Song of the Day #3,623: ‘Sweet Caroline’ – Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond’s most iconic song reached only as high as #4 on the Billboard charts, but ‘Sweet Caroline’ has undoubtedly been played more often than any of his other hits, and probably more often than most songs ever written.

Written in a hotel room in a couple of hours and recorded in a Memphis studio in 1969, ‘Sweet Caroline’ is now a karaoke and piano bar staple and a sports stadium standard on par with Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.’ The Boston Red Sox, in particular, have adopted this song as their official anthem and play it during the eighth inning of every home game.

Diamond has given conflicting accounts of the song’s origin. Either it was written for his wife Marcia, with the name changed to better fit the melody, or it was inspired by a magazine photo he saw of a young Caroline Kennedy. Maybe both stories are true. At any rate, Diamond serenaded Kennedy with the song on her 50th birthday.

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, the New York Yankees played ‘Sweet Caroline’ during a game in honor of their rivals. Other sports teams around the country followed suit. Sales of the track skyrocketed, and Diamond pledged that all future proceeds from the song would go to a charity for victims of the attack.

‘Sweet Caroline’ is the rare song that isn’t just great music but a cultural touchstone on many levels. It must feel pretty great to create something so meaningful to so many different people.

Where it began
I can’t begin to knowin’
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was it the spring
And spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touchin’ hands
Reachin’ out, touchin’ me touchin’ you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would

But now I, look at the night
And it don’t seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurtin’ runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I’m holdin’ you

Warm, touchin’ warm
Reachin’ out, touchin’ me touchin’ you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
Oh no no

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline
I believe they never would
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,623: ‘Sweet Caroline’ – Neil Diamond

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I found this article that gives a more detailed explanation about the history of the song with the Boston Red Sox:

    https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-red-sox/2017/10/08/how-sweet-caroline-became-fenways-beloved-and-detested-ballpark-anthem

    By the way, hearing this song, and your featuring of Diamond generally, reminds me of the underrated movie “Danny Collins” starring Al Pacino as a fictional Diamond-like aged star who had long ago abandoned being a serious musician/songwriter and instead lives off concerts to his increasingly aging fans, who insist and expect he will play his one big schmaltzy hit with which he will forever be associated.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    Interesting comparison to the movie Danny Collins I also liked that movie a lot!

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