Billy Joel (6) And Neil Diamond (3) Turn SOTC's March Madness Into A Songwriter's Battlefield

roundof32_billyneil.jpg
​Sound of the City's search for the quintessential New York City musician enters Round Two this week, with battles in the Round of 32 daily. Keep up with all the action here.

Things get a bit more melodic (no offense, guys) as two of American pop's most prominent songwriters and members of the Long Island Music Hall Of Fame, No. 6 seed Billy Joel and No. 3 seed Neil Diamond, engage in a battle of the troubadours. Who will emerge triumphant?

Best Song:
Billy Joel: "Big Shot"

Sure, he wrote "New York State Of Mind," which was later reappropriated by other artists who wanted to pay homage to the Big Apple. But this diss track aimed at a wannabe '70s socialite, this song from Joel's 1978 album 52nd Street, which has Billy in a different kind of angry-young-man mode, is a lot more Noo Yawk, and a lot more fun. The of-the-moment cultural references (Halston! Elaine's! Spoons up noses!) and his put-on of an Italian accent near the song's final run into the chorus make this track a lot more endearing than the more serious material he'd take on in his later years.

Neil Diamond: "Cherry, Cherry"

Brill Building vet Diamond penned a host of great songs for himself and for others (check out the Monkees' "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow" for just one example). But this snappy 1966 track, with a simple three-chord structure and a breakdown that can summon hip-shakes on command, remains irresistible some 45 years after its initial release.

Longevity: Both of these guys have tons of material that aren't just songs, but standards. That said, Diamond has a bit of an edge, thanks to his pedigree and his going the Rick Rubin route on two records released in the '00s. Joel hasn't put out an album of new pop material since 1993, and he hasn't had his "major artist of the past finally gets respect from the young turks" moment yet (can someone please get him in a studio with Britt Daniel?), but he still sells out stadiums and last night, his body of work was honored by that old American institution American Idol—which gave Diamond's songs the same treatment back in 2008.

Innovations: Surely Joel's Boomer-historical epoch "We Didn't Start The Fire," which traced the major world events from the '50s through the apparently quite infuriating "rock and roller cola wars," has to count for something.

Starpower: I'd say this one is pretty evenly matched.

Intangibles: Hicksville High School class of '92 grad Billy Joel really needs to stop claiming that he's from Levittown. I'm just saying.

Likely winner: My heart wants to say Billy, but Neil has a slightly "cooler" profile. At least they're friendly, right?

[SOTC homepage | Facebook | Twitter | Letters]



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
tickets
tickets

well this amazing and interesting too that the all are in son writing battle but i luv neildaimond he will gonna rock

Myghi
Myghi

NeilmDiamond for sure!!!

suzie4321
suzie4321

Give me a break!  How could anyone compare to Neil Diamond, the only singer /songwriter  that I can think of in the last 100 years to dig so deeply into the soul and come up with masterpieces. Listen to the words. Listen to what he is saying in BE and DEAR FATHER or MODERN DAY VERSION OF LOVE and DONE TOO SOON and you will hear a magic no one has ever matched. He not only should win this hands down but, as far as I am concerned, Neil Diamond should have a gallaxy named after him, not just a star. His golden pen keeps giving - listen to HELL YEAH or REMEMBER ME and you will find the Neil that began so long ago - the yearing in his voice is back, and his words resound across the world.  He is, in fact, a musical god with the goods to prove it!!!

Deb E.
Deb E.

NEIL DIAMOND ROCKS!!  I was in Boston in 2008 for his concert at the Red Sox field and it was spectacular, the place was filled to capacity and they loved Sweet Caroline.  Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, Billboard Icon award, Kennedy Center Honors all in 2011, not to mention Songwriters Hall of Fame, just to name a few.  Neil has my vote. A Diamondhead since 1966, "Can't stand still while the music is playing."

Daviddiamond56
Daviddiamond56

Ted Kane YOU SUCK SO BAD! can just imagine the crap you listen to!!

Ted Kane
Ted Kane

Jesus, they both suck so bad.

burning_plastic
burning_plastic

I don't like Billy Joel at all and I don't own any Neil Diamond records either, but Neil Diamond is entertaining in a way he didn't mean to be sometimes. He's overly dramatic and his songs are kind of cheesy, so it's like Bono singing Barry Manilow. 

Frank Lombardo
Frank Lombardo

Billy Joel is from Levittown - the Hicksville part of it.

Chris Molanphy
Chris Molanphy

NY cred points deducted from Diamond for his adoption by Boston in the form of "Sweet Caroline" at BoSox games.

Deannesherman
Deannesherman

Girl, you got that right! No one's ever said it better. Neil is a god to fans around the world! He's a wonder - thank goodness, he keeps on going on! New summer tour will prove his greatness AGAIN!

Raphael
Raphael

No-he will win because his fan sites are trying to stack the deck in his favour!Same old songs;more Best Of..,Sorry,but the question is about the music-not who has the most fans worshipping a little tin god who probably doesn't give a shit unless the money rolls in...

Momoftwo7
Momoftwo7

You suck!! Neil is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Raphael
Raphael

Neil's all about the money now-selling out is so not cool when the music deserves better.Brilliant in his day,but after Rick Rubin...too commercial;too money-orientated.Billy Joel-we didn't start the fire??  Hell Yeah....

TLP
TLP

I love both artists, but Neil is too commercial?  You're kidding, right?

Raphael
Raphael

The dude's face is selling on tea towels-and  one of his songs is selling DSL furniture in the UK..Nope,not kidding-sorry

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...