♫ Solitary Man ♫ (Redux)

The last time I played this was in September 2019, nearly 3 years ago, and at the time I apologized for playing it, for it is not Neil Diamond’s most popular or highest charting song.  But frankly it is among my favourites of his.  I find that when I am deep down a rabbit hole, this one seems to just pop into my head.  And so tonight, I offer it again, this time sans apologies, and I hope you like it, but if you don’t, stay tuned … it’s only Monday!

This was Neil Diamond’s first charting single as a recording artist, though he had moderate success previously as a songwriter writing songs for other artists, including the Box Tops and the Monkees.  Of Solitary Man he said …

“After four years of Freudian analysis I realized I had written ‘Solitary Man’ about myself.”

In a 2008 interview …

“Solitary Man was my first song where I tried to really raise the level of my songwriting. It was inspired by the Beatles’ song ‘Michelle,’ which was also written in a minor key. I don’t think I’d ever written a song in a minor key before, it was the first and it kind of broke the dam for me.”

The song would go on to be covered by many others, including T.G. Sheppard, Johnny Cash, HIM, and others, most of which I have never heard.

Solitary Man
Neil Diamond

Melinda was mine ’til the time
That I found her
Holding Jim
And loving him
Then Sue came along, loved me strong
That’s what I thought
Ya, me and Sue
But that died too

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

I’ve had it to here
Bein’ where love’s a small word
Part-time thing
Paper ring

I know it’s been done
Havin’ one girl who’ll loves you
Right or wrong
Weak or strong

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man
Solitary man
Solitary man

Songwriters: Neil Diamond
Solitary Man lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

20 thoughts on “♫ Solitary Man ♫ (Redux)

  1. Jill, one of Neil’s best and he has had several great ones. I like it better when it is not too over instrumentalized. I think he taped a show at the Troubador in LA that elevates several of his songs. Keith

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  2. I can relate to this song, as I was single when it came out and had just come off of a relationship where the girl I’d been dating for a bout six months had, indeed, played games behind me.

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  3. One of my favourite Neil Diamond songs too – up there with Soolaimon for me. This has been a Tuesday Tune for me – same video too! The Johnny Cash version is great, it really suits the melancholy tone of his voice. Also recorded by, among others, Cliff Richard – it’s as awful as you might expect!

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    • I’m really glad I chose this one, then, instead of the other one I was considering last night! I’ll have to listen to the Johnny Cash version, for he does have just the right voice for it. Tell me … has Cliff Richard done anything well?

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      • A good choice! JC really does suit the song, with a spare, low key setting. Musically speaking, I’ve never enjoyed anything Cliff Richard has done, especially when he ‘entertained’ the crowd during a rain break at Wimbledon. They built the cover over the Centre Court to stop that happening again. Allegedly…

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        • I did a quick view of the Wikipedia page about Mr. Richard and was shocked to see they referred to him as “the third-top-selling artist in UK Singles Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.” Personally, what little of his music I’ve heard did not impress me.

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          • No accounting for taste, is there! He’s been going a long time, so accumulated sales have been over more than 60 years. He was marketed as the British Elvis to begin with, made a few movies to copy the Elvis approach. Then they realised that wouldn’t work for long. His audience has followed him – they are mostly female, and old!

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