The song reached No. 4 on the Billboard HOT 100’ chart in August 1969 and was certified ‘gold’ by the RIAA in August 1969, for sales of one million singles. ‘Sweet Caroline’ was also the first of fifty-eight entries on the ‘US Easy Listening’ chart and peaked at Number 3.
In the autumn of 1969, Diamond performed ‘Sweet Caroline’ on several television shows. It later reached No. 8 on the UK singles chart in 1971. It is sung by many American football fans in their stadiums weekly.
In a 2007 interview, Diamond stated the inspiration for his song was John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline who was eleven years old at the time it was released. Diamond sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007.] On December 21, 2011, in an interview on CBS's ‘The Early Show’, Diamond said that a magazine cover photo of Caroline Kennedy as a young child on a horse with her parents created an image in his mind, and the rest of the song came together about five years after seeing the picture. However, in 2014 Diamond said the song was about his then-wife Marcia, but he needed a three-syllable name to fit the melody.
The song has proven to be enduringly popular and, as of November 2014, had sold over two million digital downloads in the United States. In 2019, ‘Sweet Caroline’ was selected by the 'Library of Congress’ for preservation in the ‘National Recording Registry’ for being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’.
The playing of "Sweet Caroline" has become a stadium anthem at many sporting events in the United States. In this version, after Diamond sings ‘Sweet Caroline’ in the chorus, the crowd mimics the horn part, followed by ‘So good, so good, so good...’ after he sings ‘Good times never seemed so good.’ This pattern is repeated whenever the chorus is played.
I dedicate today’s song to my sister Mary on her 75th birthday today. After my divorce, I started going to Scarborough on many weekends during the year with my three sisters Mary, Eileen and Susan. The Forde family had regularly holidayed in Caton Bay, Scarborough as children. Being a place fondly remembered as a place where our mother often took us (particularly the three eldest of the seven Forde brothers and sisters), it didn't surprise me a bit when I discovered that my sisters frequently hired a classy family apartment on the Scarborough seafront. We spent many a night following club singer, Danny Wilde who would perform in various venues around Scarborough every weekend throughout the year. Danny has been a good singer/performer for over 50 years now and though he may have lost his hair and his teeth over the past half-century, he hasn't lost his good voice, and also enters his 75th year this year.
Today’s song that I dedicate to Mary is a song that Danny never failed to include in his nightly performances; a song that would have everyone singing along and dancing to. Sheila also enjoyed a few nights following Danny at a Scarborough venue. We have spent a few of our courting nights following Danny, Sweet Caroline is a song that we have bopped to on many nights as we tripped the nights' Fandango.
Happy birthday, Mary. May your special day be filled with much happiness, love, peace…and…lots of cake and ale. I just want you and Eileen to know that I forgive you both for all the tricks you both played on me as we grew up and you resented my good looks and freedom that my mother allowed me, From your Big and Best Brother Billy x
Love and peace Bill xxx