Luke Bryan usually throws a fun cover song into his set at some point during his shows, so you know he was going to have some fun with other stars’ songs during his annual Crash My Playa event in Mexico last weekend.
Sure enough, this video of Luke covering Neil Diamond’s classic 1969 hit, “Sweet Caroline,” surfaced this week. As always, Luke had the crowd singing along with every word. He even reached down to shake hands with fans on that slightly odd second verse, “Warm touching warm / Reaching out, touching me, touching you” (also widely listing on song lyric sites as “One touching one” rather than “warm,” which makes only slightly more sense).
Luke couldn’t have known it at the time, but just a few days after he performed this song, Neil Diamond made a major announcement. After 50 years on the road, the music legend has quit touring due to a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. As a result, Neil canceled his upcoming shows in Australia and New Zealand.
Some fans who planned to attend those shows Down Under have pledged to donate their refunded ticket money to Parkinson’s research. When Neil heard about their efforts, he tweeted, “This makes me smile. Thank you. Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of love and support. It makes a difference.”
On top of Luke’s “Sweet Caroline” cover, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Faith Hill took part in a hilarious sing-along of the song at last year’s Grammy Awards with show host James Corden and Neil Diamond himself. Check it out here.
Reba McEntire also weighed in with her well wishes to Neil Diamond upon learning of his retirement.
She writes on Instagram, “Thank you Neil Diamond for 50 wonderful years of your great music, amazing personality and love for your audience. Keep up the good fight, we love you!”
As for Luke covering “Sweet Caroline,” he has a really good reason to sing the love song since his wife is named Caroline. We imagine he’s been singing it to her ever since they met back in the late ’90s at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.
This isn’t the first time Luke has broken out “Sweet Caroline” in his concerts either. Here he is performing it during a stop in Atlanta last year on his “Huntin’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day Tour.”
Luke also included “Sweet Caroline” in this mega medley from last year’s Crash My Playa event along with snippets of Flo Rida’s “My House,” Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Prince’s “1999” also in the mix.
We have a feeling Luke might sing “Sweet Caroline” again on his upcoming “What Makes You Country Tour” in light of the news about Neil Diamond’s retirement. Luke kicks off the 2018 leg of that trek Feb. 16 in Springfield, Missouri.