“Good times never seemed so good” as when you’re remembering them while sheltering in place waiting for COVID-19 to go away. That’s why Neil Diamond’s new coronavirus edition of his classic anthem “Sweet Caroline” is putting a smile on our faces.
“I know we’re going through a rough time right now,” Diamond says at the start of his acoustic performance, which he posted to Twitter on March 21. “But I love ya, and I think maybe if we sing together, well, we’ll just feel a little bit better.”
Then he starts playing the guitar and singing the normal “Sweet Caroline” lyrics until he gets to its pre-chorus:
“Hands/Washing hands/Reaching out/Don’t touch me/I won’t touch you,” Diamond sings.
Stay safe out there! “Hands… washing hands..” 🎶 pic.twitter.com/QaRB1qZshp
— Neil Diamond (@NeilDiamond) March 22, 2020
Fans seemed to love it, with 44,000 retweets and 114,000 likes as of press time.
“Thank you Neil for being a national treasure, and being the breath of fresh air we need in these trying times,” said one Twitter user.
Diamond, 79, hasn’t performed much since retiring from touring in 2018 due to Parkinson’s disease, making his social media performance even more of a treat.
Like singing “Happy Birthday” twice or the ABCs once, you also can use Diamond’s song to time your own handwashing. From “Hands washing hands” through “To believe they never would” is about 40 seconds, and singing just the main “Sweet Caroline” chorus takes about 20 seconds.
We’re not sure if Diamond caught wind of a popular coronavirus meme teasing about the lyrics of his 1969 hit being inappropriate in light of social distancing, but we love his new adaptation all the same.
The meme was posted to Twitter by @actioncookbook and spawned a thread full of song lyrics with reactions from the Centers for Disease Control.
NEIL DIAMOND: touching hands
CDC: no don’t touch hands
NEIL DIAMOND: reaching out
CDC: please avoid that
NEIL DIAMOND: TOUCHING YOU-
CDC: everyone is Boston is doomed
— actioncookbook (@actioncookbook) February 28, 2020
Come to think of it, Diamond’s opening lines of “Sweet Caroline” also mirror the evolution of COVID-19: “Where it began/I can’t begin to knowin’/But then I know it’s growing strong.”
Let’s hope that, as in the song, spring became the summer — and leads to coronavirus dissipating around the globe.
Will you be singing along to Diamond’s new version of “Sweet Caroline?”