Ba, ba, ba!

 

Neil Diamond’s 1969 song ‘Sweet Caroline’ was an ode to the then young daughter of late president John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline.  Neil was writing a song in Memphis, Tennessee, for a session and he needed a three-syllable name for a song that was written about his second wife Marcia Murphy at the time (married in 1969 divorced in 1995), but he said that he couldn’t get anything to rhyme with Marcia.  I guess Neil never heard of king Harsha who was an Indian emperor that ruled North India from 606 to 647 CE, or the articles on the weekly Torah portion, called the parsha, or the Russian name Tarsha, which is short for Natasha.  Neil Diamond didn’t reveal the inspiration for the song until some 42 years after the its release.  He said that he’d seen a picture of Caroline riding a horse on the cover of Life magazine some years earlier.  This was the September 7, 1962 issue, which meant that this PG-13 tune “Hands, touching hands Reaching out, touching me, touching you” was inspired by a four-year-old girl, which seems sort of creepy.  Neil Diamond said that the name Caroline did come from Caroline Kennedy, but she had nothing to do with the song’s inspiration.

Diamond was a young, broke songwriter in the early ‘60s and this cute photo of Caroline Kennedy that he saw in the magazine showing a little girl dressed in her riding gear, sitting on her pony seemed so innocent, that he felt there was a song in there.  A few years later, Diamond wrote the song in a Memphis hotel in less than an hour.  Caroline was 11 years old when the song was released and in 2007, however, Diamond performed the song via satellite at Caroline Kennedy’s 50th birthday party, telling her that the song was about her and she said that it made her really happy.  The song reached number 4 in the US, but it only got to number 8 in the UK in 1971.

Neil Diamond is famous for his loyal fans, and they enjoy chiming in on a number of his songs during his concerts.  A curious fact about this song is that after Diamond sings “Sweet Caroline” in the chorus the crowd starts singing “ba, ba, ba”, 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.  ‘Sweet Caroline’ became the unofficial song of the Boston Red Sox, but it was only played during random games, between the middle of the 7th and 9th innings and it was only played if the Red Sox were ahead in the game.

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
Then spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touching hands
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’d be inclined
To believe they never would
But now I

Look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely
We filled it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I’m holding you

One, touching one
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’d be inclined
To believe they never would
Oh no, no

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline
I believe they never could

Sweet Caroline

10 thoughts on “Ba, ba, ba!

  1. People attribute creepiness to everything now, but there’s nothing to suggest anything like that about Neil Diamond. He saw a photo. He needed a three-syllable name. I suppose “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” is creepy too. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I strive to be non-judgmental when I write and I think that the point I was trying to make was that Hands touching me and you should not be in a song about a 4 year old girl. Also I did say that Caroline had nothing to do with the song’s inspiration. I think that Neil is a great guy, although this is not the music that I usually listen to.

      Like

      1. I hear you. In these parts all of the poorest kids want to be basketball stars in the NBA. There needs to be a clause — if there isn’t already — in the contracts that a lifestyle of ethics and integrity is expected as they represent the team and are idolized by the kids. I know that’s magical thinking because they teach them how to play cutthroat from the beginning.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was living in New England I used to go to Red Sox games three or four times a season and when they played “Sweet Caroline,” everyone in the ballpark went nuts. I only remember it being played at the bottom of the eighth inning and I am pretty sure they played it regardless of whether the Sox were winning or losing. So good! So good! So good!

    Liked by 1 person

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