Tuesday, January 13, 2009

America - Neil Diamond

Artist: Neil Diamond
Song: America
Year: 1980
Album: The Jazz Singer

Whoever came up with the idea of remaking the first motion picture to include extended sound should be dragged in front of a firing squad. Whoever is responsible should be put in front of the brick wall that Les Lye used to command the firing squad at the various kids on You Can't Do That On Television. The only genius moves were getting Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier to agree to star in this monstrosity.

In a confusing move, Neil Diamond was up for a Golden Globe and a Razzie for his performance. He won the Razzie. Aside from the sacrilegious way of remaking the story and removing the mother character, the music was outstanding. Neil Diamond always finds a way to make a masterpiece out of the simplest and cheesiest ideas.

This song was on the suggested banned list that came out after September 11, 2001. Why? I don't even really know for sure. I guess because the song involved foreigners coming to America. While the song recalls the awe and glory of the immigrant crossing into a new land to start a new life, I can see where some ignorant people could mistake that for what happened that morning.

Even after the mini controversy, this song has survived. It remains an empowering battle cry for new arrivals to the United States. Plus, it's catchy as all hell! This is still an enduring classic that I turn up and sing along with every time I hear it.

FAR, we've been travelin' in FAR
Without a home, But not without a star
Free, only one can be free
We huddle close, and hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes, They're coming to America
Never looking back again, They're coming to America

Home...though it seems so far away
And we'll travel in the light today,
in the eye of the storm...in the eye of the storm
Home...to a new and a shiny place
Make our beds and we'll say our grace
Freedoms light burning warm, freedoms light burning warm

Everywhere around the world, they're coming to America
Every time that flags unfurled, they're coming to America
Got a dream to take them there, they're coming to America
Got a dream they come to share, they're coming to America

They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America


My country 'tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing (today)

Today, today, today, today, today

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