Happy Birthday Neil Diamond

Did you know the iconic song “America” has Jewish roots? Neil Diamond told Parade Magazine that the song is the story of his grandparents coming to America with a dream of freedom. “My grandmother, ‘Bubbe Molly,’ came to America in steerage… when she was 12, escaping Jewish oppression in Russia. My other grandparents had similar stories. It’s a musical expression of being free.”

Diamond was born in Brooklyn on January 24, 1941, to a Jewish family. All four of his grandparents were immigrants. His father’s family was Polish, and his mother’s family was Russian. Diamond attended a Jewish summer camp in Upstate New York, where he saw a performance that inspired him to start writing his own music. At 16, he received a guitar for his birthday and wrote his first song.

In 2011, Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fellow Jewish artist Paul Simon said, “He was known as the Jewish Elvis Presley. In fact, in many synagogues across the country, Elvis was considered a bogus Neil Diamond.”

Today, he celebrates his 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday to one of the best-selling musicians of all time.