Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Bach Creates, Diamond Sings Jonathan L. Seagull

Neil Leslie Diamond

Born: January 24, 1941 
Age: 77

The album with Skybird, Lonely Looking Sky, Odyssey is sung by Neil Diamond. from JONATHAN LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL. 

The Album: 

In 1973 Neil Diamond composed, wrote and recorded on Columbia the soundtrack to the movie, Jonathan Livingston Seagull (image 2). It is from a book by Richard Bach (image 1) and I honestly cannot remember how many times I played the songs from the album. Commercially, the music was more successful than the movie. It was Diamond's first album after an earlier hit, Hot August Night, released in 1972.

The Album Cover
Album Review:

I would like to quote a review by Shawn M. Haney that I edited. It sums up the album adequately. He commented that in the recording Neil Diamond put himself into the shoes of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, writing and singing music, compelling and rich in texture and melody to fit the portrait perfectly for the movie.

As a page, that aches for words
Which speaks on a theme that's timeless
While the Sun God will make for your day
As a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the one God will make for your way..."


Recorded in 1973 for CBS under the pop/rock style genre, Diamond had much help from those around him to make the album a reality. Tom Catalano must be commended for the production and musical direction, Lee Holdridge for conducting and splendid, string arrangements, Armin Steiner for sound engineering and the hundred-plus musicians who rallied to record the soundtrack for overall performance.
The Singer


Though Diamond only sings on a few tracks, he does it so with much grace, smooth flair and enchantment. "Romantic, fresh and lively, this album fits the piece of the puzzle the motion picture needed so perfectly." Tracks include 1. Prologue 2. Be 3. Flight of the Gull 4. Dear Father 5. Sky Bird 6. Lonely Looking Sky 7. Be* 8. Lonely Looking Sky* 9. Dear Father* 10. Anthem 11. Be 12. Skybird 13. Dear Father 14. Be (*These three songs appear as "The Odyssey".)

Movie Comment :

"I saw the movie when it came out, not a human being in it, as I recall. Fascinating, with the wonderful soundtrack composed and largely performed by Diamond with full rich sound, his arrangement is pure pleasure and his voice thundering during the score. This is music to listen to anytime, to sing with, to love. Own it forever." Submitted by a reviewer (Connecticut, U.S.A.)

Book Comment:

Jonathan the seagull learns to fly beyond his highest expectations when he left his friends and becomes an outcast. As a non-conformist, he enjoys his freedom with other gulls that believe as he does. The theme, to listen to our hearts even when it goes the unaccepted ways, is clear. The book was a best seller in the 70s and remains popular today. The author, Richard Bach, is a descendant of composer Johan Sebastian Bach.

The Book Cover

1. "Keep working on love."

2. "The gull sees farthest who flies highest."

3. "If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood..."
Best is to read the book. Won't take 20 minutes, unless you're not much into self-improvement books. I am not but I enjoy this one. The book is 40 years old, and last count sold more than 40 million copies. My!

Original article/Image/Album Info from CD: Andy Lim Collection.
Choice of quotations is my own.

Article extracts:

Copyright: Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
Images: Google.


Lam Chun See said...

I like Neil Diamond, but I have no impression of this album at all. But I enjoyed the book.

Hey, I notice you put up Herman Hermits' I Understand at the side bar. Well done man.

Lam Chun See said...

Last night I was browsing around Youtube and listening to some old Seekers' songs, and stumbled on one called, I am Australian. Wow - what a fantastic song! In the comments section, someone said it should be their national anthem and I quite agree with him. If only someone here can write a song like that for our National Day.

Sorry going off-topic.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Go buy it Chun See. It's what Neil Diamond is all about. One of his best albums really, different from the rest. The album is an original, musical narrative with words and music by him. The CD was released in 1973.

Herman's Hermit is for you.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, but rather than get someone do one from the heart, some chaps in authority would probably have it done so cliched and commercialised that the song would probably turn out (or churned out) as cold, hard and artificial as the stones on Little Guilin Park.

Lam Chun See said...

But isn't that the Singapore Way? Our students score lots of A's in their exams but ...... better leave it at that - I have 3 of them you know. And one of them did pretty well in the just-released IB results. After all, it's not totally their fault. Neither is it the teachers; I should quickly add - I have one of those in my house as well :)

Sorry. Again, I digress.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

When it's done from the heart, the music and lyrics flow naturally, since monetary reward is secondary but when there's a prize at the end, commercialization rears its ugly head. You get stilted lines and poor combines.

How many people in Singapore do things for pleasure without an agenda of a profit at the end? This blog is an example. Everyone tells me there's profit to be made, even if it's a few dollars, so why not introduce advertisements.

My answer is simple. If just one person can benefit from the information I provide, it would make my day. That's my reward.

By the way, would any composer or lyricist write a song like Johnny Cash's 'Five Feet High and Rising' if there's another flood in Singapore? I doubt. Why?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I must thank Chun See for answering and commenting so sincerely on the blog.

How many people really care for heritage and legacies. So it is with music, composed by our local chaps. Nobody bothers to revive them.

I have mentioned in my posting once. When Americans and others welcome the new year at Times Square, we have 60s music people as part of the celebration. When we have ours, the youthful representatives are present but no 60s bands or even local 60s music being played.

I have yet to hear 'Shanty' (Henry Chua), 'Singapore Cowboy' (Matthew Tan), Robert Suriya's and Shirley Nair's songs played on any of our television programmes or orchestrated in our music halls. Why?

We have hundreds of locally composed music from the 60s. They are all collecting dust like the vinyls in the cupboard.

Anonymous said...

In the groove

One of Diamond's best production.

Richard R. said...

This is NEIL Diamond's CLASSIC ALBUM, but sadly, never caught on Big Time on the AIRWAVES..

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you UNKNOWN.
I appreciate your genuine feel for the album.
It is true.
One of his best and he won an EMMY for it.

But it didn't catch on with the public.
I love the songs for their spiritual tone and theme.

FACEBOOK said...

Thanks to

from my posting at:


I like all the lovely songs by Neil Diamond ever since his “Song Sung Blue”


I remember the movie JONATHAN L.S. being shown way back when which I did not catch.

As for Neil Diamond, one must not forget his CRACKLIN ROSE.
I personally love his SEPTEMBER MORN.

As for your blog, I have nothing but utmost respect for you. The fact that there are no advertisements.
There must have been plenty of them knocking on your doors and still knocking.


They sound like GOSPELS.

FACEBOOK said...

Jimbob, Trish, Juliet, and Maung;

Thank you for LIKING this post.
Appreciate there are still folks around who love such music genres.
This album won an EMMY.

fred said...

Absolutely fantastic description of your beautiful memory Brother Andy.

I was moved by listening to this album once again. I was only 16 when this came out, but my siblings used to play it when we were living in Toa Payoh Estate.

Thank you once again for sharing a part of your wonderful soul. I wish you all the best in your Blog and life.

Cheers 😊🙏🏻❤️

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

With the words you use and phrases you compose, the comment can only come from the heart.
Even in music sharing is caring.
Thank you, my friend.