Neil Diamond rewrites ‘Sweet Caroline’ to help combat coronavirus

Neil Diamond performs on stage during a concert at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, on June 15, 2011. Steffen Schmidt / EPA

In the midst of the panic and chaos surrounding the novel coronavirus, Neil Diamond, the acclaimed American singer/songwriter, has shared an acoustic living room performance online in an attempt to connect with his fans across the globe and instil hope.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based musician — along with his dog Shamrock — shared a clever and incredibly relevant rewrite of his 1969 country-rock anthem Sweet Caroline, in which he sings about washing hands and social distancing.

“I know we’re going through a rough time right now,” says Diamond, 79, in the video shared to Twitter on Sunday, “but I love ya,” he adds.

Before breaking out into the updated number, he continues, “I think maybe if we sing together, well, we’ll just feel a little bit better.”

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While retaining most of the song’s original lyrics — which are ironically relevant to the outbreak of the global pandemic — in the pre-chorus, Diamond sings: “Hands… washing hands / Reaching out… don’t touch me / I won’t touch you.”

“Stay safe out there,” wrote Diamond in the video’s caption.

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The now-viral Sweet Caroline update was met with a great deal of positivity on social media, as Diamond intended it to be.

Here’s what some fans had to say on Twitter about the video:

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A day prior, Diamond even tweeted out sharing his appreciation for those who have continued working despite the threat of COVID-19, highlighting health-care workers and grocery store employees.

He wrote: “Thank you healthcare workers, first responders, supermarket employees, food service and utility workers, delivery drivers and everyone out there who is on the frontlines to keep everyone safe. We applaud you!”

He even included “#saferathome“, prompting many fans to share the hashtag which promotes self-quarantining.

READ MORE: Michael Stipe sings ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It’ in coronavirus PSA

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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