Entertainment behind the scenes
Grammy weekend kicks off with Neil Diamond tribute
The celebrity-studded gathering of 2,200 people at the L.A. Convention Center honored Diamond, 68, for his philanthropy, including large donations to relief efforts for Texas areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike.
Diamond thanked his children and grandchildren who forgave him for often leaving home to tour and work on “my little musical creations.” The singer-songwriter also thanked his mother for setting him on his musical path, getting him a guitar as a kid in Brooklyn
“When the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn, I was so depressed, my parents bought a guitar and paid it off $1 a week, for 10 weeks. It was a good investment, Mom. You made a life for me,” he said.
Hudson’s moving rendition of “Holly Holy” and Coldplay’s smooth version of Diamond’s “I’m A Believer,” made famous by the Monkees were among the highlighted performances showcasing Diamond’s 50-year body of work. The Jonas Brothers kicked off the show with “Forever in Blue Jeans.”
Host Jimmy Kimmel called Diamond “one of the few Jews who looks good in sequins” riffing on Diamond’s penchant for sparkly clothes during the 1970s.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said he told Diamond, “welcome to your bar mitzvah” upon greeting him on Friday night and then wound up buying the singer/songwriter’s donated 1956 Thunderbird convertible at a live auction with a bid of $75,000. Portnow and Diamond said they planned to take a ride together.