Tuesday, 15 March 2016

I Am Lenny

Wikipedia tells me that Neil Diamond’s I Am, I Said is 45 years old today, released as a 7” single on March 15th 1971. Other discographies place the release at the end of March or the beginning of April, but either way I was thinking about the song recently, and the interesting story of its origin. Neil was in Los Angeles in 1970 filming a screen test for a proposed biopic of Lenny Bruce and unhappy with his performance was thrown into an existential funk which led to his writing I Am, I Said... I hasten to add that the film Neil auditioned for was not the Bob Fosse-Dustin Hoffman picture but an earlier production which didn’t came to fruition, nevertheless I Am, I Said is irrevocably tied, at least in my mind, to Lenny (the film), so much so I’ve deliberately chosen the image below for its stylistic similarities to b/w stills of Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce. I must admit I never thought much about the song until I discovered this bit of subtext, and since then I’ve grown fond of it…


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