Welcome to an unusual edition of Music Monday, as we bend the rules in an unconventional year to present a fabulous video that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and might even make you cry.

(We normally feature music on Fridays, but since Christmas Day came out on a Friday this year — and because you need to end the year on a high note — we’ve implemented this temporary change.)

Regular readers also know that the music offered up in this column usually contains jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we’re including music by an artist with a gemstone in his name. Yes, we’re talking about Neil Diamond.

Diamond is keenly aware that 2020 has been an extremely difficult time for everybody worldwide, so the legendary 79-year-old singer staged a way to spread joy and togetherness. What you are about to see is Diamond’s global “Sweet Caroline” singalong, created from real fan submissions.

At the beginning of the video, a caption laid over a background resembling the facets of a black diamond explains how and why the musical piece was assembled.

“2020 has been a tough year for everyone,” Diamond wrote, “so we wanted to bring people together the best way we knew how: Through music.”

Diamond added, “To inspire people to come together, we challenged fans all around the world to sing along to ‘Sweet Caroline’.”

Fans were encouraged to upload their videos to the now-expired site, sweetcarolinesingalong.com, and they delivered in a big way. Thousands responded.

The edited clip shows people of all generations, nationalities and ethnicities pouring their hearts into the song, some playing instruments, others dressed like Diamond impersonators. We see toddlers singing with their parents, school kids singing with their buddies, Santa singing with his iPad, a stadium full of fans shouting “So good, so good, so good,” and even an elderly couple serenading each other while dancing closely. Clearly, some of the clips were captured before COVID-19 gathering restrictions were implemented.

As the song builds to a crescendo, the individual performers on the screen shrink and multiply to reveal the thousands of participants singing in harmony. The image then dissolves into a photo of Diamond superimposed over the same black diamond graphic that opened the presentation.

Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which was originally released in 1969, has been spotlighted in this column twice in 2020. Back in March, as the pandemic started to wreak havoc on our lives, Diamond spun up some new lyrics to the song in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

While performing in self-quarantine, Diamond replaced the popular pre-chorus, “Hands, touching hands / Reaching out, touching me, touching you,” with these health-conscious alternative lyrics, “Hands, washing hands / Reaching out, don’t touch me, I won’t touch you.”

Diamond, who stopped touring in 2018 due to a Parkinson’s diagnosis, just released his latest album, Neil Diamond with The London Symphony Orchestra, Classic Diamonds.

Please check out the video of Diamond’s fans singing “Sweet Caroline.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Sweet Caroline”
Written by Neil Diamond. Performed by his fans.

Where it began
I can’t begin to knowin’
But then I know it’s growin’ strong

Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touchin’ hands
Reachin’ out, touchin’ me, touchin’ you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
But now I…

…look at the night
And it don’t seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two

And when I hurt
Hurtin’ runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when holdin’ you?

Warm, touchin’ warm
Reachin’ out, touchin’ me, touchin’ you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
Oh, no, no

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline
I believed they never could

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.

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