Cracklin’ Rosie

Cracklin’ Rosie

This Blog is my Tribute to the song-writing genius of Neil Diamond and the Backstory to one of my all-time favourite songs – the sensual and seductive, “Cracklin’ Rosie”.

The very first vinyl single I ever bought was Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie”. I recall it cost S$1.90 then. I was 12 years old when the uplifting song first came out in 1970.

Yes, I started rock and roll at a young age. And I’m still buying music. In fact, these left and right brain entertainment goodies just arrived today (below image).

As a young lad, I always thought “Cracklin’ Rosie” was akin to Honky Tonk Women, “Brown Sugar” (Rolling Stones), “Black Magic Woman” (Fleetwood Mac, Santana), “American Woman” (Guess Who), “Proud Mary” (John Fogerty, CCR) and “Kentucky Woman” (Neil Diamond) etc. You get the idea. I stand partially corrected. More of this later.

1970 was a great year for great music. The radio airwaves kept playing “Let It Be” (Beatles), “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (Simon & Garfunkel), “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (Carpenters), “Make It With You” (Bread), “Candida” (Dawn), “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” (B.J. Thomas), “I’ll Be There” (Jackson 5), “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Diana Ross), “American Woman “ (Guess Who), “Everything Is Beautiful” (Ray Stevens) and, of course, “Cracklin’ Rosie”.

My Neil Diamond Healing Balm Stash (above image).

And now for the Backstory of Cracklin’ Rosie.

But first, some highlights of the song lyrics and you’ll see why I thought it was about a Woman.

“Oh, Cracklin’ Rosie, get on board

We’re gonna ride till there ain’t no more to go

Taking it slow

And Lord, don’t you know

Have me a time time with a poor man’s lady”

“Cracklin’ Rosie, make me a smile

Girl, if it lasts for an hour, that’s alright

‘Cause we got all night

To set the world right

Find us a dream that don’t ask no questions, yeah”

And the following stanza lies the big clue to who or what “Cracklin’ Rosie” is.

“Oh, I love my Rosie child

You got the way to make me happy

You and me, we go in style

Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store-bought woman

But you make me sing like a guitar hummin’

So hang on to me, girl, our song keeps runnin’ on”.

I always thought the words were “starboard woman”, thinking the lovers were on a ship. I stand corrected. So … it’s a “store-bought woman“, straight off from the shelf of a liquor store.

“Cracklin’ Rosie” must have been a heart-felt and personal song for Neil Diamond, it served as the opening song for his album “Tap Root Manuscript”. The song became Diamond’s first American Billboard’s No. 1 hit. I was captivated by the song as a twelve year old and I still get a happy lift when I hear it these days.

Neil Diamond was on tour in Canada in 1969, whilst chancing upon a little Native American village. Neil asked a young lady what people in the village did for entertainment. She mentioned that the men outnumbered the women in the village, and on weekends, the men who didn’t manage to land a date would usually buy a cheap sparkling wine called “Cracklin’ Rose”, get drunk and that was the their “lady” for their weekend.

Images from Internet

Some variations of Cracklin’ Rosie wine in the market place these days (above image). Happy to see Rosie is still happily strumming those guitars 54 years later.

From that village visit, Neil Diamond wrote the beautiful song – a poignant, melodic and metaphoric source of comfort, healing and joy. It is still especially relevant, serving as a three minute healing balm (emotional, spiritual, and dare I say, sexual) for today’s current stressful volatility.