Our top ten songs with the name Caroline in the title runs the gamut from ballads to rockers. Like Greg Allman’s lengthy search for just the right name while trying to write Sweet Melissa, sometimes finding the perfect name comes down to syllables. Well, it’s a little more than singability, too, but our Caroline songs have a good dose of flow, as well mystery. Not only do we highlight the Neil Diamond classic on our list, but a fabulous array of bands and styles, too. We cover newer blues songs and ’60s rock and roll numbers to singer-songwriters like Aimee Mann and British rockers Status Quo.
For anyone named Caroline, whether a princess or a Kennedy, it’s truly an honor when a talented artist writes a song with your name in it. Or maybe all that attention is a curse? The individual listener can answer that question for themselves. Read on to discover some of the most interesting songs with the name Caroline in the title and some cool details about each track.
Top 10 Songs with the Name Caroline in the Title
#10 – Caroline – Concrete Blonde
Concrete Blonde ushered in 1990 with their Bloodletting album and a song named “Caroline.” Frontwoman and bassist, Johnette Napolitano sang boldly in a unique and expressive style, annunciating each syllable to full effect: “Caa-ro-liine.” Furthermore, songs “Joey” and “Caroline” cemented Concrete Blonde’s place in the pantheon of female fronted alt-rock bands. (“Joey” hit #1 and “Caroline” #23 on the U.S. Modern Rock charts.) Along with that, there was also a memorable, but ambiguous, video for the song depicting dark characters and a seedy bar.
Napolitano cast an intriguing figure on the set, bass slung over her shoulder, telling a troubled story from the stage. What’s interesting is that the name Caroline, of German and French origin, means “strong.” Moreover, it is also the feminine version of Charles meaning ” free man.” Sounds like the perfect choice for an edgy ’90s song using a name normally associated with a sweet princess. As far as songs with the name Caroline in the title, this is a melancholy pick. However, one that is open for interpretation, and therein lies its beauty.
#9 – Caroline – The Rayo Brothers
Our most rootsy, Caroline song comes from The Rayo Brothers’ album Take You for a Drive (2017). The retro Americana band from Louisiana includes brothers Daniel Reaux and Jesse Reaux, as well as other fine musicians. After an acoustic guitar intro, the first verse sets the tone right away as Daniel immediately sings the name Caroline. When the banjo kicks in, the song trots off like a racehorse. With its country-rock and blues feel you can picture Bourbon Street or the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wherever your mind goes when a melody and lyric carries you away, painting a picture through your senses.
Perhaps, a more relaxed time, a country setting, drinking lemonade and singing about a girl named Caroline? You can imagine her “lonesome eyes” that keep the songwriter “dancing on a string.” Simple, dramatic word choices and effective lyrical arrangements are not easy to achieve so forcefully. Take heart, he’ll be kind to Caroline–it could be a waste of his time, but he doesn’t seem to mind. All in all, an elegant Caroline ditty reminiscent of Hank Williams’ songwriting style.
#8 – Goodbye Caroline – Aimee Mann
Who could forget Aimee Mann’s breakout song “Voices Carry” with her band ‘Til Tuesday? In “Goodbye Caroline” she reminds us why her singing hit such a nerve back in 1985. A recurring theme on her 2005 album The Forgotten Arm, is how people run away from their problems, but can never escape them. “Goodbye Caroline” comes after the first two tracks “Dear John” and “King of the Jailhouse”–you can see where this is going.
Mann took a turn, like many a classic rock band did throughout history, and decided to make a concept album. Of course, not in the grand sense like Tommy, but her album tells an intriguing story nonetheless. Each song is a little vignette that moves along like a screenplay. Mann’s storyline revolves around two characters, Caroline and John, and their edgy life on the road. When John leaves Caroline, Mann sings the hectic goodbye just like a good storyteller and texturizes the song with a mix of acoustic and electric guitars. She put down her bass for this album but handled the guitars along with Jeff Trott.
Through Mann’s delivery and songwriting, it’s likely people will ponder the couple’s fate. Don’t fret, the last song–bonus track #13–leaves things open-ended for Caroline and John.
#7 – Caroline (Are You Ready for the Outlaw World?) – Steppenwolf
When Steppenwolf released Hour of the Wolf, in 1975, their eighth album, it was a departure from the Canadian-American rock band’s “Born to be Wild ” days. On “Caroline” John Kay still delivers a raw, impressive vocal performance peppered with his signature singing style. For this effort, Andy Chapin replaced original keyboardist Goldy McJohn. Our seventh pick for a song with the name Caroline in the title, has a jangly rhythm and a lively horn section.
A true original, only Steppenwolf could pose a lyric, are you ready for the outlaw world? Maybe this unknown Caroline could have stepped on the wolf’s heart? Nah, it feels more like a cautionary tale advising a young girl about the wild, unpredictable world ahead. You won’t find any heavy metal thunder here, but a super addictive, swinging tune with a thought-provoking message.
#6 – His Daughter Caroline – Chuck Berry
A poignant song with the name Caroline in the title comes from Chuck Berry. A far cry from his ’50s boppers, this is a slow blues-rock ballad and explores a timeless concept. “His Daughter Caroline” looks at the lifespan of a little girl through her father’s eyes. Berry’s signature guitar tone is all over the song, which appeared on Chuck Berry in London, released in 1965 (Chess Records). A sweet little number clocking in at 3:16 minutes, the guitar icon pulls off a charming mix of warm guitar tones and a warmer message to match. It evokes an image of a Dad walking his daughter down the aisle during a ’60s wedding.
Even though little Caroline is all grown up, she is still his baby girl. For instance, the lyrics recall a father snuggling up his daughter in a blanket. Plus, the classy Berry guitar break in the middle of the song offers an opportunity for reflection. A reminder to enjoy the precious moments in life before they slip away.
#5 – Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
No doubt the most popular Caroline on our list is the sweetest. Although it isn’t our number one pick, it is a great one. “Sweet Caroline” came out in 1969 and became part of American popular culture like none other. For decades, many asked Neil Diamond who he wrote the classic tune about. In 2014, the singer finally answered that burning question honestly. This response came after many years of Neil Diamond offering various versions–mostly saying he was inspired by Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President JFK and Jackie Kennedy (later Onassis).
For whatever reason, Neil Diamond finally shared that “Sweet Caroline” was written for his wife at the time Marsha. While recording at American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, he needed a three-syllable name that could flow nicely along with the song. For obvious reasons, the name Caroline won out. Neil Diamond’s vocal approach, the heartfelt lyrics, and Charles Calello’s excellent arrangement, all contributed to the song’s originality and success. Of course, Neil Diamond performing it live for decades was the best way to honor his sweet song.
#4 – Caroline, No – The Beach Boys
What happens when you lose that happy glow? An ex-boyfriend pens a song called “Caroline, No” about your transformation. The tune off Brian Wilson’s first solo record in 1966, also appears on The Beach Boys’ iconic Pet Sounds album. Chock full of instruments from 12-string guitar and flute to harpsichord, the arrangement soars, chimes, chugs and barks on musical wings. Brian Wilson co-wrote the song with lyricist Tony Asher. Both Wilson and Asher were inspired to write the song based on their past relationships. “Caroline, No” explores change, the loss of youthful innocence and relationships.
Asher’s original title “Carol, I Know,” (Carol was his former girlfriend) was later changed to “Caroline No.” Adding the simple “no” after Caroline foreshadows the vibe of the song succinctly. The annunciation and vocal expression of Caroline is compelling. The story unfolds as the track moves along melodiously. The vocal group delivers an angelic performance hinting at a variety of interpretations. Ultimately, life’s not just about surfing and California girls, but a deeper, relatable story.
For sure, The Beach Boys’ songs are timeless. Singer LeAnn Rimes performed a touchingly stripped-down version of “Caroline, No” for the TV special, A Grammy Salute to The Beach Boys honoring 60 years of the California vocal group on April 9th 2023.
#3 – Caroline – Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac’s album Tango in the Night made 1987 a lot more legit. Fleetwood Mac created a refreshing record among the hair metal and pop bands on MTV at the time. As a result, Fleetwood Mac proved that they could still write together after their rocky history and Rumours‘ (1977) success. Tango’s wondrous tracks such as “Everywhere”–a Christine McVie masterpiece–”Big Love” and “Little Lies” brought the band even more visibility in their post-seventies career.
The tune “Caroline” is a great example of the band’s versatile songcraft. Lindsey Buckingham wrote “Caroline,” and repeats the name in the chorus over and over. The woman in question has a range of “attributes” from crazy and cagey to lazy–she keeps coming and keeps you running. A tumultuous picture of the human condition unfolds throughout Buckingham’s Caroline named song. Luckily, the music remains sane. The lavish production includes percussive but serene moments that lean into stunning guitar leads and rhythms, then an echo of background vocals arrive when you least expect them. On second thought, that is a kind of crazy arrangement–but in a good way.
#2 – Caroline – Status Quo
Britain’s long-running rock band Status Quo snags the number two spot on our list. Big surprise? We have another song titled “Caroline” on the list! She sure is a keeper with a great backbeat, making her way onto Status Quo’s 1973 album Hello! By the time this album came out, the band was more denim and hard-rock than their ’60s psychedelics. Still popular, “Caroline” reached the Top Five in the UK, which the group didn’t have any trouble doing over their long career.
The song starts with an upbeat rock intro led by the duel guitar team of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Clearly this “Caroline” song will have someone dancing around the house in their pajamas. Obviously, Hello! was labeled “boogie rock” for good reason. When the catchy chorus kicks in, you’re even more hooked. Originally, Status Quo wrote this song as a slow blues number, and the upbeat tempo is worlds away from that version.
The tempo suits the pleading nature of the lyrics that ask the age old questions: Are you alone tonight? Wanna rock and roll? Clearly, not a love ballad, but more teenage infatuation. All told, it ends as it starts with the band jamming around a Chuck Berry-style guitar hook. Delight in number two on our list. It is a straight-up, rock number that superbly vocalizes the three-syllable name Caroline in a deceptively rudimentary way.
Status Quo also wrote another song “Looking Out for Caroline” off Bula Quo, their thirtieth studio album released in 2013. That tune is decent, but not as special as our number two selection by Status Quo.
#1 – Oh Caroline – Cheap Trick
This is our number one song with the name Caroline in the title. “Oh Caroline” appeared on Cheap Trick’s second studio album In Color released in 1977. Not nearly as popular as their mega anthem “I Want You to Want Me” off the same LP, but it hits all the right notes. Robin Zander can sing his heart out, all day, every day, which he does beautifully on this track. He’s a one-of-a-kind frontman who still belts out Cheap Trick’s multi platinum hits awesomely. As for the tune, Rick Nielsen actually wrote all the lyrics and the music for the rocking song. As usual, his massive rock guitar playing kicks the song up a notch as well. Tom Pettersson lays down a low, rich bass groove supporting the tribute for this mysterious Caroline who inspired such adoration.
Zander does what he does best, switching vocal styles seamlessly. He enters the bass register, emphasizing the words “Love” and “Caroline” letting out a heartfelt, restrained growl. One line has him going to the end of the world for her love, and he sounds as if he means it. Interesting word choices add a special vibe to this Caroline song–all shining in their own way.
Admittedly, this is probably a lesser known Cheap Trick tune for the average classic rock fan. It’s not surprising some rock fans are bound to discover a new tune here or there among the band’s decades-long catalog. A well-played gem of a song, Rick Nielsen’s melodic crunching riffs bopping around and under Zander’s vocals are truly exemplary. An awesome ride to the end, the guitar takes us out. Oh, yeah! This song does the trick. That’s a wrap!
Top 10 Songs With The Name “Caroline” In The Title article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.