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Music

Neil Diamond’s coronavirus parody of ‘Sweet Caroline’ is so good (so good, so good!)

Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond has written a new version of his classic “Sweet Caroline” for the pandemic.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

Neil Diamond shared a real gem on social media this weekend while in self-quarantine.

In an effort to boost spirits as the coronavirus continues to cause panic, the music icon updated a classic song to comment on these surreal times.

On Saturday, Diamond debuted a new version of his 1969 hit “Sweet Caroline,” with some fresh, CDC-approved lyrics.

“I know we’re going through a rough time right now, but I love you, and I think maybe if we sing together, well, we’ll just feel a little bit better,” Diamond, 79, said at the top of the brief video. “Give it a try, OK?”

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Perched on the hearth of his fireplace next to his adorable pet pup, Diamond then launched into the familiar tune on acoustic guitar. At first, the anthem seemed to play out as expected.

Then came the catchy pre-chorus:

“Hands, washing hands,” Diamond sang in support of coronavirus prevention habits. “Reaching out / Don’t touch me / I won’t touch you.”

The parody lyrics — much more appropriate for a pandemic than the original “hands, touching hands” — have amassed more than 100,000 likes on Twitter, as well as thousands of comments thanking the legendary singer-songwriter for the uplifting musical gesture.

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Diamond isn’t the only artist using the coronavirus shut-in as an opportunity to raise awareness through song. Last week, former teen pop sensation JoJo delivered a completely re-imagined take on her 2004 hit “Leave (Get Out),” promoting social distancing.

“Stay in, right now / Do it for humanity,” the 29-year-old sang from the comfort of her home, as opposed to the real words: “Get out, right now / It’s the end of you and me.”

Additionally, several musicians have been livestreaming performances to provide some entertainment and raise funds for coronavirus-related causes now that live concerts and festivals worldwide have been canceled amid the outbreak.


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