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The fans draw comfort from the thought that if Neil, 70, had a cosy home to return to, he’d be less inclined to leave it for the stage; and critics have long made a link between the solitariness of his nature and the faintly morbid material he writes.
But last week came news that he is getting married. This time to Katie Mc Neil, a 40-year-old Californian video producer whom he met two years ago while making a concert documentary.
Here's Neil in the run-up to his celebrated “Living Legends” appearance at Glastonbury in 2008: “Personal relationships? I have no friends, and it is just impossible to have relationships.
“The cardinal rule for any performer is that they should know themselves,” he said recently, “and I didn’t. I did what my parents expected of me because I wanted to be a good son, but it was all about what other people wanted.
Rubin made Diamond sit down and re-listen to his melancholic Sixties hits – Solitary Man, Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon, and Red Red Wine – and work out what was good about them.
Both albums became huge hits, taking Diamond to the top of both the US and British charts for the first time in decades.
He appears to have been married – or in lengthy relationships – for almost all his adult life, and today enjoys the comforts of four children and four grandchildren.
Surely it couldn’t be that he lays the ill-starred loner image on a bit for effect? Diamond says that he has always put the music first – touring ceaselessly, writing in isolation and working crazy hours in recording studios.