“Sweet Caroline” is the 1969 single from American singer and songwriter Neil Diamond that was recorded in Memphis, Tennessee at the American Sound Studio and arranged by Charles Calello. The soft rock song was written by Diamond with production also done by Diamond, Tom Catalano and Tommy Cogbill.
Speaking to Associated Press in 2007, Diamond revealed his inspiration for the song, stating that it was John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline, who was the inspiration for the song and was only eleven at the time of its release:
“It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony. It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there … I’ve never discussed it with anybody before – intentionally. I thought maybe I would tell it to Caroline when I met her someday. I’m happy to have gotten it off my chest and to have expressed it to Caroline (at her 50th birthday party). I thought she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and really, really happy.”
However, in 2014 Diamond stated that the song was actually about his then-wife Marcia, but he needed a three-syllable name to fit the melody that was created.
Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper in July 2015, Tommy Cogbill who produced the song and also played the bass on the track, revealed that Diamond was not happy with how “Sweet Caroline” sounded in the studio:
“Neil didn’t like the song at all. I actually remember him not liking it and not wanting it to be a single.”
Over the years, the song has become a firm favourite for sports fans across the globe, from the United States to the United Kingdom. The song began making its way into sports stadiums after fans of the Northern Ireland national football team adopted the song as an anthem after it was played at the end of the match in a defeat against in England in 2005. The song has been used at home matches ever since 2005, most notably at the UEFA Euro 2016 games and once again this year in 2021, at the 2020 Euros. On the 29th June 2021 after the England team won against Germany, fans sung “Sweet Caroline” at the end of the match, and brought England manager Gareth Southgate to tears. He commented on the impact the song had on the team and the country’s morale:
“So, to be able to send them home feeling as they do tonight, to hear them at the end… I mean, you can’t beat a bit of ‘Sweet Caroline’, can you? That’s a belter, really.”
After England’s semi-final win against Demark, the players led the crowd through a rendition of Sweet Caroline, perhaps adopting it as the new anthem.
There is no official music video for “Sweet Caroline”, but a YouTube user by the name of KarlStudios1 uploaded a video of Diamond performing the song live in September 2008. As of July 2021, the video has over 46.1 million views with over 226 thousand likes.
Release Date: 28th May 1969
Songwriter: Neil Diamond
Producer/s: Tommy Cogbill, Neil Diamond & Tom Catalano
Label/s: Uni/ MCA
Chart Rankings & Certifications: In its year of release, “Sweet Caroline” charted at:
– #3 in Australia
– #2 & #3 on various charts in Canada
– #7 in South Africa
– #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100
– #3 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary
– #3 on the US Cash Box Top 100
“Sweet Caroline” is certified Platinum in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The lyrics to “Sweet Caroline” can be viewed here.
Listen to “Sweet Caroline” on Apple Music.
Listen to “Sweet Caroline” on Spotify.