Neil Diamond, the 82-year-old legendary singer-songwriter, is coming to terms with what he describes as a “hurricane” of life after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The condition, which affects the nervous system, was announced by Diamond in 2018. In a recent interview with CBS Sunday Morning, he opened up about the time it took him to accept the changes in his health.
“It’s just been in the last few weeks,” Diamond shared, regarding when he finally came to terms with his condition. “I’m still doing it. And I don’t like it. This is the hand that God’s given me, and I have to make the best of it, and so I am.”
He added that a “calm has moved into the hurricane of my life, and things have gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio. And I like it. I find that I like myself better. I’m easier on people. I’m easier on myself. And the beat goes on, and it will go on long after I’m gone.”
The musician was candid and practical, expressing gratitude for his less difficult days. “I can’t really fight this thing, so I had to accept it, this Parkinson’s Disease,” Diamond said. “There’s no cure. There’s no getting away from it. You can’t just say, ‘OK, enough already. Let’s get back to life.’ It doesn’t work like that. But I’ve come to accept what limitations I have, and still have great days.”
One of those great days involved an impromptu performance of “Sweet Caroline” during the opening night of A Beautiful Noise, a Broadway musical based on his life and music, at New York’s Broadhurst Theatre in December. It was his first performance since revealing his diagnosis and announcing his retirement from touring five years ago.
Diamond referred to watching the production as “psychotherapy”, telling CBS Sunday Morning, “It hurt. I didn’t like looking at myself in many of the scenes. It all was pretty hard.”
He continued, “I was a little embarrassed, I was flattered, and I was scared. Being found out is the scariest thing you can hope, because we all have a facade, and the truth be known to all of ’em, I’m not some big star. I’m just me.”
Image credit: Irisgerh