Solitary Man

Album: The Feel Of Neil Diamond (1966)
Charted: 21


  • "Solitary Man" was Neil Diamond's first charting single as a recording artist. In a 2005 Times Online interview, Diamond said: "After four years of Freudian analysis I realized I had written 'Solitary Man' about myself."
  • Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich produced this track. Diamond worked with them in the Brill Building when he was a young songwriter.
  • According to David Wild, who interviewed Diamond for Rolling Stone and wrote He Is...I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond, this was a turning point in Diamonds songwriting. When we asked David if Diamond's songs were personal or character-driven, he told us: "I think they're all personal for Neil - that may be part of the secret of his success. He's a deeply personal performer - a groundbreaking introspective singer songwriter since "Solitary Man" - who transforms himself into an exhibitionist onstage."
  • Neil Diamond told Mojo magazine July 2008: "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."
  • Johnny Cash won a Best Country Male Vocal Grammy for his version of the song, which appeared on the 2000 album American III: Solitary Man. The album was produced by Rick Rubin, who produced Diamond's 2008 album Home Before Dark.
  • The metal band HIM had a top 10 UK hit with their version of the song in 2003. The alt-rock band Crooked Fingers covered the song on the 2006 tribute album Forever Neil Diamond. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mopy - New York, NY, for all above
  • The song was re-released by Bang Records in 1970, peaking at #21.
  • This was featured on Neil Diamond's live album Hot August Night where he changed the lyrics:
    "Then Sue came along loved me strong that's what i thought/ Me and Sue, that died too."
    "Then you came along loved me strong that's what I thought/ Me and you, that died too." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Genevieve - North Melbourne, Australia
  • In a 2005 feature called "Neil Diamond's Jewels," Rolling Stone magazine picked this as Neil Diamond's best song.

Comments: 19

  • Seventhmist from 7Diamond's early efforts, like this gem, made his later stuff (post-1970s) look soooo bad.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaUnderstand a lot of those lyrics too. Thanks Neil.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 21st 2001, Johnny Cash was released from the hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for pneumonia...
    Later that night he attended the 43rd Grammy Awards, where he won the Grammy for 'Best Male Vocal Country Performance' for 'Solitary Man', it would be his tenth Grammy...
    At the time his 85th studio album, 'American III: Solitary Man', was in its second of two weeks at #43 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, it had peaked at #11 on the chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 30th 1966, Neil Diamond performed "Solitary Man" on Dick Clark's ABC-TV week-day afternoon program 'Where The Action Is'...
    This appearance was five days after his national TV debut on Dick Clark's other ABC-TV program, 'American Bandstand' {See next two posts below}...
    At the time of this 'Action' appearance "Solitary Man" was at position #55 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 25th 1966, Neil Diamond made his national television debut, he lip-sync "Solitary Man" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    (See next post below).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 15th 1966, "Solitary Man" by Neil Diamond entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; eventually it peaked at #55 and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    Four years later on July 5th, 1970 it re-entered the Top 100; and on September 6th, 1970 it peaked at #21 and the record at #22 was "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond, and on October 4th, 1970 it became his first #1 record.
  • Gary from Clementon, NjIt's the basic version that is played on the You Tube link. I prefer this version just because it is basic, with a rustic style befitting the 'Solitary' theme of the song.
  • Gary from Clementon, NjThere are two Neil Diamond versions. A basic version which I believe was the first, and a version with extra guitars, Neil's harmonizing vocals and female backing Ahhh vocals added. When did this version with the additions come about? Which version was the 1970 hit?
  • Coy from Palestine, TxJohnny Cash won a Grammy for his performance of this song. Diamond said at one time he was embarrassed when he realized this song was on the radio and revealing a very personal experience that actually happened. But over the years he often changes the girl's name from Belinda to Melinda and back and forth.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxJohnny Cash covered this song near the end of his life, but he probably shouldn't have.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1976 country singer T. G. Sheppard released a covered version of this song; it peaked at No. 100 on the Pop chart and spent one week in the Top 100!!!
  • Zhivko from Bourgas, BulgariaVersion of this song was used as soundtrack for the TV Series Stargate Atlantis Season 5 episode 19 - "Vegas", aired January 9, 2009
  • Bob from Schenectady, NyI thought the lyric "Me and Sue, that died too" was "Me and Sue, that guy too" meaning she was cheating on him.
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzCharles is correct! A stereo remix of "Solitary Man," was issued as a single in the early summer of 1970 and peaked at #20 on Billboard.
  • Kaymichele from Austin, TxChris Isaak covered this on his San Francisco Days album.
  • Fred from Laurel, MdThis came out while I was in college, and just starting to learn guitar. Fall '66 gave us this and another artist's first singles, both of which songs were little-noted at the time, but both singers would make much bigger splashes with their 2nd efforts. Neil's was Cherry Cherry a few months after this. Cat Stevens' first, Matthew and Son, in fall '66, was even more obscure, but his second, Wild World, 4 years later, was much bigger. And in between, he had a number of his songs become hits by other artists. He then had several quite popular albums in the 70's. *** Kevin/Reading,PA - Actually, that trumpet style is quite common and probably isn't Herb, but you're right-it does sound like a lot of his pieces.

  • Kevin from Reading , PaIt's always sounded to me like Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass are playing on this, though I don't know if they are. (I'm going to go look it up right now!)
  • Michael from Chicago, IlThis is one of the songs I grew up hearing (well, thru puberty, anyway!) and came to realize what it meant when you could 'identify' with a song - change the names to 'Debra' and 'Felicia', and you'd have my adolescent adventures in a nutshell ...
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcDiamond had 5 top 40 hits in 1970, including 3 singles from the LP Tap Root Manuscript, Solitary Man and the re-released Bang single "Do It".
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