Neil Diamond Joins Boston Strong To Sing “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park
Posted on April 27, 2013
By:Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb
Hats off to singer/songwriter Neil Diamond who surprised officials and the crowd at Fenway Park on April 20 to lead the singing of his mega hit “Sweet Caroline.” The tune has become the anthem of the Red Sox’s historic ballpark located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts (see previous post: “Sweet Caroline” & Night Air at Fenway – Entwined As One Of Life’s Joys).
For MLB.com, Jason Mastrodanato wrote that after arriving in Boston last Saturday, when a pre-game show was scheduled before the Red Sox game to honor heroes and victims of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombings, Diamond called Fenway and said, “I’m here. Can I come?”
Thrilling the crowd, Diamond walked onto the field.
“Thank you Boston. What an honor it is for me to be here today. I bring love from the whole country,” he said.
He then led a stirring rendition of “Sweet Caroline” which was followed by chants of “USA” from those among the 35,000 in attendance. According to Diamond’s website (www.neildiamond.com), ballpark personnel did not have a version of the recording without vocals, so Diamond took the lead with an audio track playing in the background. His show of solidarity with Boston Strong – a theme which has become representative of this grand city’s response to the bombings – added to an emotion-filled day at Fenway.
Diamond’s generosity of spirit did not stop there. As was reported on CNN and confirmed on his official website, in a recent Twitter message Diamond announced he plans to donate the royalties from “Sweet Caroline” that soared 597 percent, selling 19,000 since the bombings, to One Fund Boston (onefundboston.org) which was set up to assist victims of the tragedy.
On Twitter, Diamond also has been sending out thank you messages to other Major League Baseball teams that played “Sweet Caroline” at their stadiums over the past several days to honor the people of Boston.
Various published reports state that it was Amy Tobey, a former musical director at Fenway, who first played “Sweet Caroline” during games there in 1997. Red Sox fans seemed to feel an immediate connection. Now, at the request of ballpark management “Sweet Caroline” is played during the 8th inning of each home game. Diamond revealed a few years ago that he was inspired to write the song by a photo of Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy and Massachusetts native son, sitting on her pony as a child. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg was on-hand last year for the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park to hear “Sweet Caroline” sung, and reportedly, Diamond also sang it for her at her 50th birthday party.
Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond: 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, Oh no -no, 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 shoulder, How can I hurt when I’m holding you, Warm, touching warm, Reaching out, touching me, touching you, Sweet Caroline, Good times never seemed so good……..
A tally recorded on redsox.com shows to date, $26,548,975 has been raised for the One Fund Boston – of that, $8,906,975 is listed as private donations and $17,642,000 as corporate donations. MLB.com reports that the Red Sox in conjuction with contributions from their fans, MLB and the MLBPA, the players association, have raised $646,000 for the charity. As well, the Red Sox were to auction off the uniforms they wore last Saturday for the cause, and, an additional $300,000 has been raised from special B-Strong hats being sold at YawkeyWayStore.com.
According to their respective team websites, the family of Robert Kraft, who owns the New England Patriots National League Football team based in Foxborough, MA, pledged to match the first $100,000 raised through their charitable foundation for One Fund Boston – so far, that pledge has netted $617,000; the Boston Bruins are auctioning and raffling off game-worn jerseys from their April 20 match for the fund; and the Boston Celtics have committed to raise $200,000 for One Fund Boston through their Shamrock Foundation.