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The story of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" has it all: love, baseball, Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and the triumph of the human spirit. It's Pop's answer to the national anthem, and as any karaoke fan or Boston Red Sox fan will tell you, singing it is easier than "The Star-Spangled Banner." Since the song is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, it's time for a good time-so good, so good, so good-to immerse yourself in the rich story of a tune. People will sing again in 2069.

"Where it started, I can not begin to know," Diamond sings in the song's iconic opening lines. Aside from the fact that the "where" part of this story is actually quite simple: Diamond wrote "Sweet Caroline" in 1

969 in a Memphis hotel room on the eve of a recording session at American Sound Studio. At this point in his career, Diamond had established himself as a pretty well-known singer-songwriter with two top 10 hits – "Cherry Cherry" and "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon". He also wrote "I am a believer", which brought the Monkees at the end of 1966 to No. 1.

The "who", as immortalized in the texts in the identity of "Caroline", is the much juicier question. In 2007, Diamond announced that he was inspired by a photograph of Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy, whom he had seen in a magazine in the early '60s when he was a "young, broke songwriter "was.

"It was a picture of a little girl dressed up to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony," Diamond told the Associated Press. "It was such an innocent, wonderful picture that I instantly felt there was a song in it." Years later, in this Memphis hotel room, the song was finally born.

Perhaps because it's a bit scary, Diamond kept that tidbit for years, and I did not release the message until Kennedy's 50th birthday in 2007 after the song's performance. "I'm glad I got it off my chest and voiced to Caroline," Diamond said sheepishly, but she seemed impressed and very, very happy.

The action became increasingly violent in 2014 when Diamond told the band at NBC TODAY that the song really is his first wife, Marsha. "I could not name Marsha in the three syllables Diamond, "said Diamond," so I had Caroline Kennedy's name from years ago in one of my books. I have & # 39; Sweet Caroline & # 39; "Sweet Caroline" was released in 1969 at # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Over the next decade, it was covered by Elvis Presley, the soul-sized Bobby Womack, Roy Orbison and Frank Sinatra, who rated the old "Blue Eyes "version as the best.

" He did it his way, "said Diamond The Sunday Guardian in 2011." He has not copied my record at all. I have heard this song from many people and there are many good versions. But Sinatra's swinging big-band version surpasses them by far. "

Another key question in the" Sweet Caroline "saga is" why " – why is the song at Fenway Park in Boston, a city with no apparent connection to Diamond, one in Brooklyn It's all about a woman named Amy Tobey, who worked for Sox via BCN Productions from 1998 to 2004. During those years, Tobey had the great job of making music at the Sox She noticed that "Sweet Caroline" was a crowd puller, and like any good baseball fan she soon developed a superstition, if the Sox were up and Tobey thought they were going to win the game, she would put the song somewhere between the seventh and the second "I actually considered it a lucky charm," said Tobey. The Boston Globe in 2005. "Even if they were just a run [ahead]I could do it anyway. It was just a feeling. "It became a normal affair in 2002, when Fenway's new management challenged Tobey to play" Sweet Caroline "during the eighth inning of each home game, regardless of the luck score on the actual diamond, but this was not the case, as the Sox won the World Series in 2004, finished the "Curse of the Bambino" and gave Beantown their first title since 1918. In 2010, Diamond unexpectedly appeared on Fenway with "Sweet Caroline" during the season opener of the Red Sox against the New York Yankees. He wore a Sox cap and a sports coat that read "Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn."

Another mood greeted Diamond as he returned to Fenway on April 20, 2013 Five days after the Boston Marathon bombing, three people were killed and nearly 300 were injured. "What an honor it is for me to be here today," Diamond told the crowd. "I bring love from all over the country." Then he sang together with the 69 recording of the song and led the crowd in the "Ba! Ba! Ba!" and "So good! So good! So good!" Ad libs that have become essentially official texts. Diamond also donated all the royalties he received for the song this week. The downloads increased by 597 percent.

The Red Sox are not the only sports teams to bask in the glory of Sweet Caroline. The song has become popular with both the Penn State Nittany Lions and Iowa State Cyclones football teams, and has even crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become part of the music rotation for English crew team Castleford Tigers and the British Oxford United Football Club.

For five decades, the lives of millions of people have been touched on one way or another by Sweet Caroline. The continued popularity must be a pleasant surprise for Diamond, who had no idea that he had written a classic in 1969. "Neil did not like the song at all," said Tommy Cogbill, bassist at American Sound Studio, an interview for the 2011 Memphis Boys book. "I actually remember that he did not like it and did not want it to be a single."


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