Ahmet Zappa’s ‘Rocktails’ Podcast Discusses All Things Neil Diamond

Zappa and his crew discuss Diamond’s songwriting, cover songs, and his prowess as a live performer.

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Neil Diamond - Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images
Neil Diamond - Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

In a crowded podcast landscape, few hosts have the kind of insider access as Ahmet Zappa. The musician, YA novelist, screenwriter, producer, and son of Frank (he’s also the executor of the Zappa Family Trust) hosts his weekly show Rocktails, with his co-hosts Brendan Smith and Richard Scheltinga as they discuss music with friends.

Shop the best of Neil Diamond’s discography on vinyl and more.

The show, as described by the hosts, “…is all about having unfiltered conversations about my favorite thing to talk about—music — because music is the best.”

Formerly exclusive to SiriusXM, the show is now available on all major podcast streaming platforms, and broadcasts live at 5 pm PST each week.

Last week, Rocktails took an in-depth look at Neil Diamond. As Zappa explains, he wants callers to, “Tell us your favorite Neil Diamond cover or song that he wrote that someone else made famous.”

Says co-host Brendan Smith, “He’s had 10 No.1 singles, including ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ and ‘Song Sung Blue.’ He was also nominated for 13 Grammy Awards.”

Celebrating Neil Diamond

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They also discussed the lone Grammy Diamond won, which was for his soundtrack for Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Says Zappa, “As a kid, you’re not like, ‘Oh. Jonathan Livingston Seagull.’ That wasn’t the draw. The draw was Neil Diamond. And then now, as an adult, you go back and read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and you’re like, ‘Oh, my god. It’s one of the greatest books of all time.’ If you guys haven’t read it, they did an updated edition not that long ago. Love it. Love the spirituality. Love it all.”

Zappa also paid tribute to Diamond’s prowess as a live performer, saying, “Aside from being a great songwriter and the music, the actual recordings…what a performer.”

Smith also pointed out how Diamond is more respected now than he was at the peak of his powers, saying,“I think he was a singer-songwriter primarily at the get-go, but then he started to have his own hits. He was a Brill Building writer.”

Listen to Rocktails’ episode on Neil Diamond.

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