Neil Diamond is 79, and he still sounds so good, so good.
Rather than join in the pool of celebrities giving a botched rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” during these trying times, beloved singer Neil Diamond performed his own coronavirus edition of his 1969 classic “Sweet Caroline.”
Posted on Saturday, the heartwarming video featured the elderly Diamond sitting by the fireplace with his dog at his side as he strummed an acoustic guitar; his voice still as sweet as the song itself.
“I know we’re going through a rough time right now, but I love ya,” Diamond began. “I think, maybe if we sing together, well, we’ll just feel a little bit better. Give it a try, okay?”
Diamond, who retired from touring in 2018 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, went beyond giving it a try and gave it his all by putting his own COVID-19 spin on that famous refrain: “Hands, touching hands”; “reaching out / Touching me, touching you.” The new lyrics:
Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come alongHands, washing hands
Reaching, don’t touch me, I won’t touch you.
Keeping it cheerful and upbeat, the lyric “good times never seemed so good” remained.
Stay safe out there! “Hands… washing hands..” 🎶 pic.twitter.com/QaRB1qZshp
— Neil Diamond (@NeilDiamond) March 22, 2020
The video went viral, earning over 2.2 million views within hours. People across social media applauded Diamond, not only for his comforting message but also his sense of humor.
“Thank you, Mr. Diamond. During this time, we can’t be physically touching hands, but we can [be] ‘reaching out’ to one another virtually,” tweeted Chief Art Acevedo. “The silver lining in this temporary national and global challenge is it will remind us we are radically dependent on one another. Let’s seize the moment, reset as people, and let’s be kind to one another. Let’s lift each other up with acts of kindness.”
“I sang along and my spirits lifted! You are a national treasure, Neil Diamond. God bless you!” tweeted Emily Miller.
Last week, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger melted the internet when he released his own COVID-19 PSA featuring his mini horse and donkey.
“See, the important thing is you stay at home, because there is a curfew now,” said the actor. “Nobody is allowed out, especially someone that is like 72 years old. After you’re 65, you’re not allowed out of the house any more in California. So we eat at home.”
In the wake of the pandemic, celebrities have been stepping up to raise awareness about the importance of social distancing, an initiative encouraged by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
“What I really think we need to do … [is] get our influencers — [NBA players] Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, we need to get Kylie Jenner, we need to get our social media influencers out there and helping folks understand that look, this is serious,” Adams said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
To those young people nonchalantly assuming that they will be unaffected by COVID-19, Adams said that new data suggests otherwise.
“This is absolutely serious. People are dying. We again are seeing new data emerging from Italy that suggests that young people may be at higher risk in different situations than what we previously thought,” he said. “Stay off the beaches.”