Billy Ray Cyrus Covers Neil Diamond Classic: ‘His Music Changed My Life’ [Watch]
Billy Ray Cyrus lists Neil Diamond among his biggest musical influences, and he pays tribute to the singer-songwriter with a new cover of one of Diamond's biggest hits, "I Am ... I Said."
Cyrus covers the Diamond classic from 1971 in the video above, keeping the arrangement very faithful to the original hit recording. Diamond scored a No. 4 pop hit on Billboard's Hot 100 with the contemplative song, which was also a hit all around the world.
Cyrus gives a sensitive, emotional reading of the song, which is more of a musical homage to Diamond's original than an attempt to reinvent the material, though it's countrified a bit.
Cyrus got the opportunity to join Neil Diamond live onstage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday (March 7) to raise money for neurocognitive diseases at the Keep Memory Alive‘s 24th annual Power of Love Gala, which raises funds and awareness for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He released the special cover to mark the occasion.
"His music changed my life," Cyrus writes on YouTube. "Inspired me to trade in my catcher’s mitt for a guitar in pursuit of purpose. Hope you enjoy this video which captures this past year and celebrates this full-circle moment."
The appearance over the weekend marked Diamond's first pubic performance since announcing he was retiring in 2018 due to his fight with Parkinson's disease.
Click on the video at the top of the story to hear Cyrus' rendition of "I Am ... I Said," and to see highlights from his life and career over the past year.
"I Am ... I Said" appears on Cyrus' new The Singin' Hills Sessions Vol. 1 Sunset, which is currently available across a variety of music providers.
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