

glee-bust-a-move_lThere are advantages and disadvantages to being EW’s designated recapper for Modern Family and Cougar Town. On the down side, my duties force me to relegate Glee to my DVR, and watch it on Thursday evenings. But the good news is, I can listen to iTunes versions of the week’s musical performances on their own merits, without the overwhelming feeling of “that scene was so freakin’ awesome, I need to download the related music immédiatement!” It is in that spirit that I’m grading the three available tracks from last night’s eighth episode, “Mash Up”:

* “Bust a Move” (performed by Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester): Riddle me this: Seeing how Morrison does little more than offer a pale imitation of Young M.C.’s 1989 smash, why isn’t iTunes charging half-price for it compared to the original? From the unconvincing aggression on that opening “bust it!” to the neutered backing vocals to the sanitized lyric about our protagonist’s response to a hottie bridesmaid (Morrison spits “you’re feelin’ really fine” instead of “feelin’ really firm“), this performance has all the swagger and authority you’d expect from a high-school Spanish teacher. (And I don’t mean that in a good way.) Bottom line: No reason for this one to exist outside the Glee universe. C-

* “Thong Song” (performed by Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester): I’ll admit, I feel deeply uncomfortable every time I listen to Morrison’s spoken-word intro — “This thing right here, is lettin’ all the ladies know what guys talk about. You know, the finer things in life” — especially that lascivious little laugh at the end. READ FULL STORY

Guilty Pleasures, Round Two: Neil Diamond (7) vs. Barry Manilow (2)

EW’s Music Mix is searching for the Greatest Guilty Pleasure Musical Act of All Time. With 16 seeded contestants remaining (see all the matchups), this tournament is continuing to change hearts, minds, and lives, as well as make some people remarkably agitated! Read/listen to the following, and then cast your vote in the poll after the jump; reader comments will be used from here on out, so we encourage you to also post a comment explaining why you chose the way you did. Note: In case of a tie, please select the artist you feel more ashamed to adore. Also note: Yes, the bracket was rearranged to be in proper bracketing order. Thank you.

UPDATE: This is the final matchup of Round Two. Polls will remain open through the long weekend. Enjoy your Labor Day!

Neil Diamond Barry Manilow

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Guilty Pleasures, Round One: Neil Diamond (7) vs. John Denver (10)

EW’s Music Mix is searching for the Greatest Guilty Pleasure Musical Act of All Time. With 32 seeded contestants (see all the matchups), this tournament is sure to change hearts, minds, and lives for weeks to come. Read/listen to the following, and then cast your vote in the poll after the jump; reader comments will be used in subsequent rounds, so we encourage you to also post a comment explaining why you chose the way you did. Note: In case of a tie, please select the artist you feel more ashamed to adore. Thank you.

Neil John Denver

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