Artist retired from touring in 2018 when he announced he learned he had the disease
Neil Diamond is only just accepting his Parkinson’s diagnosis. The singer-songwriter, who is 82, first announced his diagnosis and that he would be retiring from touring in 2018. But in a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning that will air this weekend, Diamond admitted he spent the two years after his doctor informed him of his diagnosis in complete denial.
Diamond said he only started to process that he had Parkinson’s “in the last few weeks.”
“Somehow, a calm has moved [into] the hurricane of my life,” he said, “and things have gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio. And I like it. I find that I like myself better. I’m easier on people. I’m easier on myself. And the beat goes on, and it will go on long after I’m gone.” The artist said he’s learning “to make the best of it.”
In the interview, Diamond also commented on A Beautiful Noise, the Broadway play about his life. “It was all pretty hard,” he said of how he feels about watching actor Will Swenson portray him. “I was a little embarrassed. I was flattered, and I was scared.” What scares him, he said, is “being found out … because we all have a façade, and the truth be known to all of ’em. I’m not some big star. I’m just me.”
In 2018, Diamond canceled the Australian and New Zealand tour dates he had planned for his 50th-anniversary tour and immediately retired. “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said in a statement at the time. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.”
Diamond has since made sparse appearances, singing “Sweet Caroline” at a Red Sox game last year and joining the Beautiful Noise cast for a performance of the song in December.