5 Things You Didn’t Know: Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’
A favorite song to sing along to at bars and ballgames took on a different meaning this past week after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing. Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” helped to further galvanize the community in Boston and unite the rest of the country in support. Diamond, after performing his hit during the 8th inning of the Red Sox/Royals game on April 20th, even decided to donate royalties from skyrocketing sales of “Sweet Caroline” to The One Fund.
Here are 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
Who Is Responsible for “Sweet Caroline”
At Fenway Park?
“Sweet Caroline” has been a staple during the 8th inning of Red Sox games for over a decade now, but considering the song isn’t about the team or the city, and Diamond hails from New York, why would they use it?
Amy Tobey was put in charge of the music played at Fenway from from 1998 to 2004; she played the song and noticed fans took a liking to it. Tobey eventually became a bit superstitious.
“I actually considered it like a good luck charm,” said Tobey. “Even if they were just one run [ahead], I might still do it. It was just a feel.”
New management took over in 2002 and requested Tobey play “Sweet Caroline” during the 8th inning of every game, which has continued ever since.
“Sweet Caroline” Is Inspired By God
Diamond believes there was some divine intervention, or at least inspiration, behind “Sweet Caroline.” He told the Los Angeles Times in 2013, “I think there’s a little bit of God in that song. I always have felt that.”
Frank Sinatra’s Cover Is Neil’s Favorite
There have been plenty of “Sweet Caroline” covers, both recorded in studio and live; Bobby Womack, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison to name a few. But it was Frank Sinatra‘s version that Diamond loves the most.
“He did it his way. He didn’t cop my record at all,” Diamond told AOL Music Canada. “I’ve heard that song by a lot of people and there are a lot of good versions. But Sinatra’s swinging, big band version tops them all by far.”
You can listen to Sinatra’s version, from his 1974 LP Some Nice Things I’ve Missed, HERE.
“Sweet Caroline” Is About JFK’s Daughter
For a very long time, it was unknown who “Sweet Caroline” was about. Diamond finally revealed the secret in 2007, saying it was about John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline.
“I’ve never discussed it with anybody before, intentionally,” Diamond said. “I thought maybe I would tell it to Caroline when I met her someday.” He got that chance when he performed for Caroline on her 50th birthday.
Neil Was Broke When He Wrote
Like all musicians before they break it big, Diamond was just another “young, broke songwriter.” But it was Caroline Kennedy’s cover on LIFE magazine from September 7, 1962 that inspired him to write the song that would launch his career.
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