Together, they’ve sold more than 500 million records, and now, Elton John and Neil Diamond are both quitting touring. The legends are both going out in different ways, for different reasons, but will continue to record as the mood strikes.
John said he wanted to retire because his priorities have drastically changed. He now has two children with his husband David Furnish. Zachary is 7 and Elijah is 5. “Ten years ago, if you’d have said I’d be sitting in this house with two children and married to my husband, no, I’d have said you’d have put acid in my drink. And boy, has it been the best decision I ever made in my life.”
He said that he never tires of his greatest hits, many of which have been written with Bernie Taupin. “And even in ‘Your Song,’ I mean I never get fed up with that. It’s the most beautiful love song. Now I sing it and I’m thinking about David or I’m thinking about my boys.”
John, who was knighted by the Queen of England, says his family changed the way he views the world. “They just put everything in perspective. So, I mean, it’s lead to me looking at what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. And in the end I will stop.”
He will go out with a very long three-year tour, after which he intends to retire to watch his kids grow up. However, if Taupin brings him some great songs, the option to record another album is still there.
Neil Diamond is not exactly going out the way he wanted to. The singer planned an ambitious 50th anniversary tour for later this year, but he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, abruptly ending his plans. Diamond, who was given a Lifetime Achievement Grammy this year, said “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring.”
Back in 2014, Diamond explained that touring was not just a matter of wanting to do it; he needed the catharsis of life on the road.
“I have to, because if I want to maintain any self … I don’t know why I have to. It’s a joyful experience for me. When you get on stage and you’re up there alone with your audience, it’s a perfect couple.”
Like John, he said his relationship with music and the fans has never faded. “It has not faded for me,” Diamond said. “It’s fearsome and it’s scary and joyful and delicious all at the same time.”
Diamond’s first hit was in 1966 with “Cherry Cherry.” Then the hits just kept on coming. His famous song “Sweet Caroline” was written in one short hour, in a chord (A-6th) that Diamond had never even dabbled in.
Never content to just give up, Diamond is considering undergoing an experimental procedure, known as deep brain stimulation, to save his career. Michael J. Fox had the procedure and benefitted from it. Diamond is said to have been inspired by Fox, whose Foundation has spurred major breakthroughs in Parkinson’s treatment. He knows that at age 77, the disease could progress quickly, so he is committed to the procedure.
It is likely that music hasn’t heard the last of Sir Elton John and Neil Diamond.