This song is about a child who makes up an imaginary friend. Diamond later said that he was at least partially addressing his younger self, and called the song "a feast for psychological interpretation."
Diamond wanted to release this song about an imaginary childhood friend as a single but his record label, Bang Records, thought it was too introspective. This upset Diamond and he consequently left the label. A couple of years later Bang suddenly issued the 1967 version of this song before withdrawing it again. They then re-recorded the instrumental backing behind his original voice track so that the song now sounded a lot like his more recent material. The partly re-recorded version was released as a single peaking at #24 in the US. Diamond reacted by re-recording his own version and putting it on an already existing album, Velvet Gloves And Spit, and reissuing it with this new addition advertised on the front cover.
Helen Weaver from Westerville Oh He is my ALL TIME FAVORITE!
Tru Lacroux from AmericaWhy does it seem like this is the story of a friend from childhood why the MRI vision of what looks like an astrocytoma tumor.? Why does it seem like he lost his friend this friend to a tumor. His wedding suit a disappointment in the eyes someone who couldn’t keep her promise someone who gave up to death? Maybe bc my son died of a astrocytoma brain tumor and I lost friends and family bc they couldn’t handle the emotions and toll it took on me. They left. I got sick, recovered, then got 2 brain tumors, now alone I am introspective. Maybe to the point of being unable to see beyond my pain and obsession with why, why, why him? I have loved this song sense I was a child. It is only now watching this video that the pieces make a story of my life. The I’d very strongly suggest I read a book.
Bd from UsaWhile researching something else, this song by Neil Diamond came to mind so I looked up the lyrics... As to why the name Shilo when he was young, maybe he was a good Jewish boy crying to Messiah: "The precise meaning of “Shiloh” is challenging. It is either a reference to a place, as it is elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g. Joshua 18:1,8,9; 19;51; I Samuel 1:13, etc.), or, it may refer to q proper name for the Messiah. This is seen in the Talmud in Sanhedrian 98b which answers the question of what the Messiah’s name is by saying, “Shiloh is his name, as it is said, “Until Shiloh Come.” In Judaism, Names describe the nature of the Messiah’s mission."
Jennifur Sun from RamonaWish I could tell Neil thanks for this song, it's like he knew me when he wrote it.
Jodi from Northampton, PaI had always thought that Shilo was a dog.
Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI am curious as to why the final refrain of the song (with "Come today") is left off most recordings I have heard. Instead there's a rapid fadeout on the first two lines. Is it controversial?
Fred from Laurel, MdI always liked this song since it hit top-40 radio back in '67; it has more of a calm, friendly appeal that has staying power, than a smash-hit-today-and totally-over-it-tomorrow sort of quality. I always wondered about the name, though. I knew there was a famous American Civil War battle in southwestern Tennessee at Shiloh (note the extra "h"), which I used to think was an American Indian-derived name for the place, but later found out it's from the Old Testament (the battle was named after a nearby church). Looking that up on Wikipedia has yielded some enticing stuff, but hasn't quite yet led me to any concrete connection with this song; maybe others can come up with some. Maybe Mr. Wild of Songfact #2 up here can tell us whether there is any such connection. It just seems a bit of an odd name to draw from a hat, so it doesn't seem likely to be a coincidence. The biblical Shiloh was a gathering place for all the tribes of Israel, and home to the Ark of the Covenant for several centuries. Gathering? Place of coming together? With your buds, your pals, your compatriots, perhaps soulmates? Hmmm.
David Bowie's "Space Oddity" tells the story of an astronaut who cuts off communication and floats into space. The BBC used it extensively in their coverage of the 1969 moon landing - an odd choice considering the lyrics.