Diamond among 5 honored by Kennedy Center

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Diamond among 5 honored by Kennedy Center

WASHINGTON - The good times never seemed so good for Neil Diamond.

Known for his songs that have become anthems at ballparks and bars, Diamond was chosen Wednesday to receive the Kennedy Center Honors this year along with some of the biggest names from Broadway, jazz, classical music and Hollywood.

Diamond will be honored with Broadway singer Barbara Cook, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and actress Meryl Streep for their contributions to American culture through the arts. President Barack Obama will salute the artists at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 4.

Diamond said he was “flying way above sea level” when he heard about the honor.

“I’ve watched, and I’ve seen, and I’ve even dreamed that someday that would happen to me,” he told The Associated Press. “But I never really believed that it would.”

Diamond said he used to get distracted when people sang along with him to hits like “Sweet Caroline,” which was written for Caroline Kennedy who hosts the show.

“But I realized pretty quickly that it was a compliment, and I had no choice in the matter anyway, so I got with the program and just learned to love it,” said Diamond, who earlier this year was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He said he’s planning another U.S. tour next summer after performing abroad.

The 70-year-old Diamond also tweeted Wednesday that he was engaged to a woman named Katie - but wouldn’t tell AP who she was so that she wouldn’t “change her mind.”

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