Neil Diamond On New Album ‘Melody Road’ & The REAL Inspiration Behind “Sweet Caroline”

Having just released a brand new album last week and a recently announced 2015 tour, legendary singer/songwriter Neil Diamond is already gearing up for a busy year. This morning, Neil called in to The K-EARTH 101 Morning Show to talk about the making of his first new album in six years, Melody Road, and what’s to come in the next year.

For Melody Road, Neil immersed himself in the recording process for this album and blocked out all distractions, saying “that’s what it takes” to really get the job done. The album also features a special 36-page lyric book with guitar chords included in the packaging.

“You kind of have to lock the doors, find the most boring view you can find, something that’s not distracting, and go at it,” he said.

While talking about some of his biggest hit, we asked Neil to clear up a big rumor about his classic song “Sweet Caroline.” It’s long been believed that the song was inspired by Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former president John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, but that’s not entirely the truth.

“It was inspired by my ex-wife and Marcia was thrilled to know that she inspired the song, but she had the question ‘well how come it’s Caroline and not Marcia?’ and I had to tell her ‘I couldn’t fit your name into the melody,’ ” he explained. “I had to look back at some notes and I came up with Caroline’s name, the Kennedy name, and I liked it, it fit, it worked…so that’s why it’s ‘Sweet Caroline.'”

To this day, Neil still makes crowds go wild and continues to reign as one of the top performers in music. So how does it feel being considered a “sex symbol” among many female fans?

“Well I hope that it’s all about the music,” he said. “What people take from it beyond that, I can’t control. I have to be as natural as I can be on stage and put out as much as myself as I can…a sex symbol? Okay, it doesn’t touch my life, but if that’s one of the aspects of it, fine, there could be a lot worse things.”

As a performer always in the public eye, Neil is accustomed to crazy rumors being started about his personal life. So what’s the craziest rumor he’s heard about himself? “I heard a couple of times I died…it kind of ruins your day,” he laughed.

He also tells us that many fans don’t believe that he was actually born with the name ‘Neil Diamond’ and think it’s actually a stage name. In fact, before he made it made it big, he thought about changing his name to “Noah Kaminsky” and “Eice Charry,” but ultimately stuck with his real name.

“Yeah, Neil Diamond, I guess folks have gotten used to it in the context that it is now, but for me, it was my name for as long as I could remember. It was the same name the kids on the block used to make fun of,” he said. “So it didn’t hold any special value to me and people were writing new names for themselves…but I never did get the nerve to submit them to the record company.”

Looks like he did pretty well for himself as ‘Neil Diamond.’ Neil’s new album Melody Road is available now on www.neildiamond.com. For tickets to his May 2015 show at the Hollywood Bowl, click here.

Hear our entire conversation with Neil in the clip below!

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