Thursday, October 24, 2013

40 Year Itch: By the Wings of Dreams

On October 24, 1973 the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull made its world premiere at the Sutton Theater in New York City. Based on the best selling spiritual novella by Richard Bach, the movie managed to become a box office flop and a disappointment to critics. (Roger Ebert wrote "This has got to be the biggest pseudo-cultural, would-be metaphysical ripoff of the year" while The New Yorker's Frank Rich called it "Strictly for the birds").

That didn't seem to have any impact on the soundtrack album by Neil Diamond. His first release for Columbia Records went double platinum in the US where it peaked at #2 on the LP charts and grossed $12 million ( or nearly 12 times what the movie made). The soundtrack won Best Original Score at the Golden Globes Awards and a Grammy. 

   For Diamond, the story of a loner bird seeking his own path had a special appeal. He had also been promised 48 minutes of music would be used in the film. When that didn't happen, Diamond sued the director and stated he wouldn't have anything else to do with movies unless he had complete control.

   Even so, Diamond would soon be be seriously considering starring opposite Barbara Streisand in the remake of  A Star is Born. He eventually passed on the role which went to Kris Kristoffersen.

     That said, forty years later, I find the soundtrack album preachy and overwrought. What does that mean? It means there are people who can't listen to any of these songs with dissolving into a puddle of tears.

The mp3 is from Robert Forster (Go Betweens) whose album of covers, I Had a New York Girlfriend, has both a song called "Bird" ( apt) and a Neil Diamond cover ( Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow). It is up for just a week.


  1. That would be A Star is Born.......... he then went on to star in The Jazz Singer