For the first time in his career, Neil Diamond made an appearance at Fenway Park to sing “Sweet Caroline” with Red Sox supporters. When Diamond, 81, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s illness in 2018, he retired from performing.
However, Diamond was in Boston for the world premiere of A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical. After a six-week run in Boston, the show will launch on Broadway.
“Sweet Caroline” was Diamond’s third performance of the song at Fenway Park. In 2010, he joined the crowd in singing the song at the Red Sox’s season-opening game.
He returned to Fenway just a few weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings three years later. Beginning in 1997, the Red Sox began playing “1969” every time they reached the eighth inning. In 2002, they made it a permanent tradition.
How Neil Diamond Made His Rare Post-retirement Appearance?
Since at least 1997, the Red Sox have been playing Diamond’s 1969 classic in the middle of the eighth inning, and since 2002. Many sports teams, from a variety of sports, have now adopted the song as a type of anthem, in the manner of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Just a tad less threatening.
“Sweet Caroline” was played live by Diamond himself at Fenway Park by the Red Sox on Opening Night in 2010. He returned to Fenway Park in 2013 following the Boston Marathon bombing to lead the audience in a version of “Sweet Caroline,” donating his royalties from the song’s revival to charity.
Broadway Veteran Will Swanson Joined Diamond
According to Billboard, Diamond was joined by Broadway veteran Will Swanson, who featured in the film A Beautiful Noise Starting on June 21, the show at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre will go on through July 21.
Steven Hoggett provided the choreography under the direction of Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). This was written by Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes).
A star of Neil Young’s like Mark Jacoby said to the Boston Herald, “Neil’s music is very accessible regardless of where you are in the course of your life,” star Mark Jacoby told the Boston Herald. “The fact that most of it was written in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s doesn’t pigeonhole it… You can tell the young people in our show, they’re loving it. They are loving what they are doing.”
How Did He Announce His Retirement?
In the wake of his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, the living icon announced his retirement from performing after completing his 50th-anniversary tour. Diamond announced his retirement from concert traveling in January 2018, saying, “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,”
Diamond said in January 2018. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and was planning to come to the upcoming shows.” Diamond went on to add, “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good.'”
When he was a teenager in the 1960s, he started writing songs for other musicians, and in 1966, he started recording his own hits. He remained active in the music industry until 2018.
It was in 2014 that he published his latest album of original music, Melody Road. After being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2018, he was also honored with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.