“Sweet Caroline” is one of the most interesting “rock-ish” tune in our repertoire. It’s not a great song, but it is astonishingly memorable. It is so universally adored that I’ve never played “Sweet Caroline” when it wasn’t one of the biggest hits of the party. It also seems to be ageless, and genre-less. Everybody knows it, and everybody feels totally comfortable belting out the lyrics with our singers. That is a rather unique response to a very average song. A lot of people know some words to most tunes. But, with “Sweet Caroline” it is not uncommon to have the whole party singing with their arms around each other.
The most interesting element of the song, if you listen carefully, is the orchestration. The opening melodies are played by a French horn, followed by an oboe. When the famous “hands….” portions starts, it’s accompanied by shimmering strings, followed with a full horn section. All in all, it’s simply a remarkably famous song that people love to sing with, rather than dance to. But, as long as people are having fun, it’s all good. Here are the lyrics, which according to YouTube, was dedicated to President John Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline.
Where it began, I can’t begin to knowin’
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
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
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, hurtin’ runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I’m holding you
One, touching one. Reaching out, touching me, touching you