At this point, “Sweet Caroline” is probably intractably associated with the Boston Red Sox (two World Series wins = they finally supplanted that scene in Beautiful Girls that forever added the “ba-ba-baaaa” to its chorus), and the wave of publicity afforded by the team’s latest World Series win has prompted Neil Diamond to reveal his muse for the track: a 10-year-old Caroline Kennedy, whose hand was apparently touching hand and reaching out with .. a pony. Wait, what?
Diamond was a “young, broke songwriter” when a photo of the president’s daughter in a news magazine caught his eye.
“It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony,” Diamond recalled. “It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there.”
Years later, holed up in a hotel in Memphis, he would write the words and music in less an hour.
“It was a No. 1 record and probably is the biggest, most important song of my career, and I have to thank her for the inspiration,” he said. “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.”
The enduring hit recently reappeared on the singles chart, thanks in part to the Boston Red Sox. “Sweet Caroline” is played at every home game.
“I think they consider it good luck,” Diamond said, adding that the Red Sox have become his favorite baseball team.
Hooray, she was touched. (Ha ha, get it?) Happy endings all around! Actually, a really happy ending for me would result from the revelation that the Red Sox are now Diamond’s favorite team: Maybe this means “Caroline” will no longer get played during the eighth inning of Mets games. Sloppy seconds are so unappealing, am I right?