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No more singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ at Penn State football games

Aug 27, 2012, 11:14 AM EDT

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It’s the song they love to sing at Fenway Park, and at Davidson basketball games … and of course at Penn State football games. But that latter tradition is going by the wayside, it seems, as Penn State has announced it will no longer include the Neil Diamond song Sweet Caroline on its play list during football games.

The reason? Penn State officials say that they are simply updating the play list. But I’ll let you mentally scan the lyrics for a moment, and … yes, that’s it.

From the Altoona Mirror:

The non-band-related music will feature mostly what has been part of the mix inside the stadium the past few years. And while the Boston Red Sox, Pitt football and others have elevated “Sweet Caroline” to a staple for their games, that popular PSU tradition may be interrupted or discontinued.

Some concerns by university officials about its lyrics – “touching you touching me” – and the perception of people singing along to them in light of the recent scandal have been expressed.

A final decision will be made this week.

(Editor’s note: The Mirror has now received confirmation that “Sweet Caroline” will not be included in the musical play list for Penn State games this season.)

Actually the lyrics are:

Where it began
I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became a summer
Who’d believe you’d come along

Touching hands
Reaching out
Touching me
Touching you

Diamond has said that the song was inspired by a photo he saw of Caroline Kennedy, taken when she was 11 years old. At any rate, Penn State is being ultra sensitive to such things these days in wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, as one might expect they would. In 2011 there was an issue with the band including the Gary Glitter song Rock and Roll Part 2 on its playlist (Glitter spent time in prison for possession of child porn).


Two university officials denied Monday that had anything to do with the lyrics.

“Absolutely no song changes were made based on lyrics,” spokesman David La Torre said. “The song has come up on the list in recent years because it happens to be played in so many other professional and collegiate venues and has no real origination here at Penn State.”

Good news, though, Penn State fans: apparently, in-game singing of Livin’ on a Prayer is in no particular danger at this time.

  1. planck16 - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Other songs being banned from Penn State include:

    “Private Eyes” by Hall and Oates
    “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix A Lot
    “We are the Champions” by Queen
    “Informer” by Snow (A LICKY BOOM BOOM DOWN)
    Anything by R. Kelly
    Anything by The Police
    “Daddy” by Korn
    “Creep” by TLC
    “Thong Song” by Sisco (sp)
    “Knockin At Your Back Door” by Deep Purple

    All Penn State games will play:

    “Exodus” by Bob Marley

  2. bennywisest - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Well that is a bit of a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction there. If you want a song the Blue Band shouldn’t play anymore, may I suggest “Pinball Wizard.”

  3. afirst916 - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Plus didn’t Neil Diamond write this song about an adolescent Caroline Kennedy? Enough said…

  4. newlydead - Aug 27, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    now it’s just getting silly

  5. jon623 - Aug 28, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    You know what they SHOULD include?

    Run D.M.C – “It’s Tricky.”

  6. vikesfansteve - Aug 28, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    This whole time I thought Jerry Sandusky was just a ***** and it turns out he was just brainwashed by Neil Diamond.