It took Neil Diamond years to accept his Parkinson’s diagnosis: ‘I still do it’

Years after announcing his Parkinson’s diagnosis, rock legend Neil Diamond opens up about living with the degenerative brain disease.

In the coming “CBS Sunday Morning” In an interview, the 82-year-old “Sweet Caroline” singer revealed he wasn’t ready to accept his diagnosis for at least a year or two.

“I still do it. And I don’t like it,” Diamond told correspondent Anthony Mason. “But… I am; I have to accept that. And I’m ready to do it. And, ok, so this is the hand that God gave me, and I have to make the best of it, and that’s who I am. I am.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer announced in 2018 that he has Parkinson’s disease, which can cause tremors, slow movements, stiffness and loss of balance, among other symptoms. Diamond said he only accepted his diagnosis “in the last few weeks.”

“But somehow it calmed down [into] the hurricane of my life and it’s gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio,” he added. “And I like it. I find 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.”

In 2018, days before his 77th birthday and in the midst of his 50th anniversary tour, Diamond announced he was retiring from touring following the diagnosis. The Grammy Award Winner for Lifetime Achievement has since kept a low profile, though he notably performed a handwashing PSA with “Sweet Caroline” at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

But for now, the songwriter – whose other hits include “America”, “Love on the Rocks” and “Hello Again” – sees his life on the stage of the Broadway Musical “A Beautiful Noise” based on his life.

“It was all pretty tough. I was a little embarrassed. I was flattered and scared,” the showman said of the musical. “Being discovered is the scariest thing one could hope for because we all have a facade. And the truth is known to all: I am not a big star. I am simply myself.”

Will Swenson (“Waitress”, “Les Misérables”) plays a young Diamond and Mark Jacoby (“Sweeney Todd”, “Elf”) plays the post-retirement performer in the production, which opened at New York’s Broadhurst Theater in December City. This week the producers announced that “A Beautiful Noise” will begin a multi-year North American tour Launch in Providence, RI in fall 2024.

diamond came as a surprise with his family during the show’s opening night and led a sing-along to his 1969 hit “Sweet Caroline.” during the curtain call of the show. It was the Brooklyn-raised entertainer’s first performance in his native New York since 2017, Deadline reported.

The full interview with Diamond will air Sunday on CBS and stream on Paramount+.

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