|Single by Neil Diamond|
|Released||May 28, 1969|
|Neil Diamond singles chronology|
"Sweet Caroline" is a soft rock song written and performed by American artist Neil Diamond and officially released on May 28, 1969, as a single. There are three distinct mixes of this song. The original mono 45 mix had a loud orchestra and glockenspiel compared to the stereo version on the Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show LP. The third version was a remix found only on the initial CD release of Diamond's His 12 Greatest Hits. This version has the orchestra mixed down very noticeably and has the background vocals mixed up. It has a longer fade as well. The song reached #4 on the Billboard chart and eventually went platinum for sales of one million singles. Musicians on the recording included the American Sound Studio's house band members Reggie Young on guitar, Mike Leech on bass, Bobby Emmons on a Hammond B 3 Organ, Bobby Woods on piano and Gene Chrisman on drums. Co-Producer Tom Catalano brought in Arranger Charlie Callelo to write out the string and horn charts, which were recorded in New York (this was possible because the song was recorded on a 16 track tape machine, which allowed the song to be recorded in multiple areas as opposed to a single location, and then mixed and mastered later in a studio). Diamond also wrote the song in a Memphis Hotel the night before it was recorded.
In the autumn of 1969, Diamond performed "Sweet Caroline" on several television shows. It later reached #8 on the UK singles chart in 1971. In his 2007 interview, Diamond revealed the inspiration for his song was John F. Kennedy's daughter, Caroline, who was eleven years old at the time it was released. Diamond sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007.
On December 21, 2011, in an interview on the CBS Early Show, Diamond said that a magazine cover photo of Caroline Kennedy as a young child on a horse with her parents in the background created an image in his mind, and the rest of the song came together about five years after seeing the picture.
"Sweet Caroline" is popular at sporting events. Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox, has played the song since at least 1997, and it has been played at every game in the middle of the eighth inning since 2002. On opening night of the 2010 season at Fenway Park, the song was performed by Diamond himself.
On April 16, 2013, the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, the New York Yankees—longtime Red Sox rivals—announced they would play the song during their home game, preceded by a moment of silence, as a tribute to the victims. On Saturday, April 20, 2013, during the 8th inning of the Red Sox-Kansas City game in Fenway Park, Neil Diamond led the crowd in a rendition of the song. The song was sung at sporting events across the country after the Boston Marathon bombings, in efforts to show solidarity with those affected by the tragedy. It was also played right before the start of the Hamburg Marathon in Hamburg, Germany, on Sunday, April 21, 2013, subsequent to a minute of silence. The song was also played before the start of the Stockholm Marathon in Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday, June 1, 2013, as a tribute to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
On Thursday, April 25, 2013, "Sweet Caroline" was played following a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings during the NFL Draft. Diamond has announced that he will donate all royalties from sales of the song since the marathon bombings to the One Fund Boston to help the people most affected by the bombings. Diamond said that sales of the song surged nearly 600 percent in the week after the bombings, to 19,000 copies, up from 2,800 the week before.
On July 16, 2013, Neil Diamond performed the song at Citi Field in Flushing, NY at baseball's mid-summer classic.
The University of Pittsburgh also has a long-standing tradition of singing the song at their home football games. Pitt students have made it "Pitt-centric" by replacing the repeating phrase "So good" of the original song with "Go Pitt" and the "Ba ba ba" of the original with, "Let's Go Pitt."
- Filipino country singer Victor Wood covered this song in the album Mr. Lonely.
- Pierre Lalonde in 1969 made a French cover of this song as "Caroline".
- Andy Williams released a version in 1969 on his album, Get Together with Andy Williams.
- Bobby Womack covered this song in his 1972 album Understanding.
- Frank Sinatra recorded a big band cover of "Sweet Caroline" for his 1974 LP Some Nice Things I've Missed.
- Julio Iglesias covered this song in Spanish on his 1972 album Por una mujer.
- Waylon Jennings performed a version on his 1977 album Ol' Waylon.
- The third full length release from the punk band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, entitled "Have a Ball", released July 29, 1997, features a punk-rock cover of "Sweet Caroline".
- In November 2001, Dustin the Turkey took the song to number one on the Irish Singles Chart.
- Dave Matthews Band covers this song on Live Trax, Vol.6: Fenway Park as well as on Live Trax, Vol.9: Live at MGM Grand Garden Arena
- Elvis Presley covered it in 1970
- David Archuleta performed the song during the Final Five American Idol Episode on April 29, 2008 and later recorded a studio version.
- In 2009, Mark Sailing covered the song on the Fox TV show Glee.
- In 2009, South African singer Steve Hofmeyr covered the song on his album, Tribute.
- In 2009, DJ Ötzi.
- In 2013, the song was featured on the CBS TV show The Big Bang Theory.
- Claude Gray in 1986 released a cover version. It peaked at #77 on the Billboard country charts, making it his last charted single to date.
- In 2014, this song was featured on the FX TV show The Strain.
- "Neil Diamond" (biography). Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- Glaister, Dan (November 21, 2007). "Neil Diamond reveals secret of Sweet Caroline". The Guardian (London). Retrieved July 5, 2011.
- Beggy, Carol; Shanahan, Mark (November 21, 2007). "'Sweet Caroline' revealed". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
- Cohen, Sandy (November 20, 2007). "Neil Diamond reveals inspiration for his smash hit 'Sweet Caroline': Caroline Kennedy". Associated Press.
- Grein, Paul (April 23, 2013). "Week Ending April 21, 2013. Songs: Duo of the Year". Retrieved May 6, 2013.
- "1962 covers", Life, 2 neat magazines, "7-Sep-1962, Caroline Kennedy on her pony".
- Vosk, Stephanie (May 29, 2005). "Another mystery of the Diamond, explained at last". The Boston Globe.
- "Yankees Twitter". New York Yankees. April 16, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- "15,000 expected at Hamburg Marathon". TheLocal. April 20, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
- "Neil Diamond to Donate 'Sweet Caroline' Royalties to Boston Bombing Charity". The New York Times. April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- "Neil Diamond to Donate 'Sweet Caroline' Royalties to Boston Charity". The Hollywood Reporter. April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- "How 'Sweet Caroline' became the Pitt fans' singalong"
- http://www.last.fm/music/Steve+Hofmeyr/Tribute Retrieved October 14, 2013
- DJ Ötzi