Neil Diamond's invisible friend rsets the record straight.

When No One Else Would Come 

Neil Diamond's invisible friend rsets the record straight.

Tons of so-called fans on the Friends of Neil Diamond Web site have been talking mad smack about what has come to be known to loyal Diamondbacks as "The Shilo Debacle of '68." I'm here to set the record straight. You see, I'm Shilo. Yes, that Shilo — the imaginary childhood friend after whom Diamond named the song "Shilo." When Neil was a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, his Yiddish heritage forbade him from joining either of the two Protestant street gangs in his neighborhood, the Cobras and the Cougars. The boy was forced to turn to the only friend he could find — i.e., me, there in his mind.

We had such special times. When Neil would call my name, I came. And we'd play. I made him smile and feel like he could fly, and when it came time for him to chase his dream of becoming the most amazingly popular craftsman of song the world has ever known, I understood. He left me with an air kiss and promised he'd write a song about our special times one day.

When he did, it almost derailed his career. The executives at Bang Records thought our song was a wimpy follow-up to "Cherry, Cherry" and "Solitary Man," songs which rightfully cast Neil as a dark sexual panther with a musky scent. One Bang executive inappropriately referred to "Shilo" as "Neil's kike pussy song." That hurt, but Neil was there to console me. He took me in his arms and stroked my silky imaginary hair, whispering tenderly, "Don't worry, little Shilo, Papa's gonna make the big, bad men go bye-bye." And when Neil up and defected to MCA, it was OK.

Admittedly, Neil and I have drifted apart since the Shilo Debacle of '68. Some of that had to do with my jealousy over his shacking up with tramps like Rosie, Holly and Soolaimon. But the other night, Neil phoned me up from the Aqua Jet aboard his touring bus. And I came.

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