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He has already been to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and is now doing a six-week stretch across Europe, culminating in 15 concerts in the UK. "Because I'm never happier than I am when I'm on stage.Sure, life on the road can be hard going, but there's always a friendly face around somewhere, there's always a poker game to be had, or someone to take a walk with out of my hotel. I've been doing it a long time." Last month Diamond also released The Bang Years, an album of his songs covering the brief period between 19, when he was making the move from being a writer-for-hire on Tin Pan Alley to a performer in his own right.
Even if they concede that songs such as "Sweet Caroline", "Cherry Cherry" and "Solitary Man" are really rather good, they will point to the tight trousers, the abundant chest hair and, most emphatically, the shirts – the sequin and rhinestone-encrusted monstrosities that he wore in the 1970s and 1980s – and say that he is self-aggrandising and hokey, that he is the very opposite of cool."If you're going to study pre-med, it's very time-consuming and I didn't have the time or inclination.I was writing songs in all my classes, I was writing songs on the subway trains coming into school.Then there was 2008's Glastonbury, where he was a huge hit among the muddy masses, and proved that, whether or not the songs are to your taste, he is one hell of a showman. It's how this business works." Curiously, Diamond talks just as he sings.Finally, in March this year, in a mark of acceptance from the critical elite, Diamond was finally inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. It's fine," he says, a little flatly, back at his hotel. His rich, tremulous voice would sound wracked with melancholy reading the football results.