When Neil Diamond took it upon himself to show up at Fenway Park last week to sing his “Sweet Caroline” during the seventh inning stretch, he touched off a wave of nostalgia, because the early 70’s pop song went up a whopping 597 percent in sales!!
But it’s what Neil will do with his windfall that makes it really “Sweet”…
And… have you ever wondered why they sing “Sweet Caroline” in Boston?
I can remember a similar phenomenon played out in 2005 when Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” reclimbed the charts in the wake of it being EVERY sports teams theme song — especially the Chicago White Sox — who played the theme enroute to the World Series title.
“Sweet Caroline” rode its way to to the top of iTunes Top Singles and the Amazon hit list when the wave of “Boston Strong” fervor swept the nation following the tragic marathon bombing, and Diamond’s stunning surprise appearance at Fenway Park on the same day David Ortiz declared “This Is Our F***ing City!” to the world.
Fun fact: Diamond flew to Boston on his own dime, and called the Fenway Park office up that day and asked if he could come and sing live. Whoever took the call probably thought it was a prank, but the arrangements were made and history was too.
Neil has confirmed that all the profits from the singles new found success will go to the Boston One Fund which will go to the victims and their families, so this is a win-win.
If you ever wondered how “Sweet Caroline”, a song Diamond admits was inspired by Caroline Kennedy, made it to the seventh inning stretch at Fenway, the web site Boston Past Times tells it this way:
…the song got its start at Fenway Park thanks to Amy Tobey, who was the ballpark’s music director from 1998 to 2004. She was responsible for choosing the music to be played between innings and picked Sweet Caroline simply because she had heard it played at other sporting events.
At first, Tobey played the song at random games sometime between the seventh and ninth innings, and only if the Red Sox were ahead. Tobey considered the song a good luck charm and it soon became something the fans anticipated.
But it wasn’t until 2002, when John Henry’s group bought the Red Sox, that Sweet Caroline become an official Fenway tradition. That’s when the new ownership requested that Tobey play the song during the eighth inning of every game.
Okay, let’s do it — “hands touching hands, reaching out, touching you, touching me!!!”