Neil Diamond’s first concert in Palm Beach County might surprise you


A song sung blue: Neil Diamond announced Tuesday that he will no longer tour because he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

His last South Florida concert was in April at the BB& T Centre in Broward County.

But you might be surprised about one of his first concerts in Palm Beach County: It was a benefit show for candy stripers.

Diamond was the musical attraction at the Candy Stripers’ Benefit Ball for the JFK Medical Center, then known as John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital. He appeared on Dec. 6, 1968 at the West Palm Beach Auditiorium and The Palm Beach Post said it promised to be “the biggest teenage event in the area.”

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The story headlining his appearance made to sure to mention that Diamond was anti-hippie and anti-drugs:

“Neil believes that phony hippies are a cop-out from life. They are not turning themselves on, but are turning their lives off.”

From newspaper accounts in The Post, Diamond may have made his first appearances in Palm Beach County in 1966. One was at a youth dance hall and hangout known as the Boca Raton Teenage Center.

And an online reader said he also appeared at a club called Music Castors in Riviera Beach that same year. Trish Cusack said her mother remembered him distinctly:

“It was a teenage club which was part of Bazaar International in Riviera Beach,” she wrote. “The ‘club’ was connected to an ice cream shop, as well. Apparently, many different bands were booked there to perform their current singles. My mother specifically recalled Diamond because he seemed rather out of place as he was dressed all in black!”



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