In the aftermath of Monday’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon, sports teams have been playing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in efforts to give solace to those affected by the tragedy.
“What resonates for me tonight is the way music can offer comfort to people in times of joy or sorrow,” Diamond, 72, told The Times on his way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony Thursday night in L.A. “Tonight there are so many people getting awards, and sometimes you sense the questions ‘Why are we doing this? Does this really matter?’ I’ve asked those questions of myself many times.
“And it turns out that it does matter,” he said. “With a tragedy like this, there are no words, but if people can find healing in music, this is the reason I’ve been doing this for the last 50 years. It goes beyond what I ever imagined.”
“Sweet Caroline” has been played regularly as a theme during Boston Red Sox games; since the explosions that killed three and injured 170 more, the Dodgers, New York Yankees, Toronto Raptors and other teams have played it during games and encouraged fans to sing along.
Diamond, who was inducted into the Rock Hall in 2011, wrote the song in 1969 with President John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy in mind.
“I wrote it in a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee,” he said recently. “And I think there’s a little bit of God in that song. I always have felt that. There’s no accounting for what can happen to a song.”
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