Monday, August 01, 2022

How did "Sweet Caroline" become a sports anthem?

Some people are crediting Neil Diamond's saccarine 1969 hit Sweet Caroline with galvanizing England's women's soccer team to beat Germany to take the UEFA Women's Euro Cup recently, and thereby to bring home the only major trophy England has won since that day back in 1966.

Sweet Caroline has been the de facto anthem of England's women's team for some time now (as it was for the men's team, and for the Boston Red Sox even before that), although I'm not sure anyone could say why. Nice and easy to sing along to, no complicated lyrics or key changes? Hardly a compelling argument; the same could be said for any number of other songs. It's not like the lyrics are even particularly appropriate for a sporting endeavour -  it's a syrupy love song (in fact, the lyrics are terrible: "Where it began, I can't begin to knowing ... Was in the spring, and spring became the summer", yadda yadda).

But for some reason, the song - by an American, no less! - has been adopted by the Lionesses' fan club as their own. Maybe it can be blamed on the Wembley DJ, Tony Perry, who had a tendency to play it at the stadium for some reason, although I'd be loath to lay the blame on one benighted individual. Whatever the reason, though, it may be marginally better than alternative England anthems Three Lions and Vindaloo, although not by much. It just seems a shame to be re-living Neil Diamond's musical crimes 50-odd years later.

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