I Am I Said Lyrics

I Am I Said lyrics were written by Neil Diamond at a time in his life where he was experiencing some very personal moments. It also has a dark side to it, which you can read about in the “background facts” below the lyrics. It’s a song about someone who lives in one place but yearns for another. Perhaps you can relate to his feelings expressed here? Feel free to share your thoughts about this song and its meaning for you, in the comments area.

I Am I Said Lyrics Sung by Neil Diamond

Enjoy This Video and Sing Along to the Lyrics – or Just Enjoy


I Am I Said Lyrics by Neil Diamond


L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is “lay back”
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back

Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays,
I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home,
But it ain’t mine no more

“I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair

“I am”… I cried “I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still

Did you ever read about a frog
Who dreamed of bein’ a king
And then became one
Well except for the names
And a few other changes
If you talk about me
The story’s the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried
But it won’t let me go
And I’m not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared
For the sound of being alone

“I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
“I am”… I cried
“I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
“I am”… I said
“I am”… I cried
“I am”… I said


Some Interesting Facts About I Am I Said Lyrics and Neil Diamond

“I Am… I Said” is a song written and recorded by Neil Diamond. Released as a single on March 15, 1971, it was quite successful, at first slowly climbing the charts, then more quickly rising to number 4 on the U.S. pop singles chart by May 1971. It fared similarly across the Atlantic, reaching number 4 on the UK pop singles chart as well.  i am i said lyrics

“I Am… I Said” took Neil Diamond four months to compose. One of his most intensely personal efforts, it depicts the singer lost between two worlds:

– New York City and Los Angeles.

Verses start quietly in a low vocal range, half sung and half spoken, with a soft rock guitar and light strings backing. By the chorus climaxes, the vocals are much louder and higher in pitch, with horns, heavier drums and more strings joining in, but the singer even more uncertain:

I am, I cried!
I am, said I.
And I am lost, and I can’t even say why…

Neil Diamond told Mojo magazine July 2008 that this song came from a time he spent in therapy in Los Angeles. He said:

“It was consciously an attempt on my part to express what my dreams were about, what my aspirations were about and what I was about. And without any question, it came from my sessions with the analyst.”

In the same month, he told Q that the song was written “to find himself” and added,

“It’s a tough thing for me to gather myself after singing that song.”

But Diamond has also revealed another inspiration for this song: an unsuccessful tryout for a movie about the life and death of the comedian Lenny Bruce. Author David Wild interviewed Diamond for a 2008 book and he discussed how his efforts to channel Lenny Bruce evoked such intense emotions that it led him to spend some time in therapy.

“I Am… I Said” was later included on Diamond’s November 1971 album Stones. The single version leads off the LP, while a reprise of the song, taken from midway to a variant ending with Diamond exclaiming “I am!”, concludes.

Critical opinion on “I Am… I Said” has generally been good, with Rolling Stone calling its lyric excellent in a 1972 review, while The New Yorker used it to exemplify Diamond’s songwriting opaqueness in a 2006 retrospective.

A 2008 Diamond profile in The Daily Telegraph simply referred to the song’s “raging existential angst,” and Allmusic calls it “an impassioned statement of emotional turmoil… very much in tune with the confessional singer/songwriter movement of the time.”

The song never went without its detractors however. Humorist Dave Barry said:

“Consider the song ‘I Am, I Said,’ wherein Neil, with great emotion, sings: ‘I am, I said, to no one there. And no one heard at all, not even the chair.’ What kind of line is that? Is Neil telling us he’s surprised that the chair didn’t hear him? Maybe he expected the chair to say, ‘Whoa, I heard that!’ My guess is that Neil was really desperate to come up with something to rhyme with ‘there’ and he had already rejected ‘So I ate a pear,’ ‘Like Smokey The Bear,’ and ‘There were nits in my hair.'”

Maybe saying “I Am” meant he was God.

The song garnered Diamond his first Grammy Awards nomination, for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

“I Am… I Said” has been included in live versions on Diamond’s Hot August Night (from 1972, in a performance that Rolling Stone would later label “fantastically overwrought”) and The Greatest Hits: 1966-1992 (from 1992), as well as in various compilations.




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  1. Or the chair could be symbolic of someone he lost, perhaps himself…

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