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Neil Diamond’s “I Am… I Said” Was Truly Special and Moving

“I Am… I Said” is one of Neil Diamond’s most personal and introspective songs, released as a single in March 1971. The song slowly climbed the charts, eventually reaching number four on the U.S. pop singles chart and enjoying similar success in the UK. The lyrics reflect Diamond’s feelings of loneliness and displacement, capturing his struggle to find a sense of belonging between his life in Los Angeles and his roots in New York City.

The creation of “I Am… I Said” stemmed from a particularly challenging period in Diamond’s life. He wrote the song after auditioning for the lead role in a film about comedian Lenny Bruce, an experience that left him grappling with deep emotional turmoil. This sense of introspection is palpable in the song, which took him over four months to complete. Diamond has described the song as “the most difficult thing I ever wrote,” due to its deeply personal nature.

The song’s profound lyrics and Diamond’s emotive delivery have resonated with audiences worldwide. It was included on his album *Stones* and has been performed in many of his live concerts, often to rapturous applause. One notable live version appears on his 1972 album *Hot August Night*, where the raw emotion of the song is captured beautifully in a more intimate acoustic setting.

“I Am… I Said” also earned Diamond his first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. Despite its success and the acclaim it brought, Diamond’s relationship with songwriting has always been complex. He has admitted to a love-hate relationship with the craft, finding it both satisfying and intensely challenging.

Neil Diamond’s career, spanning over five decades, has been marked by numerous hits and accolades. With over 130 million records sold worldwide, he remains one of the best-selling musicians of all time. His extensive catalog includes timeless classics like “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” and “Song Sung Blue.” Beyond his musical achievements, Diamond has also dabbled in acting, most notably in the 1980 film *The Jazz Singer*.

Diamond’s contributions to music have been widely recognized. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He has also received the Kennedy Center Honors and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, cementing his status as a music legend.

Despite his numerous accolades, Diamond remains humble and appreciative of his fans’ support. His songs, characterized by their heartfelt lyrics and memorable melodies, continue to resonate with listeners across generations. “I Am… I Said” stands out as a poignant testament to his enduring talent and emotional depth.

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