Longfellow Serenade - Neil Diamond (1974)
Neil Diamond is one of the biggest musical inspirations of my life. I was raised on four albums of his: Hot August Night, Stones, the Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack and Serenade. Serenade is still my favorite of his albums, with Beautiful Noise coming in at a close second. I love the fact that I discovered the latter's Robbie Robertson produced magic on my own, but all thanks for my Jewish Elvis worship rests in the musical tastes of David and Betty Jewell. I loved that record so much as a child that I colored on the album sleeve. This tale of poetry and love perfectly captures Neil at a time when everything he released was huge, before the E.T. song and the mid-80's took him out of serious music lovers minds. He's back now with a vengeance, in the form of two perfect late period albums produced by Rick Rubin. Also, he has FINALLY been nominated for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It's good to know my parents were right all along!