The Jazz Singer
1980 | Pop
"Far, we've been traveling far. — Without a home, but not without a star. — Free, only want to be free. — We huddle close, hang on to a dream."
- The Song Reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.
- The song featured in Born in East L.A. in the scene where dozens of immigrants storm the Mexico-U.S. border and get past the Border Patrol.
- Diamond sang it at the centennial re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty.
THE HOT TAKES
American exceptionalism, anyone? The lyrics could just as easily be "America is so awesome, more awesome than other places. People come here because we're so great." What an unhealthy lens to view the world through! Now, I'm not saying that we must constantly badger and attack one another anytime someone says something positive about America. Yes, there are freedoms here that far exceed those of other nations. But there are also areas where things are far worse here than in many other countries. Somalia doesn't have the NSA. They don't have a global network of military bases and satellites, misused in the worst moral dimensions imaginable. Food for thought!
Remember when Americans used to be proud of the fact that people wanted to come here to have a better life? I see this song as a celebration of the spirit of those people who leave everything they know for the unknown in search of peace and prosperity for themselves and their families. It’s so sad and frustrating to me to be faced with people who feel a lot of animosity towards immigrants, and yet also don’t care about the roll the US has played in making their home countries terrible places. If Americans are going to believe they are exceptional, then maybe they should start trying to think and behave in an exceptional way. Actually valuing the ideals they claim to love would be a great start.
I come from a family more than a little obsessed with Neil Diamond. I'm not sure how exactly that happened but it did. I've spent many a great american day camping out on the indian reservation launching quarter sticks of dynamite into the lake with a water baloon launcher and nights around the campfire singing songs just like this where the state police don't bother to be. I say great American day because despite knowing the lie that is the US for what it is and believing the state is the enemy there is a feeling in the mythology that i don't feel as though I need to give up. Our nation may not be what we were always told it was, but that doesn't mean the idea of freedom it purported to stand for is a worthless ideal. I think that ideal is noble and as it has been demonstrated despite our criminal past that idea did mean something at one point in time to some people. I believe the greatest threat to that idea is the state personally but the lie meant ssomething. I say we stop allowing it to be a lie. This song celebrates all that I wish America truly stood for.