Rock hall inducts Neil Diamond

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Neil Diamond.

Diamond, 69, who launched his career as a songwriter in the 1960s in the Brill Building songwriting factory, penning hits for groups like The Monkees, was inducted Monday night at a ceremony in New York.

He soon launched a solo career, and his rich baritone coupled with his lively onstage presence earned him the sobriquet "the Jewish Elvis" with hits like "Solitary Man" and "Cherry, Cherry."

Diamond addressed his Jewish roots and the conundrum of assimilation when he starred in the 1980 remake of "The Jazz Singer." The film was a box office success but was panned by the critics.

Another Jewish singer-songwriter, Paul Simon, who already is a member of the Hall of Fame, introduced Diamond.

Other inductees for Monday night’s ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel included Darlene Love, the Phil Spector protege whose "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" is a seasonal classic, Alice Cooper, Dr. John, Leon Russell and Tom Waits.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland.

Both non-performer inductees this year are Jewish: Jac Holzman, who founded Elektra Records and signed The Doors; and Art Rupe, who founded Specialty Records, a pioneering soul label.

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