In a 2012 performance at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre, Neil Diamond introduced his immigrant anthem, “America,” by paying tribute to his grandmother who emigrated to the United States from Russia in the early 1900s. “She and her daughter, Rose, inspired me to achieve everything that I’ve achieved in my life,” Diamond said that night, holding a photo of her to the crowd. “Her courage will never be forgotten.”
The Brooklyn-born singer then dramatically paced the stage as he sang about the hope immigrants feel when they arrive in the United States as the song’s catchy chimes ring out and his backup vocalists sing out, “today.” “America” came out in 1980 on the soundtrack to The Jazz Singer. It became a hit for Diamond the following year and made it up to Number 8 on the Hot 100.
The song will feature on the upcoming double-disc set, Hot August Night III, out on August 17th. The collection is the third sequel to Diamond’s landmark 1972 double-disc set, Hot August Night, which featured a hit version of “Cherry, Cherry” culled from a series of 10 concerts at L.A.’s Greek Theatre. He followed it up in 1987 with Hot August Night II and again in 2009 with Hot August Night: Live From Madison Square Garden. This edition of Hot August Night will be available as either a standard two-CD set or a deluxe edition with a concert film culled from his 2012 Greek shows.
Rolling Stone reviewed one of the gigs and remarked on how fans seemed to get swept away by it. “At the end of two hours came Diamond’s biggest signature songs, including a stretched-out ‘Sweet Caroline,’ which brought the crowd to its feet,” the review said. “‘I Am I Said,’ his most eccentric and distinctive hit, had fans singing along and sometimes a step ahead, anxiously anticipating the next lyric.”
Earlier this year, Diamond announced that he would be retiring from touring following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and he canceled a run of dates he’d planned for Australia and New Zealand. “I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come,” he said. “My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”