The Early Show
By Mo Rocca
Dec. 21, 2011
(CBS News) – The Kennedy Center Honors is the quintessential American award for a lifetime of artistic excellence.
And one of this year’s honorees, legendary singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, sat down recently with CBS News correspondent Mo Rocca.
For 45 years, Diamond has been singing hit songs, such as “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “Forever in Blue Jeans” — even if he hasn’t always been a hit with critics.
“I’ve never been a critics’ darling,” he admits. “My songs have been very direct and simple — as simple as I could possibly make them.”
Songs so broadly appealing, they’re not easy to categorize.
“I don’t know,” he says, “whether you’d call it rock-and-roll or pop or country or folk music or American music or just Neil Diamond music.”
Diamond was raised in a house filled with music, in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.
When he was 16, his parents gave him a guitar.