Tobe Hooper

Best known for his work in the horror film genre,the American film director, screenwriter, and producer William Tobe Hooper was born January 25, 1943 in Austin, Texas, the son of Lois Belle (née Crosby) and Norman William Ray Hooper, who owned a theater in San Angelo. He first became interested in filmmaking when he used his father’s 8 mm camera at age 9. Hooper took Radio-Television-Film classes at the University of Texas at Austin and studied drama in Dallas under Baruch Lumet. Hooper spent the 1960s as a college professor and documentary cameraman. His first short film The Heisters (1965) almost made it into the short subject category for an Academy Award, but was not finished in time.

He directed The low budget American horror filmThe Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974. It features Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul A. Partain), who travel with three friends, Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail), and Pam (Teri McMinn), to visit the grave of the Hardestys’ grandfather to investigate reports of vandalism and grave robbing. Afterwards, they decide to visit the old Hardesty family homestead. Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who talks about his family who worked at the old slaughterhouse. He then starts causing trouble so The group eject him and drive on. They stop at a gas station to refuel, but the proprietor (Jim Siedow) tells them that the pumps are empty.

When they arrive at the homestead, Franklin tells Kirk and Pam about a local swimming-hole and the couple head off to find it. They find the swimming-hole dried up but hear a generator running in the distance. They stumble upon a nearby house. So Kirk knocks on the door When he receives no answer he enters through the unlocked door, but soon wishes he hadn’t When he meets Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and meets a gruesome fate at the hands of Leatherface. Pam enters soon after, looking for Kirk but she also regrets it when she too encounters Leatherface and tries unsuccessfully to escape. After a while Jerry becomes increasingly concerned so heads out to look for Pam and Kirk but he also suffers a grisly fate when he encounters Leatherface. With darkness falling, Sally and Franklin also set out to find their friends however Leatherface confronts Franklin with gruesome results. Luckily Sally initially manages to escape Leatherface and flees to the gas station for help however The proprietor ties her up, gags her and drives her back to the house. The hitchhiker also arrives, and Sally finds herself attending a rather Macabre meal attended by Leatherface, The hitchhiker, Grandpa (John Dugan), and his family who all turn out to be cannibals andSally faces a a grisly fate at the hands of Leatherface, Grandpa and his family unless she can escape…

Due to the film’s violent content, Hooper struggled so he limited the quantity of onscreen gore in hopes of securing a PG rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it R. Upon its October 1974 release, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned outright in several countries, and numerous theaters later stopped showing the film in response to complaints about its violence. Tobe Hooper later directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in 1986. The character of Leatherface and minor plot details were inspired by the crimes of real-life murderer Ed Gein and It is credited with originating several elements common in the slasher genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons and the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure.

In 1982, Hooper also directed the enjoyable supernatural horror film Poltergeist. This was based on a story by Steven Spielberg who wrote and produced the film but was making E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at the time and could not direct another movie. Poltergeist features the Freeling family who live a quiet life in Cuesta Verde, Orange County, California where Steven Freeling works as a successful real estate developer while Diane Freeling looks after their children Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne. However one night Carol Anne begins acting strangely and suddenly the Earth tremors and Carol Anne announces “They’re here”. Bizarre events then start occurring: glasses break, silverware bends and furniture moves of its own accord. The phenomena seem benign at first, but quickly becomes terrifying. That night, a gnarled backyard tree grabs Robbie through the bedroom window. While Steven rescues Robbie, Carol Anne is Taken by sinister supernatural forces.

So A group of parapsychologists from UC Irvine — Dr. Lesh, Ryan, and Marty — come to the Freeling house to investigate and discover that the Freelings are experiencing a poltergeist intrusion involving more than just one ghost. Steven then discovers that Cuesta Verde is built on an ancient Native American cemetery, but rather than relocating the whole cemetary The developers just removed the headstones and left the bodies behind. So Lesh and Ryan call in Tangina Barrons, a spiritual medium to try and sort this paranormal nightmare and she states that Carol Anne has been taken by a demon known as the “Beast”. Tangina then discovers that there is an portal to another dimension through the children’s bedroom closet, while the exit is through the living room ceiling. So the group attempts to rescue Carol Anne,

Unsurprisingly the Freelings decide to move and Steven hands in his notice. Sadly though before they can leave Diane, Robbie, and Carol Anne are once again attacked by the Beast. Robbie is attacked by an inanimate clown figure while Diane is seized by an unseen malevolent force which drags her into the swimming pool and attempts to drown her. Elsewhere coffins, skeletons and rotting corpses begin erupting out from the ground in their yard and throughout the neighborhood as more spirits begin coming through the Portal and all hell breaks loose in Cuesta Verde.

Hooper’s first novel, Midnight Movie, was published on Three Rivers Press in 2011 and the supernatural thriller film Djinn premiered at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Tobe Hooper sadly died on August 26, 2017 in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, at the age of 74. Many Filmmakers have been influenced by Hooper including Hideo Nakata, Wes Craven, Rob Zombie,Alexandre Aja, Jack Thomas Smith and Director Ridley Scott who stated that Alien was influenced by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Virginia Woolf

Often considered one of the foremost modernist authors of the 20th century and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device, the Author Virginia Woolf was born 25 January 1882 at 22 Hyde Park Gate in Kensington, London. Woolf was educated by her parents in their literate and well-connected household. Her parents had each been married previously and been widowed, and, consequently, the household contained the children of three marriages. Julia had three children from her first marriage to Herbert Duckworth: George, Stella, and Gerald Duckworth. Leslie had previously been married to Harriet Marian (Minny) Thackeray (1840–1875), the daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray, and they had one daughter: Laura Makepeace Stephen, who was diagnosed as being developementally disabled and lived with the family until she was institutionalised in 1891 Julia and Leslie had four children together: Vanessa Stephen (later known as Vanessa Bell) (1879), Thoby Stephen (1880), Virginia (1882), and Adrian Stephen (1883).

Sir Leslie Stephen’s eminence as an editor, critic, and biographer, and his connection to William Thackeray, meant that his children were raised in an environment filled with the influences of Victorian literary society. Henry James, George Henry Lewes, and Virginia’s honorary godfather, James Russell Lowell, were among the visitors to the house. Julia Stephen was equally well connected. Her aunt was a pioneering early photographer Julia Margaret Cameron who was also a visitor to the Stephen household. Supplementing these influences was the large library at the Stephens’ house, from which Virginia and Vanessa were taught the classics and English literature. As was common at that time, their brothers Adrian and Julian (Thoby) were formally educated and attended the University of Cambridge, a disparity that Virginia noted and condemned in her writing. The sisters did, however, benefit indirectly from their brothers’ University contacts, as they brought their new intellectual friends home to the Stephens’ drawing room.[8] Although Virginia would not attend university, she was tutored in Greek by two women, Clara Pater and Janet Case), whose instruction would influence her later work, especially her 1925 essay “On Not Knowing Greek.

According to Woolf’s memoirs, her most vivid childhood memories were not of London but of St Ives, Cornwall, where the family spent every summer until 1895. The Stephens’ summer home, Talland House, looked out over Porthminster Bay, and is still standing, though somewhat altered. Memories of these family holidays and impressions of the landscape, especially the Godrevy Lighthouse, informed the fiction Woolf wrote in later years, most notably To the Lighthouse. She describes why she felt so connected to Talland House in a diary entry dated 22 March 1921. “Why am I so incredibly and incurably romantic about Cornwall? One’s past, I suppose; I see children running in the garden … The sound of the sea at night … almost forty years of life, all built on that, permeated by that: so much I could never explain.”

The sudden death of her mother in 1895, when Virginia was 13, and that of her half-sister Stella two years later, led to the first of Virginia’s several nervous breakdowns. After her mother and half-sister, she quickly lost her surrogate mother, Stella Duckworth, as well as her cherished brother Thoby, when he was in his mid-20s. Sadly Her Father also died in 1904 and she was so distraught she was briefly institutionalised. She spent time recovering at her friend Violet Dickinson’s house, and at her aunt Caroline’s house in Cambridge. Modern scholars, including her nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell, have suggested her breakdowns and subsequent recurring depressive periods were also influenced by the sexual abuse to which she and her sister Vanessa were subjected by their half-brothers George and Gerald Duckworth (which Woolf recalls in her autobiographical essays A Sketch of the Past and 22 Hyde Park Gate).

She studied Ancient Greek, Latin, German and history at the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London between 1897 and 1901. This brought her into contact with some of the early reformers of women’s higher education such as the principal of the Ladies’ Department, Lilian Faithfull (one of the so-called Steamboat ladies), Clara Pater and George Warren Her sister Vanessa also studied Latin, Italian, art and architecture at King’s Ladies’ Department. In 2013 Woolf was honoured by her alma mater with the opening of a building named after her on Kingsway.

Throughout her life, Woolf continued to suffer alarming mood swings and associated illnesses. She spent three short periods in 1910, 1912 and 1913 at Burley House, 15 Cambridge Park, Twickenham, described as “a private nursing home for women with nervous disorder” Though this instability often affected her social life, her literary productivity continued with few breaks throughout her life. Following the death of their father and Virginia’s second nervous breakdown, Vanessa and Adrian sold 22 Hyde Park Gate and bought a house at 46 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury.

In Bloomsbury Woolf met Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Rupert Brooke, E. M. Forster, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Duncan Grant, Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, David Garnett, and Roger Fry, who together formed the nucleus of the intellectual circle of writers and artists known as the Bloomsbury Group. Several members of the group attained notoriety in 1910 with the Dreadnought hoax, which Virginia participated in disguised as a male Abyssinian royal. In 1907 Vanessa married Clive Bell, and the couple’s interest in avant garde art was an important influence on Woolf’s development as an author.

Virginia married the writer Leonard Woolf in 1912 and in 1937, Woolf wrote in her diary: “Love-making—after 25 years can’t bear to be separate … you see it is enormous pleasure being wanted: a wife. And our marriage so complete.” The two also collaborated professionally, in 1917 founding the Hogarth Press, which subsequently published Virginia’s novels along with works by T. S. Eliot, Laurens van der Post, and others. The Press also commissioned works by contemporary artists, including Dora Carrington and Vanessa Bell.

Woolf believed that to break free of a patriarchal society that women writers needed a “room of their own” to develop and often fantasised about an “Outsider’s Society” where women writers would create a virtual private space for themselves via their writings to develop a feminist critique of society. AlThough Woolf never created the “Outsider’s society”, the Hogarth Press was the closest approximation as the Woolfs chose to publish books by writers that took unconventional points of view to form a reading community. Until 1930, Woolf often helped her husband print the Hogarth books. Both the Woolfs were internationalists and pacifists who believed that promoting understanding between peoples was the best way to avoid another world war and chose quite consciously to publish works by foreign authors of whom the British reading public were unaware The first non-British author to be published was the Soviet writer Maxim Gorky, the book Reminiscences of Leo Nikolaiovich Tolstoy in 1920, dealing with his friendship with Count Leo Tolstoy.

From 1914, Leonard and Virginia Woolf lived at 17 The Green, Richmond; before moving to nearby Hogarth House, Paradise Road in 1915. In 1919, the Woolfs purchased the Round House in Pipe Passage, Lewes. Then bought Monk’s House in nearby Rodmell, which both she and Leonard favoured because of its orchard and garden and sold the Round House. The ethos of the Bloomsbury group encouraged a liberal approach to sexuality, and in 1922 she met the writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, wife of Harold Nicolson. After a tentative start, they began a sexual relationship, which, according to Sackville-West in a letter to her husband dated 17 August 1926, was only twice consummated. However, Virginia’s intimacy with Vita seems to have continued into the early 1930s. Sackville-West worked tirelessly to lift up Woolf’s self-esteem, encouraging her not to view herself as a quasi-reclusive inclined to sickness who should hide herself away from the world, but rather offered praise for her liveliness and sense of wit, her health, her intelligence and achievements as a write Sackville-West encouraged Woolf to have a more positive self-image, and pointed out that her writings were the products of her strengths rather than her weakness.

Woolf had originally believed the diagnosis by her father and his doctor that reading and writing would exacerbate her nervous condition and that a regime of physical labour such as gardening would prevent a total nervous collapse. However Sackville West was the first to argue to Woolf that it was far better to engage in reading and writing to calm her nerves. Under the influence of Sackville-West, Woolf learned to deal with her nervous ailments by switching between various forms of intellectual activities such as reading, writing and book reviews, instead of spending her time in physical activities that sapped her strength and worsened her nerves. Sackville-West chose the financially struggling Hogarth Press as her publisher in order to assist the Woolfs financially. Hogarth published the novel Seducers in Ecuador, followed by the novel The Edwardians. Sackville-West’s novels, though not typical of the Hogarth Press, saved Hogarth, taking them from the red into the black. The financial security allowed by the good sales of Sackville-West’s novels in turn allowed Woolf to engage in more experimental work, such as The Waves, as Woolf had to be cautious when she depended upon Hogarth entirely for her income.

In 1928, Woolf presented Sackville-West with Orlando, a fantastical biography in which the eponymous hero’s life spans three centuries and both sexes. After their affair ended, the two women remained friends until Woolf’s death in 1941. Virginia Woolf also remained close to her surviving siblings, Adrian and Vanessa; Thoby had died of typhoid fever at the age of 26.

After completing the manuscript of her last novel Between the Acts (which was posthumously published), Woolf fell into a depression similar to that which she had earlier experienced. The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz, all worsened her condition until she was unable to work. When Leonard enlisted in the Home Guard, Virginia disapproved. She held fast to her pacifism and criticized her husband for wearing what she considered to be the silly uniform of the Home Guard. After World War II began, Woolf’s diary indicates that she was obsessed with death, until On 28 March 1941, Woolf drowned herself by filling her overcoat pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home. Her body was not found until 18 April. Her husband buried her cremated remains beneath an elm tree in the garden of Monk’s House, their home in Rodmell, Sussex.

The White Road by John Connolly

I would also like to read The White Road. This is the third fast paced thriller in the private-eye Charlie Parker series. It features Charlie Parker a paranormal Private Investigator with quite a past. An insane person he had been hunting down murdered his wife and child. Finally, his life seems to be returning to normal. He is in love with a wonderful woman, and she is expecting to have their child. However he becomes troubled when he receives a call from an attorney, an old friend from down South.

The attorney has put his life on the line to represent a black man in South Carolina who is accused of the brutal rape and murder. of Marianne Larousse, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the state. The case becomes racially complex because the murdered girl was white, and because she was the daughter of the city’s richest person. The attorney needs help with the case. He is confident that his client will not live to see a trial because of the hostile environment, and even if he does, there are no guarantees that the trial will be at all fair.

As Parker investigates further The investigation in South Carolina becomes anything but safe. No one is happy to see him nosing around trying to get a black man off on a rape and murder charge. Life becomes more dangerous for Parker as he gets closer to the truth about the murder victim’s buried secrets which are buried along with an ancient evil

Meanwhile in a prison cell, a fanatical preacher is plotting his revenge on Charlie Parker, its instruments the very men that Parker is hunting, and a strange, hunched creature that keeps its own secrets buried by a riverbank: the undiscovered killer Cyrus Nairn. Soon, all of these figures will face a final reckoning in southern swamps and northern forests, in distant locations linked by a single thread, a place where the paths of the living and the dead converge.A place known only as the White Road and Parker is about to descend into a confrontation with dark forces that threaten all that Parker holds dear: his lover, his unborn child, even his soul. . .

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Having read Angel Flight, The Drop, Darkness more than Night, The Gods of Guilt, The Narrows, Nine Dragons, Lost Light, the Poet, the Lincoln Lawyer, The Burning Room, the Crossing and The Wrong Side of Goodbye I decided to read The Late Show by Michael Connelly. This Fast paced thriller features Renée Ballard a strong-willed and tenacious female detective who Was once and up-and-coming detective, but now works the night shift for the Los Angeles Police Department in Hollywood, after filing a sexual harassment complaint against her former boss, Lt. Robert Olivas. She begins many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives.

However one night she investigates a number of cases she doesn’t want to part with Firstly the case of an elderly woman accused with credit card fraud and Secondly a transgender prostitute, who is brutally beaten and left for dead, and lastly the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting.

So Ballard investigates, with her partner John Jenkins, however she is determined not to give up at dawn. So Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. Then the unthinkable happens a mass shooting followed by the assassination of a cop. Her investigations point to the possibility of a Corrupt policeman working in her midst. As the cases entwine they gradually pull her closer to her own demons, however she is determined not to give up her job no matter what the department throws at her.

Neil Diamond

American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond was born 24 January, 1941  in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family descended from Russian and Polish immigrants. He grew up in Brooklyn, having also spent four years in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where his father was stationed in the army. In Brooklyn he attended Erasmus Hall High School and was a member of the Freshman Chorus and Choral Club along with classmate Barbra Streisand. They were not close friends at the time, Diamond recalls: “We were two poor kids in Brooklyn. We hung out in the front of Erasmus High and smoked cigarettes.” After his family moved he then attended Abraham Lincoln High School, and was a member of the fencing team. For his 16th birthday, he received his first guitar.

When he was 16, and still in high school, Diamond spent a number of weeks at Surprise Lake Camp, 21 a camp for Jewish children in upstate New York, when folk singer Pete Seeger performed a small concert. Seeing the widely recognized singer perform, and watching other children singing songs for Seeger that they wrote themselves, inspired Diamond, who then became aware of the possibility of writing his own songs. “And the next thing, I got a guitar when we got back to Brooklyn, started to take lessons and almost immediately began to write songs,” he said. He adds that his attraction to songwriting was the “first real interest” he had growing up. Diamond also used his newly-developing skill at writing lyrics to write poetry. By writing poems for girls he was attracted to in school, he soon learned it often won their hearts. His male classmates took note and began asking him to write poems for them which they would sing and use with equal success. He spent the summer following his graduation as a waiter in the Catskills resort area. There he first met Jaye Posner, whom he later married.

Diamond attended New York University as a pre-med major on a fencing scholarship. His skill at fencing made him a member of the 1960 NCAA men’s championship team. However, he was often bored in classes, and found writing song lyrics more to his liking. He began cutting classes and taking the train up to Tin Pan Alley, where he tried to get some of his songs heard by local music publishers.By his senior year, and just 10 units short of graduation, Sunbeam Music Publishing offered him a 16-week job writing songs for $50 a week which he accepted. Following his 16 weeks at Sunbeam Music he then began writing and singing his own songs for demo purposes.

Diamond’s first recording contract was billed as “Neil and Jack”, an Everly Brothers-type duo comprising Diamond and high school friend Jack Parker. They recorded two  singles: “You Are My Love at Last” b/w “What Will I Do” and “I’m Afraid” b/w “Till You’ve Tried Love”, both released in 1962. In 1962, Diamond signed with the Columbia Records label as a solo performer. Columbia released the single “At Night” b/w “Clown Town” in 1963. Sadly Columbia dropped him from their label and he was back to writing songs, in and out of publishing houses for the next seven years.He did songwriting wherever he could, including on buses, and used an upright piano above the Birdland Club in New York City. Among the songs he wrote were “Cherry, Cherry” and “Solitary Man”. “Solitary Man”. This was the first record that Diamond recorded in his own name that made the charts. It remains one of his personal all-time favorites, as it was autobiographical about his early years as a songwriter,

Diamond spent his early career as a songwriter in the Brill Building. His first success as a songwriter came in  1965, with “Sunday and Me”, a Top 20 hit for Jay and the Americans. Greater success as a writer followed with “I’m a Believer”, “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You”, “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)”, and “Love to Love”, all performed by the Monkees. Diamond wrote and recorded the songs for himself, but the cover versions were released before his own, consequently Diamond began to gain fame not only as a singer and performer, but also as a songwriter. “I’m a Believer” became a gold record within two days of its release, and stayed at the top of the charts for seven weeks, making it the Popular Music Song of the Year in 1966. Other notable artists who recorded his early songs were the English hard-rock band Deep Purple, Lulu, Cliff Richard Elvis Presley (who sang “And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind” and “Sweet Caroline”) and Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere & the Raiders. In 1966, Diamond signed a deal with Bert Berns’s Bang Records, then a subsidiary of Atlantic and released the songs”Solitary Man”, “Cherry, Cherry” and “Kentucky Woman”. His early concerts saw him as a “special guest” for many bands including The Who and Herman’s Hermits  As a guest performer with The Who, he was shocked to see Pete Townshend destroy his guitar

Eventually Diamond wanted to record more ambitious, introspective music, like his autobiographical “Brooklyn Roads” and was no longer satisfied writing simple pop songs, so he wrote “Shilo”, which was not about the Civil War, but rather an imaginary childhood friend which is on the LP “Just for You”. Dissatisfied Diamond then tried to sign with another record label after discovering a loophole in his contract, but the result was a series of lawsuits that coincided with a slump in his record sales and professional success. However in 1977, he triumphed in court and purchased the rights to his Bang-era master tapes. In 1968, Diamond signed with Uni Records (named after Universal Pictures, whose owner, MCA Inc) later consolidated its labels into MCA Records (now called Universal Records). His debut album for Uni was Velvet Gloves and Spit, followed by Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show. In 1969, he moved to Los Angeles. After “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” in 1969, his sound mellowed, with such songs as “Sweet Caroline” (1969), “Holly Holy” (1969), “Cracklin’ Rosie” (1970), “Song Sung Blue” (1972) and “I Am…I Said” In 1971, Diamond played 7 sold-out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. backed by a 35-piece string orchestra and six backing singers. In 1972, he played ten more shows at the Greek which Diamond describes as very special and sought to really knock ’em dead in L.A.” The performance  was recorded and released as the live double album Hot August Night. This album demonstrates Diamond’s skills as a performer and showman and Many consider it to be Neil Diamonds best work. In 1972, Diamond performed for 20 consecutive nights at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City. The last occasion when that historical theater had staged any one-man shows had been when Al Jolson had performed there in the 1920s and the 1930s. The small (approximately 1,600-seat) Broadway venue provided an intimate concert setting not common at the time, with every performance reportedly sold out. It also made Diamond the first rock-era star to headline on Broadway.

After the Winter Garden shows, however, Diamond announced that he needed a break, and he engaged in no more live performances till 1976. He used those four years to work on the score for Hall Bartlett’s film version of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and to record two albums, Serenade and Beautiful Noise. In 1973, Diamond released the soundtrack to Hall Bartlett’s film version of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. the soundtrack was a success. Diamond also garnered a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture. In 1976 Diamond embarked on an Australian tour, “The ‘Thank You Australia’ Concert”, He also again appeared at the Greek Theater in a 1976 concert, Love at the Greek. An album and naccompanying video/DVD of the show includes a version of “Song Sung Blue” with duets with Helen Reddy and Henry Winkler, a.k.a. Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli of Happy Days. In 1974, Diamond released the album Serenade, containing the singles “Longfellow Serenade” and “I’ve Been This Way Before”he also appeared on a TV special for Shirley Bassey and sang a duet. In 1976, he released the album Beautiful Noise.On Thanksgiving night, 1976, Diamond made an appearance at The Band’s farewell concert, The Last Waltz, performing “Dry Your Eyes”, which he had written and composed jointly with Robbie Robertson, and which had appeared on Beautiful Noise. He also joined the rest of the performers onstage at the end in a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”. In 1976 Diamond oerformed at the the Alladin Hotel in Las Vegas to open their Theatre for Performing Arts. Which Many famous people attended including Elizabeth Taylor and Chevy Chase. He also performed at Woburn Abbey in 1977. In 1977, Diamond released I’m Glad You’re Here With Me Tonight, including “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, On which he collaborated with Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. Barbra Streisand covered the song on her Songbird album, and later, a Diamond-Streisand duet, was recorded Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand also performed the duet at the Grammy awards ceremony in 1980. His last 1970s album was September Morn, which included a new version of “I’m a Believer”. It and “Red Red Wine”  In 1979, Diamond released “Forever in Blue Jeans”, co-written and jointly composed with his guitarist, Richard Bennett,

Sadly In 1979, Diamond collapsed on stage in San Francisco and was taken to the hospital where he endured a twelve-hour operation to remove what turned out to be a tumor on his spine. He underwent a long rehabilitation process just prior to beginning principal photography for his film The Jazz Singer (1980). A planned film version of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” to star Diamond and Streisand fell through when Diamond instead starred in a 1980 remake of the Al Jolson classic The Jazz Singer alongside Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz. the soundtrack spawned three Top 10 singles, “Love on the Rocks”, “Hello Again”, and “America” which was an Autobiographical song about his Grandparents. It became a huge hit when National news shows played it when the the Iran hostage crisis ended; it was also played during the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty; and at the tribute to Martin Luther King and the Vietnam Vets Welcome Home concert. At the time, a national poll found the song to be the number-one most recognized song about America, more than “God Bless America”.It also became the anthem of his world tour two weeks after the attacks on America on September 11, 2001, when he changed the lyric at the end from; “They’re coming to America”, to “Stand up for America!” He also performed it after a request from former heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali. After appearing in The Jazz Singer Diamond became the first-ever winner of a Worst Actor Razzie Award, even though he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the same role.  Diamond’s next song, “Heartlight”, was inspired by the blockbuster 1982 movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Sadly Diamond’s record sales slumped somewhat in the 1980s and 1990s, his last single to make the Billboard’s Pop Singles chart coming in 1986. However, his concert tours continued to be big draws. Billboard magazine ranked Diamond as the most profitable solo performer of 1986.He released his 17th studio album in 1986, Headed for the Future. he also starred in Hello Again, his first television special in nine years, where he performed comedy sketches and sang a duo medley with Carol Burnett. In 1987, Diamond sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl. His “America” became the theme song for the Michael Dukakis 1988 presidential campaign.  UB40 also released a reggae interpretation of Diamond’s ballad “Red Red Wine”. During the 1990s, Diamond produced six studio albums. He covered many classics from the movies and from famous Brill Building-era songwriters. He also released two Christmas albums. In 1992, he performed for President George H.W. Bush’s final Christmas in Washington NBC special. In 1993, Diamond opened the Mark of the Quad Cities (now the iWireless Center).

The 1990s also saw a resurgence in Diamond’s popularity. “Sweet Caroline” became a popular sing-along at sporting events, where it came to be played to entertain and energize the fans and the teams. It saw usage for Boston College football and basketball games. College sporting events in other states would also play it, it was also played duringa Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament a football match in Northern Ireland and it became the theme song for Red Sox Nation, the fans of the Boston Red Sox. The New York Rangers also adapted it as their own, and would play it whenever winning at the end of the 3rd period of their games. The Pitt Panthers football team would also play it after the third quarter of all home games, with the crowd cheering, “Let’s go Pitt”. The Carolina Panthers would play it at the end of each home game whenever they would win. The Davidson College pep band would likewise play it at every Davidson Wildcats men’s basketball home game, in the second half.

In 2005 Diamond released A stripped-down-to-basics album, 12 Songs, produced by Rick Rubin, in two editions: a standard 12-song release, and a special edition with two bonus tracks, including one featuring backing vocals by Brian Wilson. In 2007, Diamond was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. in 2008, it was announced on the television show American Idol that Diamond would be a guest mentor to the remaining Idol contestants, who would be singing Diamond songs and Diamond Sang,  “Pretty Amazing Grace”, from his 2008 album Home Before Dark. in 2008 Diamond made a surprise announcement in a big-screen broadcast at Fenway Park, that he would be appearing there “live in concert” as part of his world tour. Diamond appeared on the roof of the Jimmy Kimmel building to sing “Sweet Caroline” after Kimmel was jokingly arrested trying to sing the song dressed up as a Diamond impersonator. In June 2008, Diamond performed at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England on the Concert of a Lifetime Tour. His entire four-night run at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2008 was recorded and released on DVD. Diamond performed at Ohio State University while suffering from laryngitis.

In 2009 Diamond was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year prior to the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. He also released A Cherry Cherry Christmas, his third album of holiday music. In 2010, Diamond released the album Dreams, a collection of 14 interpretations of his favorite songs by artists from the rock era. The album included “I’m a Believer”and, “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Diamond sang on NBC’s The Sing-Off with Committed and Street Corner Symphony, two a cappella groups featured on the show. In 2011 Neil Diamond released The Very Best of Neil Diamond, a compilation CD of Diamond’s 23 studio recordings from the Bang, UNI/MCA, & Columbia catalogs. Diamond was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and received a lifetime achievement award from the Kennedy Center at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors. In 2012 Diamond received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And topped the bill in the centenary edition of the Royal Variety Performance in the UK and also appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. in 2013, Diamond performed at Fenway Park to sing “Sweet Caroline” during the 8th inning. It was the first game at Fenway since the bombings at the Boston Marathon. He also released the single “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down)”, with 100% of the purchase price benefiting One Fund Boston and the Wounded Warrior Project.  Sporting a beard, Diamond performed live on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol as part of A Capitol Fourth. In 2014 Diamond released his latest greatest hits compilations, All-Time Greatest Hits, his next album, Melody Road, was Also released in 2014 and was produced by Don Was and Jacknife Lee. Diamond also performed a surprise concert at his alma mater, Erasmus High School in Brooklyn. He also announced a 2015 “Melody Road” World Tour. The North American leg of the World Tour 2015 started in Allentown, PA at the PPL Center on February 27 and ended at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado During which Diamond made extensive use of social media platforms and streamed several shows live on Periscope and showing tweets from fans who used the hashtag #tweetcaroline on two large screens this proved to be an innovative way to widen his fan base

In 2016, Diamond released Acoustic Christmas, a folk-inspired Christmas album of original songs as well as acoustic versions of holiday classics with a handful of musicians, sitting around a circle of microphones, wires and, of course, Christmas lights.” In March 2017, Neil Diamond released the career-spanning anthology, Neil Diamond 50 – 50th Anniversary Collection, And began the 50 Year Anniversary World Tour in Fresno, California, in April.  On January 22, 2018, Diamond announced that he would immediately retire from touring due to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.Tour dates on the final leg of Diamond’s “50 Year Anniversary World Tour” in Australia and New Zealand were cancelled. however the cancellation of the live performances would allow Diamond to “continue his writing, recording and development of new projects.”

In the 2001 comedy film Saving Silverman, the main characters play in a Diamond cover band, and Diamond made an extended cameo appearance as himself. Diamond even wrote and composed a new song, “I Believe in Happy Endings”, especially for the film. During this period, comedian/comedy actor Will Ferrell did a recurring Diamond impersonation on Saturday Night Live, with Diamond himself appearing alongside Ferrell on Ferrell’s final show as a “Not Ready For Prime Time Player” in May 2002.

In 2008, Diamond gave filmmaker Greg Kohs permission to use his songs in a documentary. Kohs, a director from Philadelphia, had met a popular Milwaukee, Wisconsin, duo, Lightning & Thunder, composed of Mike Sardina, who did a Diamond impersonation, and his wife Claire. Kohs followed them for eight years and produced the film Song Sung Blue, Diamond granted Kohs permission to use his songs. The movie was sent to the singer in January 2008, at the recommendation of Eddie Vedder, a supporter of the film and of the duo. Though Sardina had died in 2006, Diamond invited his widow and her family to be his front-row guests at his show in Milwaukee, where he told them he was moved by the film.

As of 2001, Diamond had sold over 115 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. He is considered to be the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton John. His songs have been covered internationally by many performers from various musical genres. Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, he received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and in 2011 was an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors. He has eight number one hit singles with “Cracklin Rosie”, “Song Sung Blue”, “Desiree”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “Love On The Rocks“, “America”, “Yesterday’s Songs”, and “Heartlight”. In addition he also has many other well known songs including Forever in Blue Jeans and Sweet Caroline,

Burns Night

Burns night is celebrated annually on 25 January to mark the birth of Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns who was also known as Rabbie Burns or the Bard of Ayrshire and is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. He was born 25 January 1759 two miles (3 km) south of Ayr, in Alloway in a house built by his father (now the Burns Cottage Museum). In Easter 1766, when Robert was seven years old he moved to the 70-acre Mount Oliphant farm, southeast of Alloway where he grew up in poverty and hardship. He had little regular schooling and got much of his education from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history He was also taught by John Murdoch (1747–1824), who opened an “adventure school” in Alloway in 1763 and taught Latin, French, and mathematics from 1765 to 1768.

After a few years of home education, Burns was sent to Dalrymple Parish School during the summer of 1772 before returning at harvest time to full-time farm labouring until 1773, when he was sent to lodge with Murdoch for three weeks to study grammar, French, and Latin. At 15, Burns became the principal labourer at Mount Oliphant. During the harvest of 1774, he was assisted by Nelly Kilpatrick (1759–1820), who inspired his first attempt at poetry, “O, Once I Lov’d A Bonnie Lass”. In the summer of 1775, he was sent to finish his education with a tutor at Kirkoswald, where he met Peggy Thompson (b.1762), to whom he wrote two songs, “Now Westlin’ Winds” and “I Dream’d I Lay”.

In 1777, he moved to a farm at Lochlea, near Tarbolton, where they stayed until William Burnes’ death in 1784. Whilst living in Tarbolton Robert joined a country dancing school in 1779 and, with Gilbert, formed the Tarbolton Bachelors’ Club in 1780 and In 1781 Robert Burns was initiated into masonic Lodge St David, Tarbolton. In December 1781, Burns moved to Irvine to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the workers’ celebrations for New Year 1781/1782 the Flax mill caught fire. In 1780 Robert and Gilbert moved to the farm at Mossgiel, near Mauchline, in March. In 1784 Burns met The Belles of Mauchline, one of whom was Jean Armour, the daughter of a stonemason from Mauchline. Robert Burns also had manyLove affairs His first child, Elizabeth Paton Burns, was born to his mother’s servant, Elizabeth Paton. Jean Armour, also became pregnant with twins in March 1786 while Burns was with Paton. Although Armour’s father initially forbade it, they were eventually married in 1788. Armour bore him nine children, only three of whom survived infancy.

Sadly Burns Farm was always in financial difficulties, So in 1786 he took up a friend’s offer of work as a Bookmaker on a slave plantation in Jamaica which prompted him to write The Slave’s Lament” six years later. At about the same time, Burns fell in love with Mary Campbell whom he met in Tarbolton. He dedicated the poems “The Highland Lassie O”, “Highland Mary”, and “To Mary in Heaven” and the song “Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia’s shore?” Unfortunately In 1786, Mary’s brother fell ill with typhus, which Mary caught. She died of typhus on 20 or 21 October 1786 and was buried there. Burns’ friend Gavin Hamilton suggested that Burnsshould “publish his poems in order to raise the money for passage to Jamaica and Scotch Poems was published by a printer in Kilmarnock in 1786. John Wilson also published the volume of works by Robert Burns, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect. (the Kilmarnock Volume) which included the poems “The Twa Dogs”, “Address to the Deil”, “Halloween”, “The Cotter’s Saturday Night”, “To a Mouse”, “Epitaph for James Smith”, and “To a Mountain Daisy”. Jean Armour gave birth to twins soon after

Soon after this his friend Dr. Thomas Blacklock suggested Robert write an enlarged second edition of the Kilmarnock Volume. So On 27 November 1786 Burns set off for Edinburgh and the first Edinburgh edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect was published on 1787. Burns then sold his copyright for 100 guineas and Alexander Nasmyth was commissioned to paint the oval bust-length portrait now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which was engraved to provide a frontispiece for the book. In Edinburgh, he was received as an equal by the poets Dugald Stewart, Robertson, Blair and Walter Scott —and was a guest at aristocratic gatherings, where he bore himself with unaffected dignity. He also published a new edition of his poems and also became friends with Lord Glencairn, and Frances Anna Dunlop who sponsored him. In Edinburgh He embarked on a relationship with the separated Agnes “Nancy” McLehose then had an affair with Jenny Clow, Nancy’s domestic servant, who bore him a son, Robert Burns Clow, and also had an affair with a servant girl, Margaret “May” Cameron.

In 1787, he met James Johnson, a struggling music engraver and music seller with a love of old Scots songs and a determination to preserve them. Burns shared this interest and became an enthusiastic contributor to The Scots Musical Museum. The first volume was published in 1787 and included three songs by Burns. He contributed 40 songs to volume two, and he ended up responsible for about a third of the 600 songs in the whole collection. In 1789 he returned from Edimburgh and resumed his relationship with Jean Armour and took a lease on Ellisland Farm, Dumfriesshire. He also trained as a gauger or exciseman and was appointed to duties in Customs and Excise in 1789 and in 1790 he wrote the poem “Tam O’ Shanter” and in 1792 he became a member of the Royal Company of Archers before moving to Dumfries. He was then requested to write lyrics for The Melodies of Scotland, and responded by contributing over 100 songs. He also made major contributions to George Thomson’s A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice as well as to James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum. Thomson also commissioned arrangements of “Scottish, Welsh and Irish Airs” by such eminent composers of the day as Franz Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, with new lyrics.Burns also worked to collect and preserve Scottish folk songs, sometimes revising, expanding, and adapting them. One of the better known of these collections is The Merry Muses of Caledonia (the title is not Burns’s), a collection of bawdy lyrics that were popular in the music halls of Scotland as late as the 20th century. Many of Burns’s most famous poems are songs with the music based upon older traditional songs. For example, “Auld Lang Syne” is set to the traditional tune “Can Ye Labour Lea”, “A Red, Red Rose” is set to the tune of “Major Graham” and “The Battle of Sherramuir” is set to the “Cameronian Rant”

Despite being hugely popular he had alienated many of his best friends by expressing sympathy with the French Revolution and unpopular advocates of reform at home. His political views also came to the notice of his employers and in an attempt to prove his loyalty to the Crown, Burns joined the Royal Dumfries Volunteers in 1795. Unfortunately his health began to deteriorate due to a possible rheumatic heart condition and On the morning of 21 July 1796, Burns died in Dumfries, at the age of 37. The funeral took place on Monday 25 July 1796, the day that his son Maxwell was born. He was at first buried in the far corner of St. Michael’s Churchyard in Dumfries; a simple “slab of freestone” was erected as his gravestone by Jean Armour, which some felt insulting to his memory. His body was moved to the Burns Mausoleum, in September 1817 and The body of his widow Jean Armour was buried with his in 1834. Burns was posthumously given the freedom of the town of Dumfries, and was also made an Honorary Burgess of Dumfries.