Everyone knows the song. Over 40 years since it was officially released on September 16, 1969, Sweet Caroline is practically an anthem for every karaoke singer who every bravely stepped up to the mic.
Whether you’re an artist or an engineer, inspiration to create can come from the simplest things. In Neil Diamond’s case, it was a photograph that inspired the hit single. When he wrote the song, Diamond likely had no idea that it would go platinum for sales of one million singles.
Nearly 40 years later, Neil Diamond revealed the secret muse that inspired Sweet Caroline and it all started with a picture in a magazine he had spotted some years before putting pen to paper…
It was an instant classic, a sweet tune that just makes you feel good the moment you hear it.
The catchy song has been played everywhere, from Fenway Park to wedding receptions. It’s the kind of song that you can’t help but sing along to, which likely contributed to its chart-topping success in the United States and later, in the UK.
Years before he penned the popular earworm, Diamond was flipping through a magazine at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. One photograph stopped him in his tracks and tugged at his heartstrings:
“It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony,” Diamond said. “It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there.”
His instinct was right, but it took a few more years for the song to emerge. The memory of that sweet image never left his mind and one day it surfaced again. His career was flagging and he was in desperate need of something to refresh his sound. Sure enough, “Sweet Caroline” would be the song to do it.
Though many asked him, he never revealed the source of his inspiration. It wasn’t until 40 years later, that he would finally reveal his secret to the press and the song’s subject, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg’s, at her 50th birthday celebration.
“I’ve never discussed it with anybody before – intentionally,” Diamond, 66, told Associated Press. “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. I thought she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and really, really happy.”
[h/t The Guardian]