Neil Diamond says he does indeed see himself as a rock star and is happy to be among the "clowns in the circus" of rock and roll as he prepares to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
The 69-year-old, known mostly for pop singles such as "Sweet Caroline" and "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", will join heavy metal "shock " rocker Alice Cooper as well as performers Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love when they are welcomed into the prestigious club during an annual ceremony on March 14, 2011 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City.
When asked by Rolling Stone magazine if he sees himself as a rock star, Diamond said: "Yeah. I guess. I do all the things that fit under that heading, so I guess that's what you'd call me."
"I've always looked at it like rock and roll was a circus," he added. "We're just clowns in that circus. We're doing our bid to entertain and make people smile. In the scheme of things, I don't know how important any of us are. I think we're much more important than was assumed when rock first started."
Diamond was parodied by Will Ferrell on "Saturday Night Live" several years ago and made a cameo as himself in the 2001 Jason Biggs comedy film "Saving Silverman". The movie, which also starred Jack Black, paid tribute to the singer by featuring the main characters in a Neil Diamond cover band.
To be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a musician or band must have released its first batch of music at least 25 years ago. Cooper said he and his band mates are happy to become the club's "arch villains".
Cooper, known for his horror-oriented stage shows and dark make-up, has released songs such as "School's Out", "Poison" and "Welcome To My Nightmare." The 62-year-old rocker, whose real name is Vincent Furnier and who heads the Alice Cooper Band, can often be seen in commercials and appeared in the movie "Wayne's World".
The hall has inducted more than 605 artists, including Phil Collin's old rock group Genesis and Swedish pop band ABBA. Others who made the cut this year include musicians Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love. They were chosen by more than 500 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and will be represented at the organization's museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
Other 2011 nominees included Bon Jovi, the Beastie Boys, Chic, Donovan, J. Geils Band, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Joe Tex and Chuck Willis.