Earlier today Bob Boilen wrote a piece for NPR’s “All Things Considered” suggesting a dozen songs that need to be “retired”. You know the types — classic tracks that we all agree have their indisputable merit, but ones that we just don’t need to hear any longer. Like “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction. Anyway, Boilen’s piece had some fair entries, like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Pharrell’s “Happy,” but it was missing one song in particular that no one needs to ever listen to again, but one that we’re forced to hear multiple times a fucking day.
“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.
This one is currently serving up a devastating one-two punch here in New England. Thankfully, the “one” ended yesterday as the Boston Red Sox were eliminated in the MLB playoffs. Turns out this season wasn’t “so good, so good” at Fenway Park. The other comes from that god-fucking-awful Hyundai Sonata commercial, where some dork is driving around Los Angeles singing some Diamond on his own until a miserable sod joins in and they exchange shiteating grins on their way to Whole Foods or wherever the fuck they’re off to.
Bah. Bah. Bah.
Anyway, while the Hyundai commercial is here to stay, Fenway Park is suddenly hibernating for the winter, and one Brighton man has taken the opportunity to petition the team to drop “Sweet Caroline” from its nightly ballpark experience and replace it with Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”.
“In the early 2000s when the team was competing for World Series titles, the song became synonymous with Fenway Park and Boston in general,” writes petition creator John Hutchings. “However, time has passed and the Red Sox, Boston, and Fenway Park itself are a lot different than in 1997, or 2004, or 2007 or even 2013. It’s a new era of Boston Red Sox baseball featuring exciting young players. Therefore it’s time to retire ‘Sweet Caroline’ and move on to something to represent the new era of Red Sox baseball.”
We’re here for it.
“With the recent passing of legendary rocker Tom Petty, who played an iconic concert at Fenway Park in 2014, there would be no better song to take the place of ‘Sweet Caroline, than Petty’s ‘Won’t Back Down,'” Hutchings adds. “Perhaps the strongest example of this came during Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS when the Fenway PA played ‘Won’t Back Down’ twice during the course of the home game, thrilling fans who sang along, and shared video of the large sing along on social media. The Red Sox would go on to win the game in exciting fashion, bolstered by their jubilant crowd.”
Hutchings’ petition only has three signatures, but it should only take a few more viewings of that Hyundai commercial to realize we all just need to take the L and move on from this one. It won’t take the car commercial off the air, but it’s a step in the right direction, and a necessary acknowledgment that this “Sweet Caroline” shit has gotten way out of hand.
Add it to Boilen’s list.