Solitary Man (song)
Cover to 1970 re-release
|Single by Neil Diamond|
|from the album The Feel of Neil Diamond|
|B-side||"Do It" (1966 release)
"The Time Is Now" (1970 re-release)
|Released||April 4, 1966|
|Producer(s)||Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich|
|Neil Diamond singles chronology|
"Solitary Man" is a 1966 hit song written, composed, and originally recorded and released by Neil Diamond. It has since been covered many times by such artists as Billy Joe Royal, B.J. Thomas, Jay and the Americans, T. G. Sheppard, Gianni Morandi, The Sidewinders, Chris Isaak, Johnny Cash, Johnny Rivers, HIM, Crooked Fingers, Cliff Richard, and Ólöf Arnalds.
- 1 History
- 2 Notable cover versions
- 2.1 T. G. Sheppard version
- 2.2 Gianni Morandi's cover
- 2.3 The Sidewinders's cover
- 2.4 Chris Isaak's cover
- 2.5 Johnny Cash's cover
- 2.6 HIM's cover
- 2.7 Crooked Fingers Cover
- 2.8 Cliff Richard
- 2.9 Skin Flesh & Bones
- 2.10 Tony Carey
- 2.11 Jussi Syren And The Groundbreakers
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Initially released on Bang Records in April of 1966, "Solitary Man" was Diamond's debut single as a recording artist, having already had moderate--but accidental--success as a songwriter for other artists; their versions of the songs he had already written and composed were released before his own versions of them were. By July, the track had become a minor hit rising to #55 on the U.S. pop singles chart. It would then be included on Diamond's first album, The Feel of Neil Diamond, released in August 1966.
While nominally about young romantic failure, lines in the lyrics that read:
- Don't know that I will
- But until I can find me
- I'll be what I am--
- A solitary man...
- Solitary man.
have been closely identified with Diamond himself, as evinced by a 2008 profile in The Daily Telegraph: "This is the Solitary Man depicted on his first hit in 1966: the literate, thoughtful and melodically adventurous composer of songs that cover a vast array of moods and emotions..." Indeed, Diamond himself would tell interviewers in the 2000s, "After four years of Freudian analysis, I realized I had written 'Solitary Man' about myself."
"Solitary Man's" dynamic melody, matched with the melancholic universality of its lyrics, would make the song an attractive target for later interpretations.
After Diamond had renewed commercial success with Uni Records at the end of the decade, Bang Records re-released "Solitary Man" as a single and it reached #21 on the U.S. pop charts in summer 1970.
Diamond originally recorded two versions of the song, as he later did with "Cherry, Cherry." The one of these had his harmonic vocal track on the refrain of the song. The other version was him singing the song alone, without his prerecorded harmony on the track.
On such live albums as Gold: Recorded Live at the Troubadour, Hot August Night and some subsequent recordings, Diamond altered the lyrics to "then you came along" from the original "then Sue came along."
In a 2005 Rolling Stone retrospective, Dan Epstein wrote, "'Solitary Man' remains the most brilliantly efficient song in the Diamond collection. There's not a wasted word or chord in this two-and-a-half minute anthem of heartbreak and self-affirmation, which introduced the melancholy loner persona that he's repeatedly returned to throughout his career."
Notable cover versions
T. G. Sheppard version
|Single by T.G. Sheppard|
|from the album Solitary Man|
|Released||May 29, 1976|
|T.G. Sheppard singles chronology|
Gianni Morandi's cover
In 1966, famous Italian singer Gianni Morandi recorded a cover version titled "Se perdo anche te" ("If I lose you too"). The author of the Italian lyrics was Franco Migliacci, who was Morandi's producer at that time and who, eight years before, had written the lyrics to Domenico Modugno's international hit "Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)."
This song was arranged by Ennio Morricone, who at that time conducted many tunes published by the Italian RCA Victor, and was the B-Side of "C'era un ragazzo che come me amava i Beatles e i Rolling Stones" ("There was a boy who, like me, loved the Beatles and the Rolling Stones"), a song against the Vietnam War.
The Sidewinders's cover
Chris Isaak's cover
|Single by Chris Isaak|
|from the album San Francisco Days|
|Chris Isaak singles chronology|
Johnny Cash's cover
|Song by Johnny Cash from the album American III: Solitary Man|
|Released||October 17, 2000|
|Producer(s)||John Carter Cash, Rick Rubin|
|American III: Solitary Man track listing|
Johnny Cash used "Solitary Man" for the title track of his 3rd album under the American Recordings label: American III: Solitary Man in 2000. The recording received a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. His recording of the song was used in the penultimate episode of Stargate Atlantis, "Vegas" and in the 17th episode of the fifth season of Criminal Minds. In Stargate Atlantis, the song was used twice during the same episode: the first time had the character listening to it on the radio as he drove with a montage going and the second was shortly before the credits when the man apparently died. The recording was also used for the opening credits of the 2010 film Solitary Man, starring Michael Douglas.
by George Jones
|Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance
by Ralph Stanley
|Single by HIM|
|from the album
And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004
|Format||CD single, DVD single,
|Genre||Rock (see HIM's genre)|
|HIM singles chronology|
In 2004, the Finnish band HIM covered "Solitary Man" for their first compilation album, And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004. It was released as a single, and Bam Margera produced a music video created for it.
Finnish and European version
- "Solitary Man" - 3:38
- "Please Don't Let It Go" (Live) - 3:14
- "Join Me in Death" (Live) - 4:59
- "Website extras included as Enhanced CD content"
- "Solitary Man" (Video) - 3:36
- "Right Here in My Arms" (video) - 3:30
- Bam Margera's making of Buried Alive By Love" - 1:58
- Pandora's slideshow - 4:00
- "Your Sweet 666" (Audio-Live 2003) - 4:40
- "Solitary Man"
- "Please Don't Let it Go" (punk rock version - live 2003)
- "Solitary Man"
- (Etched B-side contains no music)
|Chart position (2006)||Peak
|UK Singles Chart7Y6*||9|
Crooked Fingers Cover
Skin Flesh & Bones
Jussi Syren And The Groundbreakers
- William Ruhlmann. "Neil Diamond: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- "Explore: Soft Rock | Top Songs | AllMusic". Web.archive.org. 2011-11-12. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Neil McCormick (2008-03-05). "Neil Diamond: the hurt, the dirt, the shirts". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Pete Paphides (2006-04-07). "I’ll be what I am. A solitary man". The Times. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- Whitburn, Joel (1983). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: 1955 to present. Billboard Publications. ISBN 0-8230-7511-7. p. 88.
- Dan Epstein (2005-11-03). "Neil Diamond's Jewels". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- The Sidewinders; Witchdoctor (Allmusic)
- Skin, Flesh & Bones – Solitary Man
- Last.fm : Only the Young Die Good
- Last.fm : The Boystown Tapes
- Jussi Syren And The Groundbreakers
- Heartagrass - An Acoustic Tribute To HIM