Unraveling the A lot of Mysteries of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’

The tale of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” has it all: adore, baseball, Kennedys, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and the triumph of the human spirit. It is pop’s answer to the national anthem, and as any karaoke belter or Boston Crimson Sox lover will convey to you, it’s way less complicated to sing than “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As the tune celebrates its 50th birthday this calendar year, now’s a fantastic time—so fantastic, so superior, so good—to dig into the wealthy heritage of a tune folks will nonetheless be singing in 2069.

“The place it commenced, I can not start off to being aware of,” Diamond sings in the song’s iconic opening lines. Except the “wherever” section of this story is essentially fairly straightforward: Diamond wrote “Sweet Caroline” in a Memphis lodge home in 1969 on the eve of a recording session at American Sound Studio. By this level in his job, Diamond experienced established himself as a pretty properly-acknowledged singer-songwriter with two top rated-10 hits—”Cherry Cherry” and “Lady, You’ll Be a Woman Shortly”—to his title. He’d also written “I’m a Believer,” which The Monkees took to #1 in late 1966.

The “who,” as in the identification of the “Caroline” immortalized in the lyrics, is the significantly juicier question. In 2007, Diamond uncovered that he was motivated to publish the song by a photograph of Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy, that he saw in a journal in the early ‘60s, when he was a “younger, broke songwriter.”

“It was a picture of a minimal girl dressed to the nines in her driving equipment, up coming to her pony,” Diamond explained to the Involved Push. “It was these types of an innocent, great image, I right away felt there was a track in there.” A long time later, in that Memphis resort place, the track was lastly born.

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Most likely due to the fact it is a little creepy, Diamond held that tidbit to himself for several years and only broke the information following executing the song at Kennedy’s 50th birthday in 2007. “I’m satisfied to have gotten it off my upper body and to have expressed it to Caroline,” Diamond reported. “I believed she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and seriously, definitely delighted.”

The plot thickened in 2014, even so, as Diamond informed the gang at NBC’s These days that the music is definitely about his to start with spouse, Marsha. “I could not get Marsha into the 3-syllable name I essential,” Diamond said. “So I had Caroline Kennedy’s title from a long time back in a single of my publications. I experimented with ‘Sweet Caroline,’ and that labored.”

It undoubtedly did. Produced in 1969, “Sweet Caroline” rose to #4 on the Billboard Warm 100. In the decade that adopted, it was protected by Elvis Presley, soul terrific Bobby Womack, Roy Orbison, and Frank Sinatra. Diamond rates Ol’ Blue Eyes’ version the very best of the bunch.

“He did it his way,” Diamond instructed The Sunday Guardian in 2011. “He didn’t cop my record at all. I’ve listened to that music by a large amount of people today and there are a large amount of very good variations. But Sinatra’s swingin’, large-band version tops them all by considerably.”

A different key query in the “Sweet Caroline” saga is “why”—why has the music turn out to be a staple at Fenway Park in Boston, a town with no discernible relationship to Diamond, a native of Brooklyn?

It’s all mainly because of a female named Amy Tobey, who worked for the Sox by using BCN Productions from 1998 to 2004. In the course of those decades, Tobey had the wicked wonderful career of finding the music at Sox online games. She noticed that “Sweet Caroline” was a crowd-pleaser, and like any excellent baseball admirer, she soon created a superstition. If the Sox had been up, and Tobey imagined they ended up likely to get the sport, she’d play the track somewhere in among the seventh and ninth innings.

“I essentially considered it like a superior luck charm,” Tobey instructed The Boston Globe in 2005. “Even if they ended up just one particular operate [ahead], I could still do it. It was just a really feel.” It grew to become a common thing in 2002, when Fenway’s new administration requested Tobey to participate in “Sweet Caroline” through the eighth inning of each residence match, regardless of the rating.

At to start with, Tobey was concerned that required Diamond would direct to bad luck on the genuine diamond. But that wasn’t the case, as the Sox received the Entire world Series in 2004, ending the “Curse of the Bambino” and giving Beantown its initial title due to the fact 1918. In 2010, Diamond built a surprise visual appearance at Fenway to execute “Sweet Caroline” in the course of the Red Sox’s period opener towards the New York Yankees. He wore a Sox cap and a sports coat emblazoned with the concept “Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn.”

A distinct mood greeted Diamond when he returned to Fenway on April 20, 2013, just five days right after bombings at the Boston Marathon killed 3 folks and injured practically 300 some others. “What an honor it is for me to be here currently,” Diamond informed the group. “I provide enjoy from the entire place.” He then sang together with the ‘69 recording of the tune, major the crowd in the “Ba! Ba! Ba!” and “So superior! So great! So superior!” ad-libs that have in essence come to be formal lyrics. Diamond also donated all the royalties he obtained from the music that 7 days, as downloads improved by 597 %.

The Crimson Sox are not the only sporting activities workforce to have basked in the glory of “Sweet Caroline.” The music has develop into well-known with the two the Penn Point out Nittany Lions and Iowa Point out Cyclones football squads and has even crossed the Atlantic to turn out to be portion of the new music rotation for England’s Castleford Tigers crew group and Britain’s Oxford United Soccer Club.

About the past five a long time, millions of individuals have had their lives touched by “Sweet Caroline” in one way or yet another. The enduring attractiveness will have to be a pleasant shock for Diamond, who experienced no strategy he’d published a classic back in 1969. “Neil didn’t like the track at all,” Tommy Cogbill, a bass participant at American Seem Studio, mentioned in an job interview for the 2011 e book Memphis Boys. “I essentially bear in mind him not liking it and not wanting it to be a one.”

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