My friend Terry (Hi, Terry!) emailed me the other day and said something along the lines of “Hey, Peter, have you heard the musical coincidence involving Neil Diamond liberally borrowing from Elgar‘s ‘Nimrod‘?”, to which I replied: “Nope”.
I’m very familiar with the classical music piece by Elgar. (I’m a classical music nut, and Elgar is a composer that classical music nuts learn about fairly early on in their explorations.) “Nimrod” is one part (the “Nimrod” part) of his “Enigma” Variations. The Neil Diamond piece however, is something I’ve never heard before. Neil’s “Dear Father” is a piece of music with words (which I suppose makes it a song) on his soundtrack to the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Now, I’ve never read the book, seen the movie, or heard the soundtrack, but I did know that all three incarnations of JLS are cherished by plenty of people. Because it’s considered almost sacred by an awful lot of folk, I won’t make any jokes about philosophising seagulls.
Anyway, when Terry handed over the Neil Diamond track I had a listen. It took a while for me to wade through Neil’s over-emoting vocals and try to find the tunes in amongst all that mawkishness before I realised that, yes, some of the melodies did remind me of Elgar’s “Nimrod”.
By the way, Wikipedia reckons that there are over 60 recordings of the “Enigma” Variations. I only have five of them. Don’t worry: I won’t pester you with all of them. Just one will do.
It’s coincidence time…
Neil Diamond – “Dear Father” (1973)