About the song
If you are a fan of Neil Diamond, you probably know his song “I Am… I Said”, a powerful and emotional ballad that expresses his existential crisis and his struggle to find himself. But do you know the history behind this song, and what inspired Diamond to write it? In this blog post, we will explore the origins and meanings of one of Diamond’s most personal and acclaimed songs.
“I Am… I Said” was released as a single in March 1971, and it quickly climbed the charts, reaching number 4 on both the U.S. and UK pop singles charts. It was also featured on Diamond’s album Stones, where it was divided into two parts: the first half opened the album, and the second half closed it. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, marking Diamond’s first Grammy nomination.
The song took Diamond four months to compose, and it was influenced by two major events in his life. The first one was his screen test to play the controversial comedian Lenny Bruce in a biographical film. Diamond felt that he had failed the audition, and he was thrown into a state of depression and self-doubt. He later said that the song was an attempt to express his dreams and aspirations, and that it came from his sessions with a therapist in Los Angeles.
The second event was his move from New York City to Los Angeles, which caused him to feel torn between his roots and his new environment. The song reflects this conflict by mentioning both cities and contrasting them: “L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home / New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more”. The song also depicts Diamond’s loneliness and isolation, as he sings: “I am, I said / To no one there / And no one heard at all / Not even the chair”.
The song has been praised for its lyricism and emotionality, but it has also been mocked for some of its lines, especially the one about the chair. Some critics have argued that the song is too melodramatic or obscure, while others have appreciated its honesty and vulnerability. The song has also been covered by many artists, such as Barbra Streisand, Bobby Womack, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Cash.
“I Am… I Said” is a song that resonates with many people who have felt lost or alienated at some point in their lives. It is a song that speaks to the human condition and the quest for identity. It is a song that showcases Neil Diamond’s talent and soul.