Excerpts from the Stones Radio Interview 1971

Hi this is Neil Diamond and its really nice to be here on the show, and I’d like to play some of the new sides for you, from the new album, Stones.

Well, I Am...I Said was a very difficult song, very difficult because I really had to spend a lot of time thinking about what I was before the song was written. I spent about 4 months writing it and its easily the most satisfying lyric that I’ve written. Its very personal and touches me maybe more deeply than some of the other songs. I Am...I Said is a very complicated song and its complicated probably because my feelings were very complicated when I wrote it. It tells of feeling lost and full of questions and doubts and insecurities and really having a need to go back home, to go back to the roots to go back to the original security that you feel in life, realizing that you never can go back that time makes things different, it changes things. I suppose its a song of conflicts and frustrations as well as the lost/scared theory that I mentioned. I guess that I do have a lot of myself wrapped up in it.

I’ve found for the last couple of years that the things that I can become most deeply involved with are songs that reflect my real feelings about things and so that what I’ve been writing about.

This photograph was taken at a manor home outside of London. The house is about 450 years old, and the photograph is a little meditation garden that the man who would own the house had built in memory of his wife after she died. It was a beautiful, peaceful area and the statue is of his wife. I imagine that he came and sat on the bench and just meditated, it was one of the most peaceful, quiet places I’ve ever been to.

Actually, the title of the album came from the feeling that most of the songs projected and of course it is the title of the song Stones, but I felt that it also captured the feeling of the album and so I wanted to use it. Stones has meant to me the things that hurt people, things that cause people pain. The next album may be called Sticks.

I’ve written three of the songs on the album, the rest are outside songs, songs written by writers that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. They were songs that I had been wanting to record for a couple of years and I finally got around to it and I’m just, I couldn’t be more pleased about it.

Well, it would be foolish of me to assume that the only music that I can be moved by and affected by is my own music, there are many songs that I love and can touch me and move me and thats really the only yardstick I use to determine wether I’ll record an outside song or not. If it can affect me, if it has meaning to me, if I feel I can do it well, I will do it and record it and thats why I recorded these songs. They are all lovely and beautiful and special in their own way.

This is a beautiful beautiful Tom Paxton song, very lovely, very delicate and I just enjoyed singing it and I suppose thats reason enough to record it and thats why I did record it. Its called The Last Thing on My Mind

Because my musical training has been limited, I’ve never been restricted by what technical musicians might call a song. I’ve never limited it to 32 bars. The main objective in any song, the songs that I write, has always been that it reflect the way I feel, that it touch me when I’m finished with it, that it moves me, that it can take me along with it and involve me in what its saying. Thats really the only rule that I use when writing, thereare no limitations other than that.

The type of song that I’ve been writing requires that I be involved in it and I suppose ‘inspiration’ is the right word, although it always seems so enormous to me. I suppose that being moved to write a song is more applicable to me, I have to be moved, I have to have a reason to write a particular song. If the word ‘inspiration’ fits, then I guess that could be used. I like to use the word ‘moved’

Chelsea Morning is a great Joni Mitchell song and I guess I’m partial to her lyrics because they show me a slightly different perspective on life. She’s a really fine lyracist and she’s also a very delicate woman and I think that in a sense women see things from a slightly different perspective and I find it uplifting and refresthing and I love to do her songs.

It wasn’t an easy one, but I don’t know if very many people do have easy lives. Brooklyn is not the easiest place to grow up in, although I wouldn’t change that experience for anything. We moved around quite a bit, I went to a number of schools, its not the best kind of a life for a kid but I survived it somehow. We stayed in Wyoming for about two years and that was a great experience. I was very young, but a great experience, very different from Brooklyn to say the least, we were in Cheyenne and just chock full of cowboys and great stuff that you only see on films.

No, to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t, but the human mind adjusts to certain situations. Whatever success I’ve had so far has been assimilated into my body and mind. I don’t really feel much different then I did five or six years ago.

This is the title song to the album Stones and I guess if I had to sum up Stones I’d call it a desperate love song. As I said before, stones to me is meant things that hurt people, things that cause pain and thats what this song is about...

Well, this is about my 8th or 9th album, my 6th I think for UNI records. Its interesting, when I recorded my very first album I thought to myself , ‘well when this whole thing is over I wonder how many albums I will have recorded’. I didn’t think I would reach this many.

Very often the music comes first. I’ve always thought of music as something which gives the words their flight and their wings and the music often comes first, although sometimes I’ll have a concept, a title idea, a lyric idea that I want to write and the lyric will come first. It never, ever happens the same way. Of all the songs that I’ve written since I was 15 or 16, every song is different every song is special, it happens in a different way and I like that.

I think that if I have one hope, 1 ambition, 1 aspiration for the next 4 or 5 years it would be that I can improve as a writer and just be able to say more of what I want to say throught the music. Its really that simple, I just want to write music and record, if people still come to see me in performance, I’d like that to be special also.

This is to my mind an amazing song, the arrangement, which was done by Lee Holdridge is perfect for the song. The song was written by Randy Newman. Matter of fact, I dropped him a little note after I finished recording it with a copy of an acetate and he sent back that this was his favorite version of the song and I think its my favorite outside song on the album, its called I Think Its Going to Rain Today and it leaves me with goosebumps.

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