I Am...I Said

Album: Stones (1971)
Charted: 4 4
  • L. A.'s fine the sun shines most the time
    And the feelin' is laid back
    Palm trees grow and rents are low

    But you know I keep thinkin' 'bout
    Making my way back

    Well I'm New York City born and raised
    But nowadays I'm lost between two shores
    L. A.'s fine
    But it ain't home
    New York's home
    But it ain't mine no more

    I am
    I said

    To no one there
    And no one heard at all not
    Even the chair
    I am
    I cried
    I am said I
    And I am lost and I can
    Even say why
    Leavin' me lonely still

    Did you ever read about a frog
    Who dreamed of being a king
    And then became one
    Well except for the names and a few other changes
    If you talk about me
    The story's the same one
    But I got an emptiness deep inside
    And I've tried
    But it won't let me go
    And I'm not a man who likes to swear
    But I never cared for the sound of bein' alone

Comments: 17

  • David Van Zandt from Comet, WvI am
    I said
    To no one there
    And no one heard at all not
    Did anyone care?
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenWell said, Marty. And I never knew about the song being in two halves on the album.
  • Marty from IdahoThis song is the heart cry of many people who come to God in their darkest hour. Unfortunately some come to God having already decided He does not exist, they throw down the gauntlet, saying in their heart, “God this is your last chance, do something miraculous and actually talk to me from this empty chair.” But God is always there and is appealing to our hearts, not our brains. We need to come to Him humbly asking to reveal Himself in the way He decides, not in the way we think He should act.
  • Agon The Conqueror from Seoul, KoreaWell seeing as the inspiration for this song came while he was in therapy, I'm surprised no one pointed out that the chair is his therapist who hears but doesn't listen.
  • Larry In Green Bay from Green Bay, WiI would just like to say all songs have lyrics that seem "stupid" or out of place. For instance, the Bee Gees song they wrote titled "Islands in the Stream." One of the lyrics for that song is "I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb." Not especially meaningful. Probably meant to rhyme with the previous line ending in the word unknown. So I am a huge Neil Diamond fan but I would also say there are about a dozen of his songs I do not like - at all (September Morn anyone?). Same for very popular artists from the same time frame, such as U2, Beatles, etc.
  • Jenny from SydneyNeil is from a Jewish background At Passover the Jewish people keep an "empty chair" for Elijah, the one who is coming to announce the coming of the Saviour If you don't know anything about the Jewish faith then of course you won't understand the line "No one heard, not even the chair" Even if you don't quite get the religious undertones it is an amazingly beautiful song, both the melody and lyrics Neil has a true gift.
  • Coy from Palestine, TexasDiamond is still touring at age 76 his 2017 tour is setting records. He has the highest listed net worth for a male singer at 255 million dollars!
  • Violet from VirginiaI used to like Dave Barry till I read his ridiculous critique of I Am I Said. So glad he caught lots of flak for it.
  • Mel from UkConsidering Neil's Jewish background, it is surprising that no one has considered its religious undertones in its key line: "I am, I said, to no one there. And no one heard at all, not even the chair." "I am" is the Old Testament name for God revealed to Moses in the burning bush and then passed onto to the Pharaoh, when he is trying to get him to release his people from slavery. (Being lost being two coasts is metaphorically like the escape through the red sea too). By saying "to no one there" adds a note of atheism; it becomes the line of an ex-believer in God. At Passover, Jewish people keep an empty chair for Elijah, the one who was to announce the coming saviour (another like Moses). The line comes to mean, not only do I not have a God, but I don't even have the hope of a saviour. Neil may not have been consciously aware of these meanings and they may have come from a subconscious part of his mind, who knows. That's what makes the song epic.
  • Susan from Atlanta, GeorgiaI think when people hone in on a single line like "not even the chair", they are trying to find something to criticize because everything around that line is so beautifully written and emotionally compelling that they have to latch onto that to keep themselves from going with the emotion. How is "not even the chair" any more bizarre than Faron Young singing Willie Nelson's "Hello Walls"? Both songs point to the sentiment of solitude, and it doesn't take many brain cells to figure out that.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxNeil had to fight to keep the line "not even the chair" in the song. It is a song about being absolutely alone and lost. The chair is an allegory. It obviously represents a person very close who is not there. It is probably too deep for most Neil Diamond fans to understand, but the hook in the chorus is powerful enough to make the record a classic without understanding the lyric.
  • Carolyn from Knoville, TnI guess I'm more like Dave Barry...I never cared for this song, and I'm a huge fan of Neil Diamond. How can you not love songs like "Sweet Caroline", "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "Hello, Again, Hello"? But this one left me cold.
  • Hikin4views from Wappingers Falls, NyI just recently heard a live interview with Neil Diamond regarding this song on an oldies station. After hearing in his own words how the lyrics was written I decided to check this web site and see what was written. Many of the above posts are on the money. However, here a few points of interest from the interview. He wrote the lyrics in less than an hour while in his room at a Holiday Inn in L.A.. He described how he was depressed about how the audition went when he entered his hotel room alone and sat at the little table by the window where he took in all the sunshine and palm trees, but at the same moment felt extremely homesick for New York. He said he began to seriously doubt his move to the West Coast and felt very alone in the world when he began writing the lyrics to one of his finest songs. He said that many people, including the record company, questioned the use of "the chair" in the song, but he insisted that it remain. The "chair", he says, actually refers to the second chair at the table with him in the hotel room while he wrote the lyrics . . . it was the closest thing he had to a companion, yet even it would not hear him. In conclusion, even though he wrote the song in a mere hour it took him several months to recapture those immense feelings on a track. Hope this was helpful.
  • Tim from Raleigh, NcThe chair line could be a sarcastic allusion to Jailhouse Rock: "If you can't find a partner, use a wooden chair."
  • Rick from Belfast, MeNeil's best song.....closely followed by Holly Holy and Song Sung Blue
  • Howard from Wakefield, United KingdomThis track featured on Neil's live album 'Hot August Night'. An absolute classic album!
  • John from London, United KingdomRegarded by many as his best song, and you will never find a Neil Diamond compilation album - and there's enough of them - without it. Personally, I'd put it fourth behind Home Before Dark, Brooklyn Roads, and Cracklin' Rosie. A darn good song though.
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