Neil Diamond on choosing female names for his songs + reuniting with high school classmate Barbra Streisand

Replays Wednesday 10/22 at 12 pm ET, Thursday 10/23 at 9 am ET, Friday 10/24 at 11 pm ET, Saturday 10/25 at 2 pm ET, Sunday 10/26 at 6 pm ET on XM Ch. 13, Sirius Ch. 147, internet-only Ch. 700

Celebrating the release of his brand-new studio album, Melody Road, pop icon Neil Diamond stopped by SiriusXM for a Town Hall special. Hosted by radio legend Cousin Brucie, the Town Hall had Neil taking questions from a small group of audience members. One audience member wanted to know, where does he get the female names for his songs (ex. Sweet Caroline and Cracklin’ Rosie)? And what was it like reuniting with former high school classmate, pop singer and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers collaborator Barbra Streisand?

“I wish there was a great and deep meaning for this, but there isn’t,” said Neil in response to the question about choosing female names. “First of all, it has to fit in the melody right there. ‘Sweet Caroline’ the name, yes, was Caroline Kennedy, but the story was, my wife at the time was Marcia Diamond, and I couldn’t figure out a way to get ‘sweet Marsha’ into the melody of Sweet Caroline. I needed an extra syllable. And Caroline Kennedy’s name came to mind. I remember writing it down years before. [But] the names are just names that work musically.”

Neil also took a minute to say a few kind words about Barbra Streisand, with whom he shares a Brooklyn background (fun fact: they both went to Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush). “We went off in separate directions, and then we came back to see each other years later and became friends,” said Neil. “I think she’s probably the greatest female voice of my generation.”

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