His singalong song has become a modern-day sporting anthem but there is more to Neil Diamond than Sweet Caroline.
A touring show highlighting the many hits penned and performed by the American music legend is heading to Sheringham Little Theatre this spring.
And the Norfolk man singing the star’s songs has a school detention to thank for his love of Diamond, who recently celebrated his 83rd birthday.
Stephen Amer of Toft Monks near Beccles said: “I was given a school detention when I was 13 or 14 and the teacher put on the Jazz Singer soundtrack as some background.
“It wasn’t cool for a teenager to like Neil Diamond, so it could be regarded as punishment but I loved it – not just the music but the story about a rebel wanting to do something against his father’s wishes.”
During the past 13 years as a professional singer and choir leader Stephen has sung Neil’s hits, but has also dug into Diamond’s background and turned the songs – and stories behind them – into a show called Song Sung Blue after one of his chart successes.
Stephen will sing hits such as Cracklin’ Rose, I Am I Said, Beautiful Noise, Forever in Blue Jeans, Holly Holy, and Cherry Cherry along with Love on the Rocks – from the Jazz Singer.
He will also perform songs Diamond wrote for others such as I’m a Believer, penned for the Monkees, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers by Barbra Streisand – along with Red Red Wine, which later became a hit for UB40.
“Neil was one of the first acts who were a complete singer-songwriter act and was one of the biggest artists through the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
“He earns around $500,000 a year with royalties on Sweet Caroline, but there’s more to him than that. His fans come to our shows, but other people who don’t know about Neil learn about with him
and his songs.”
Stephen also sings swing and big band music, and a doo wop quartet. He leads the Roque Shanty Buoys and a community interest company The Voice cLoud which promotes the positive impact of creative arts across society including in health and social care. He will be supported in the show by singer Charlotte Moore.
Song Sung Blue is at the Little Theatre on Saturday April 20 at 7.30pm. Tickets (£15) available to friends from February 5 or for general sale from February 9.