#7 Neil Diamond: Dry Your Eyes 1976.
I read that on Neil Diamond’s recent birthday -January 24th – he had turned 81. It is always a bit of a shock to realize the singers of one’s youth are now octogenarians; and there are quite a number of them still singing and performing. Song and music is such a part of the human DNA that for some folks the fusion between singing and life will only be broken by death itself.
During his 50th anniversary tour in 2018, Diamond announced he would no longer tour or do live concerts; to the disappointment of fans in Australia and New Zealand that section of his tour was cancelled. But old singers never say die and in 2020 Diamond released his Classic Diamonds Album, a remake of some of Diamonds absolute gems with the backing of the London Symphony Orchestra.
So this brings me to the Neil Diamond song I want to write about; Dry Your Eyes. This song was co- written in 1976 by Diamond and Robbie Robertson of The Band and performed by Neil Diamond at the The Band’s final Last Waltz concert in San Francisco in November 1976. The concert was later developed into a documentary of the same title and released in 1978.
Diamond has explained that the lyrics were inspired by the out pouring of grief in America after the April 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jnr. Luther King Jnr’s assassination followed the November 1963 assassination of JFK and preceded the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in June of 1968. Folks in America must have surely felt their nation was in a state of ongoing grief.
Not a politician but a Baptist minister and social activist, Martin Luther King Jnr fought for the end of racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans. Schools still use King’s I Have a Dream speech as a model of persuasive speech.
Back to the song; with its resounding martial rhythm and it’s profound lyrics; Dry Your Eyes is, in my opinion, is a real gem of Diamond’s shining talent. He performed it live again in 2017 after the Manchester bombings. The track appears on The Last Waltz and A Beautiful Noise Album. It is one of the songs Hubby has chosen to be played at his farewell party. Dry your eyes; indeed.
I hope you too will ponder these lyrics and plumb their depths.Dry Your Eyes – YouTube
There are a number of YouTube versions of Dry Your Eyes but I have used the one above from the Beautiful Noise album because I believe it has the most depth.
Dry Your Eyes; Neil Diamond 1976
Dry your eyes, take your song out, It's a newborn afternoon. And if you can't recall the singer, you can still recall the tune, Dry your eyes and play it slowly, like you're marching off to war, Sing it like you know he'd want it, like you sung it once before, And from the center of the circle, to the midst of the waiting crowd, If it ever be forgotten, sing it long and sing it loud, And come dry your eyes.
And he taught us more about giving, than we ever cared to know,
And we came to find the secret, and we’ll never let it go.
And it was more than being holy, but it was less than being free,
And if you can’t recall the reason, can you hear the people sing?
Through the lightening and the thunder, to the dark side of the moon
To that distant falling angel, that descended much too soon
Come dry your eyes
Dry your eyes, take your song out
It’s a newborn afternoon
And if you can’t recall the singer, you can still recall the tune
And come dry your eyes
Come dry your eyes
Dry your eyes
Indeed; Dry Your Eyes.