The Neil Diamond classic hit ‘Sweet Caroline’ became an unofficial anthem for England fans at Euro 2020 as thousands of supporters sang it at Wembley and it also became the soundtrack to the Lionesses‘ Euro 2022 campaign.
With Diamond’s song being sung with such gusto at major tournaments, the American singer has been delighted and even sent well wishes to the Three Lions.
England fans already have an impressive catalogue of stadium tracks to sing, including ‘Football’s Coming Home’, World in Motion and Vindaloo, so how exactly did they come to sing Sweet Caroline?
GOAL brings you the lyrics of the iconic love song and some background about its association with football.
‘Sweet Caroline’ lyrics
Where it began,I can’t begin to knowing,But then I know it’s growing strongWas in the spring,Then spring became the summer,Who’d have believe you’d come along?
Hands,Touching hands,Reaching out,Touching me,Touching you…
Sweet Caroline!Good times never seemed so good.I’ve been inclinedTo believe they never would
But now I…Look at the nightAnd it don’t seem so lonely.We filled it up with only two.And when I hurt,Hurting runs off my shoulders,How can I hurt when holding you?
One,Touching one,Reaching out,Touching me,Touching you…
Sweet Caroline!Good times never seemed so good.I’ve been inclinedTo believe they never would, oh no, no.
Sweet Caroline!Good times never seemed so good.Sweet Caroline!I believed they never could.
Why do England fans sing ‘Sweet Caroline’?
While ‘Sweet Caroline’ is not traditionally associated with the England football team, it has long been used as a celebratory song for a number of English teams and sportspeople.
Aston Villa supporters have been singing the song for years, as have Chelsea fans, and it appears that there has been some assimilation among the national team fans.
Tony Perry, a DJ at Wembley Stadium, played his part in cementing the song as a terrace anthem when he played it instead of the traditional Fat Les song ‘Vindaloo’ after England’s Euro 2020 semi-final win against Germany.
“When England beat Germany, we’d actually played ‘Sweet Caroline’ in the pre-match build-up and both sets of fans reacted to it like crazy,” Perry told BBC Evening Extra.
“At that moment, I thought ‘I’m just going to hit ‘Sweet Caroline”, because it would do a better job than ‘Vindaloo’ with the sentiment of coming out of a pandemic and Gareth Southgate laying to rest the ghosts of Euro 96.”
England boss Gareth Southgate is a big fan of the new soundtrack to England’s on-field exploits, telling ITV : “You can’t beat a bit of Neil Diamond.
“It’s just a really joyous song, I think, that brings people together.”
Who wrote ‘Sweet Caroline’ & when was it released?
American singer Neil Diamond wrote and released ‘Sweet Caroline’ in 1969.
A single release, the song’s title takes its name from the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, though the lyrical theme was inspired by Diamond’s wife Marcia.
The song peaked at No. 3 in the U.S. charts at the time and only hit No. 8 in the UK charts, but its popularity has endured through the decades.
Do other teams sing ‘Sweet Caroline’?
England are by no means unique in football when it comes to singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ at games, with supporters of Northern Ireland taking exception to the idea that it is a Three Lions song.
Irish television presenter Eamonn Holmes jokingly told England to “get your own song” on Twitter after Southgate’s side defeated Denmark in the semi-final of Euro 2020.
Northern Ireland fans had actually been singing Neil Diamond’s hit since 2005, interestingly after a win over England.
As mentioned, Sweet Caroline is also sung on the terraces of Villa Park by Aston Villa fans and Stamford Bridge by Chelsea fans.
It has also been used as a walkout song for British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, as well as the Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox.
More football songs
World in Motion: New Order England song & John Barnes rap
Three Lions: ‘Football’s Coming Home’ lyrics & meaning explained
‘Yes sir, I can boogie’ – Lyrics & Scotland celebration song explained