Why Neil Diamond Didn’t Want ‘Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon’ in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ at 1st

A cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” appears in Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction. After reading the script for Pulp Fiction, Diamond denied Tarantino permission to use the song on principal. During an interview, Diamond explained why he changed his mind.

Quentin Tarantino wearing a suit around the time he made 'Pulp Fiction'
Quentin Tarantino wearing a suit around the time he made ‘Pulp Fiction’ | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

Why Neil Diamond wrote ‘Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon’

Tarantino’s movies often make expressive use of rock music. For example, Urge Overkill’s cover of “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” appears in a famous scene from Pulp Fiction. During the sequence, Uma Thurman‘s character dances to the song before overdosing on heroin.

Diamond explained why he didn’t want “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” in Pulp Fiction. “At the point on my career I wrote it, my audience was teenage girls, and the song came out of that context,” he told Billboard. “I wrote it while I was on a Dick Clark Where the Action Is tour; the audience sparked it. 

“And then when Quentin Tarantino a few years later came around and wanted to use it for Pulp Fiction, I turned him down because I had a promise to myself I wouldn’t use any of my songs for drug references or even smoking cigarettes,” Diamond added.

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Why Neil Diamond allowed Quentin Tarantino to use the song in ‘Pulp Fiction’

Diamond revealed how he reacted to the Pulp Fiction script. “I got a script, and I read it and I thought it was wonderful, but it didn’t fit into the guidelines I had set for myself,” he recalled. “And then I spoke to a good friend about it, my friend Dave Rosner, who was my publisher, and he explained Quentin Tarantino was a bonafide star of the future and I should take it as a serious picture.” 

Diamond was ultimately pleased with the cover of the song by Urge Overkill that appeared in the movie. He also felt “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” fit well in the Pulp Fiction scene that initially gave him pause. The cover remains one of Urge Overkill’s most famous songs.

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The way the world reacted to ‘Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon’

Diamond’s version of “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” wasn’t a hit. It did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Diamond released the song on the album Just for You. Just for You was a modest hit at best, peaking at No. 80 on the Billboard 200 and staying on the chart for 19 weeks.

Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” wasn’t popular in the United Kingdom either. According to The Official Charts Company, the song did not chart in the U.K. Meanwhile, Just for You didn’t impact the U.K. chart. “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” wasn’t a major success, but Pulp Fiction gave the song a place in film history.

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