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‘Devastating’: Nearly Neil guitarist forced to retire due to disease-triggered hearing loss

‘I have done nothing but music for my entire adult life,’ Dave Corman tells fans
Singer “Nearly Neil” (Bobby Bruce), left, with guitarist/bandleader Dave Corman on stage. (Photo:

A musician familiar to Neil Diamond fans in B.C. is being forced to retire from the music business due to a medical condition.

Dave Corman, longtime bandleader and guitarist with Nearly Neil’s Solitary Band, will no longer perform songs with the tribute band, or any other music, “absolutely not by choice,” he says.

“I have been dealing with a condition called Meniere’s Disease for about eight years,” Corman told fans in an e-newsletter from the band on Thursday (March 17).

The condition affects the inner ear, causing hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus, he wrote.

“At this point it’s looking like I’m going to be retiring as a musician effective immediately. At least taking an extended hiatus.”

The disease started in Corman’s left ear, and over time took most of the hearing in that ear.

“I adapted, my hearing was still strong in my right ear so I was able to get by and eventually figured it out. I continued playing gigs, producing and even mixing,” Corman wrote.

“The bad news is that over the last year it has moved to my right ear (the good one). It is now at a point where music is not pleasurable and it is becoming difficult to discern pitch to some degree. Obviously this is pretty devastating for me. I have done nothing but music for my entire adult life. I’m not totally sure what lies ahead but I am confident that I’ll figure it out.”

Singer Bobby Bruce, who is “Nearly Neil,” says that when he first learned of Dave’s news, he cried for a couple of days.

“It was so unfair,” Bruce added. “However, Dave is the resilient and capable man we know him to be. With his family’s love supporting him, we know he will continue to lead a joyous and fulfilling life away from the stage.”

Corman joined the Solitary Band back in 2003.

“Dave’s authentic sounds and excellent chops helped elevate the Solitary Band and all their manifestations (Bobby Bruce Band, Shagadelic Swingers and Canadian-A) into the top-tier of showbands in the country,” Bruce posted.

“Dave’s wowed our audiences at home and abroad. No matter where we go, the Solitary Band has earned the respect of fellow musicians, promoters, agents and audiences. I know for a fact that Dave Corman’s involvement for almost 20 years has been instrumental in our success.

“We can never thank Dave, or the rest of the band, enough for their dedication, hard work, and musicality.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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