Sweet Caroline

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"Sweet Caroline"
Sweet Caroline cover.jpg
Single by Neil Diamond
B-side"Dig In"
ReleasedMay 28, 1969
StudioAmerican Sound Studio
GenreSoft rock[1]
Songwriter(s)Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond singles chronology
"Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show"
"Sweet Caroline"
"Holly Holy"

"Sweet Caroline" is a song written and performed by American singer Neil Diamond and released in May 1969 as a single with the title "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)". It was arranged by Charles Calello,[2] and recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.


In a 2007 interview, Diamond stated the inspiration for his song was John F. Kennedy's daughter, Caroline, who was eleven years old at the time it was released.[3][4] Diamond sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007.[5] On December 21, 2011, in an interview on CBS's The Early Show, Diamond said that a magazine cover photo of Caroline Kennedy as a young child on a horse[6] with her parents created an image in his mind, and the rest of the song came together about five years after seeing the picture.[7] However, in 2014 Diamond said the song was about his then-wife Marcia, but he needed a three-syllable name to fit the melody.[7] The song has proven to be enduringly popular and, as of November 2014, has sold over two million digital downloads in the United States.[8]


The song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week ending August 16, 1969,[9] and was certified gold by the RIAA on August 18, 1969, for sales of one million singles.[10] "Sweet Caroline" was also the first of fifty-eight entries on the US Easy Listening chart, peaking at #3.[11]

In the autumn of 1969, Diamond performed "Sweet Caroline" on several television shows. It later reached No. 8 on the UK singles chart in March 1971.

Chart history[edit]

Alternate versions[edit]

There are three distinct mixes of this song. In the original mono 45 mix, the orchestra and glockenspiel are more prominent than in 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.[25] This version has the orchestra mixed down and has the background vocals mixed up. It has a longer fade as well. A live version of the song is on his Hot August Night LP.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Diamond changed some of the lyrics to "Hands ... washing hands ... don't touch me ... I won't touch you."[26]

Use at sporting events[edit]

United States[edit]

The National Football League's Carolina Panthers have played the song at all home games in Charlotte since 1996. In 2020, the Panthers played the song to an empty Bank of America Stadium in honor of all front-line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The song has been played at Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox, since at least 1997,[27] and in the middle of the eighth inning at every game since 2002.[28] On opening night of the 2010 season at Fenway Park, the song was performed live by Diamond himself.[29]

The Iowa State Cyclones have used "Sweet Caroline" as a football victory song since 2006.[30]

Since 2008, the University of Pittsburgh has used "Sweet Caroline" as an unofficial school sing-along song by inserting "Let's Go Pitt!" over the instrumental three-beat "Woah oh oh"[31] interval after the title refrain and replacing the repeated phrase "So good" with "Go Pitt!"[32][33][34] The song started as a rallying anthem played between the third and fourth quarters of Pittsburgh Panthers football games,[35][36] but has been adopted for use during other university sports contests, alumni events, and student ceremonies, including graduation commencement ceremonies,[37][38] and references to the song have appeared on various school merchandise.[39]

"Sweet Caroline" is sometimes part of the regular rotation of songs during sports events at other universities, and although noted as not as being a tradition specific to or uniquely associated with Pennsylvania State University,[40] out of a speculated concern with the song's lyrics in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, the university removed the song from the rotation of music played at football games prior to the 2012 season.[41][42] However, performances resumed to loud renditions at Penn State football games in September 2013.[40]

Several days after the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, Neil Diamond led the crowd at Fenway Park in a rendition of the song.[43] 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.[44] Diamond said that he would donate his royalties from those sales to the One Fund Boston charity to help the people affected by the bombings.[45]

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

UFC middleweight fighter Darren Till has adopted the song as his entrance music beginning at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Till.[46]


DJ Ötzi version[edit]

Austrian singer DJ Ötzi released a version of the song in 2009. His version reached number 19 on the German Singles Chart and number 18 on the Austrian charts.[47]


In 2019, "Sweet Caroline" was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[48]


  1. ^ Ryan, Patrick (July 3, 2013). "Neil Diamond's 'Freedom Song' will ring out". USA Today. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  2. ^ Calello, Charles. "Calello's Billboard Magazine Top 100". Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Glaister, Dan (November 21, 2007). "Neil Diamond reveals secret of Sweet Caroline". The Guardian. London. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Beggy, Carol; Shanahan, Mark (November 21, 2007). "'Sweet Caroline' revealed". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  5. ^ Cohen, Sandy (November 20, 2007). "Diamond Reveals 'Caroline' Inspiration". Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  6. ^ https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2007/11/photo_hulton_archivegetty_imag.html
  7. ^ a b Respers, Lisa (October 20, 2014). "Neil Diamond reveals story behind 'Sweet Caroline'". CNN. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  8. ^ Appel, Rich (November 26, 2014). "Revisionist History, Part 5: Bon Jovi's 'Prayer' Answered, 'Caroline' Is Sweeter Than 'Sugar'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  9. ^ Billboard, Hot 100, August 16, 1969
  10. ^ "Gold & Platinum". www.riaa.com. RIAA. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 78.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 6011." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6010." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  14. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  15. ^ "Neil Diamond Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  16. ^ "Neil Diamond Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  17. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/30/69". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Sweet Caroline". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ "Neil Diamond: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Neil Diamond"
  22. ^ "RPM Top Singles of 1969". Library and Archives Canada. RPM. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  23. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1969/Top 100 Songs of 1969". www.musicoutfitters.com.
  24. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1969". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  25. ^ "Neil Diamond Album Overview Part 4: 1981-2003 The Compilation-Mania Years". Archived from the original on October 30, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  26. ^ Kole, William J. (March 27, 2020). "If you don't laugh, you cry: Coping with virus through humor". Winston-Salem Journal. Associated Press.
  27. ^ Browne, Ian (April 17, 2013). "Fenway Park's anthem started innocuously". MLB.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.Archive index at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Vosk, Stephanie (May 29, 2005). "Another mystery of the Diamond, explained at last". The Boston Globe.
  29. ^ Hirschfield, Adam (April 4, 2010). "Neil Diamond Sings 'Sweet Caroline' Live at Fenway Park". NESN. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  30. ^ Leimkuehler, Matthew. "How Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' became Iowa State's inescapable celebration song". Des Moines Register.
  31. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty1dwBCR6D0&ab_channel=neildiamondVEVO
  32. ^ Meltzer, Peter E. (2017). "Politicians Honoring the Music (State Songs- Rock, Official, Unofficial and Otherwise)". So You Think You Know Rock and Roll?: An In-Depth Q&A Tour of the Revolutionary Decade 1965–1975. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-510-71766-4. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  33. ^ "Pitt to play 'Sweet Caroline' at specific point of games". Associated Press. August 25, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  34. ^ Dipaola, Jerry (August 25, 2017). "'Sweet Caroline' at Pitt football games on the move". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  35. ^ Hoffman, Abby (October 24, 2014). "Sweet Caroline: A history of Pitt's sing-along tradition". The Pitt News. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  36. ^ Sayers, Tessa (October 14, 2018). "Touching me, touching you: The story behind 'Sweet Caroline' at Pitt". The Pitt News. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  37. ^ "How 'Sweet Caroline' became the Pitt fans' singalong". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 26, 2010. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "Pitt Fans, Sing Along with Coronavirus-inspired Version of "Sweet Caroline"". Pitt Alumni Association. 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  39. ^ "Pitt Panthers Apparel - Shop University of Pittsburgh Gear, Panthers Merchandise, Store". Fanatics.com Pintrest. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  40. ^ a b Horne, Kevin (September 23, 2013). "Sweet Caroline Returns to Beaver Stadium". Onward State. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  41. ^ Clark, Lauren (August 27, 2012). "Penn State Kills 'Sweet Caroline'". Boston Magazine. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  42. ^ "No 'Sweet Caroline' at Penn State games, no public allowed in most athletic facilities – This Just In". CNN.com Blogs. August 27, 2020. Archived from the original on September 2, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  43. ^ Perry, Dayn (April 20, 2013). "Neil Diamond sang at Fenway . . . uninvited". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  44. ^ "Neil Diamond to Donate 'Sweet Caroline' Royalties to Boston Charity". The Hollywood Reporter. April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  45. ^ "Neil Diamond to Donate 'Sweet Caroline' Royalties to Boston Bombing Charity". The New York Times. April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  47. ^ Austriancharts.at: DJ ÖTZI - "Sweet Caroline"
  48. ^ Andrews, Travis M. (March 20, 2019). "Jay-Z, a speech by Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and 'Schoolhouse Rock!' among recordings deemed classics by Library of Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2019.

External links[edit]