Nation asked to sing Sweet Caroline for the Queen

By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

Published
Neil Diamond
Image caption,
Diamond's song has become an enduring classic, selling 1.2m copies in the UK alone

The nation is being encouraged to sing Neil Diamond's soft rock classic Sweet Caroline to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next month.

The song was chosen by listeners of Zoe Ball's Radio 2 Breakfast Show as an "uplifting, happy" melody everyone can sing at street parties on 5 June.

Announcing the campaign, Ball described the 53-year-old hit as "a song of togetherness".

It is hoped that 10 million people will join the singalong.

"We're hoping also that loads of grassroots music groups and choirs and school bands and brass bands will learn the song and perform it too," said Ball.

"We really want to encourage the country to all come together."

Image caption,
Zoe Ball announced the campaign in a live link-up between Radio 2 and BBC One

Diamond wrote the hit for his second wife Marcia Murphey in 1969.

However, he needed a three-syllable name to fit the melody ("Sweet Marcia" didn't work), and settled on the name Caroline after seeing a picture of John F Kennedy's daughter Caroline in a US magazine.

Released in the UK in 1971, it reached number eight in the charts, selling more than 1.2 million copies.

It has since become a wedding disco staple and an unlikely sports anthem, adopted by fans of the England football team and the Boston Red Sox.

Ball said it had emerged as a clear favourite from the "hundreds and hundreds" of suggestions sent in by Radio 2 listeners.

Other popular suggestions included Paul McCartney's We All Stand Together and Queen's We Are The Champions.

Radio 2's campaign to get the nation singing enlisted the help of the Together Coalition - which organised last year's "Thank You Day" for people who helped the nation through the pandemic.

This year's Thank You Day will take place on the last day of the Jubilee celebrations, 5 June, to pay tribute to the Queen after 70 years of service, as well as saying thank you for "the millions of tiny individual acts of kindness that make our communities the special places they are.

"Music is a great way of bringing people together, and this is a fantastic song," said Brendan Cox, co-founder of the coalition. "We'll be doing everything we can to get Sweet Caroline ringing out all over the country on 5 June."

Sweet Caroline lyrics

Figure caption,
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Verse one

Where it began, I can't begin to knowing

But then I know it's growing strong

Was in the spring

And spring became the summer

Who'd have believed you'd come along

Bridge

Hands, touching hands

Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Chorus

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I've been inclined

To believe they never would

Verse Two

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 holding you

Bridge

One, touching one

Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Chorus

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I've been 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

Good times never seemed so good

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