A Reflection On Sweet Caroline, By Neil Diamond

1441 words - 6 pages

There is nothing quite as beautiful to the human ear as music. The talented people that bring such joy to all of us are the amazing musicians and songwriters in the world. There are upwards of five million musicians in the world and yet few write their own music. Even fewer have lyrics that are well known by millions and recognized by multiple nations and in different languages. A talent such as this is a rare and astonishing ability and not that Neil Diamond has seemed to have conquered. Mr. Diamond has been creating music that has charmed audiences for decades. His lyrics, catchy and sweet, have captivated listeners and made a name for themselves all over the world. His music came back into the limelight when he announced the inspiration behind perhaps the most popular of his songs- “Sweet Caroline.” American songwriter Neil Diamond went through many struggles throughout his life. From an insecure child to a struggling teenager; these experiences led to his personal, contemporary, soft rock lyrics and songs which catapulted him into the spotlight and shaped him into the incredible musician he is today.
To understand his music and inspiration, one needs to first understand his upbringing. Growing up, Diamond was extremely shy and had trouble meeting friends; in Contemporary Musicians he is described as “... an insecure Jewish boy who grew up in Brooklyn, New York” where he “changed schools nine times as a child.” (LaBlanc 73). These severe changes during such a young age, was paired with a fluctuating home life without much structure. Diamond had extremely rough early years where he “...tasted life on the fringes of Brooklyn’s desperate gangland world until he survived being shot twice in the head at the age of 12.” (Jackson 2). These events shaped Diamond’s life and affected him greatly, even to the extent where he later chose to live alone with the hopes of a more secure and safe life. Many of his personal experiences and reflections are presented in his lyrics and music. Whether it be specific situations or just simply the mood of a particular piece, the difficult upbringing influenced his songwriting greatly and helped shape him into the musician he is today.
The soft rock genre that guides Diamond’s songs was influenced by his discovery of the unusual A6 chord. This discovery was followed by a modern way of songwriting. “He had found a chord he had not even known existed, the key to what became the distinctive sound of “Sweet Caroline.” (Jackson 61). This chord is talked about by many, and seemed to be the drive behind, what was to become, the most famous song. As Wild says, “Diamond’s excitement seemed to focus on a chord in the song’s ‘touching hands’ section, a relatively unusual A6 chord that he never had played before.” (Wild 189). Though the song’s words came from one vision of his, the music and tune were ignited by the chord and were followed by excitement from discovering it. He had finally put the correct sounding notes to...

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