Neil Diamond Performs Tweaked Coronavirus Version of 'Sweet Caroline'

Neil Diamond's beloved classic "Sweet Caroline" is definitely not coronavirus-friendly, so the living legend changed up the lyrics in a surprising performance shared on Twitter this weekend. Rather than hands touching hands in the chorus, Diamond switched things up to make sure hands are washing hands and avoiding touching. Diamond's performance came just a couple weeks after he gave a surprise performance in Las Vegas.

"Hi everyone, this is Neil Diamond," the singer said at the beginning of the video, once his dog got out of the way. "I know we're going through a rough time right now, but I love you, and I think if maybe we sing together, we'll just feel a little bit better. Give it a try. OK?"

Diamond, 79, sang most of the familiar words to "Sweet Caroline," sitting in front of his lit fireplace, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. However, he tweaked the familiar "Hands, touching hands /Reaching out, touching me, touching you" line to "Hands, washing hands / Reaching out, don’t touch me, I won't touch you."

The video racked up 3.2 million views, over 98,000 likes and more than 38,000 retweets.

Diamond also showed support for health care workers during this difficult time. "Thank you healthcare workers, first responders, supermarket employees, food service and utility workers, delivery drivers and everyone out there who is on the frontlines to keep everyone safe. We applaud you," he tweeted on Saturday.

In January 2018, Diamond announced his retirement from touring after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and completing his 50th anniversary tour. However, on March 8, he surprised his fans by taking the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas during a benefit concert in his hoor. He performed several hits, including "Hello Again," "Cracklin' Rose," "Love on Rocks," "September Morn" and, of course, "Sweet Caroline."

"I'm feeling great," Diamond told PEOPLE after the event, which raised money for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. "This is an important thing they’re doing and I feel honored to be part of it and take part in it."

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Diamond is not the only celebrity using social media to lift fans' spirits. Comedian Steve Martin reminded everyone of his banjo skills by filming himself playing the instrument in his backyard. R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe shared clips of himself singing "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" and "Underneath the Bunker." Jojo recorded a version of "Leave (Get Out)" as "Chill (Stay In)" to encourage more people to self-quarantine.

Photo credit: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images