|Single by Neil Diamond|
|Neil Diamond singles chronology|
"Sweet Caroline" is a song written and performed by American recording artist Neil Diamond and released in June 1969 as a single with the title "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)". It was arranged by Charles Calello, and recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
The song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week ending August 16, 1969, and was certified gold by the RIAA on August 18, 1969, for sales of one million singles. "Sweet Caroline" was also the first of fifty-eight entries on the US Easy Listening chart, peaking at #3.
In the autumn of 1969, Diamond performed "Sweet Caroline" on several television shows. It later reached No. 8 on the UK singles chart in 1971.
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. Diamond sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007. 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 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. However, in 2014 Diamond said the song was about his then-wife Marcia, but he needed a three-syllable name to fit the melody.
There are three distinct mixes of this song. The original mono 45 mix had a louder 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 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.
The playing of "Sweet Caroline" has become a stadium anthem at many sporting events in the United States. In this version, the horn figure after Diamond sings "Sweet Caroline" in the chorus is replaced by the crowd singing "O O O", and after he sings "Good times never seemed so good," the crowd sings "So good, so good, so good." This pattern is repeated whenever the chorus is played.
The song has been played at Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox, since at least 1997, and in the middle of the eighth inning at every game since 2002. On opening night of the 2010 season at Fenway Park, the song was performed live by Diamond himself. It is also an unofficial song of the National Football League's Carolina Panthers (played following a home victory) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, being played at athletic events and pep rallies. This is likely due to the fact that Caroline is a variation of the feminine given name Carolina. "Sweet Caroline" was played at Penn State Nittany Lions football games at Beaver Stadium until August 2012, halting after the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Performances at Beaver Stadium resumed in September 2013, however. The song is played at the start of the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh Panthers Football games at Heinz Field. In response, West Virginia University students and fans will yell "eat shit, Pitt" during the refrain if heard played.
On April 16, 2013, the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, the New York Yankees – longtime rivals of the Red Sox – 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 April 25, 2013, "Sweet Caroline" was played following a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing 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 charity 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.
It is also played by the Castleford Tigers rugby league club before matches at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, following a surprise last-minute victory against the Wigan Warriors in the 2014 Super League season.
Northern Ireland national football team fans (the Green And White Army) have also adopted the song.