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Cracklin' Rosie by Neil Diamond

Album: Taproot ManuscriptReleased: 1970Charted:
  • "Cracklin' Rosie" is a bottle of wine. Diamond got the idea for the song from a folk story of an Indian tribe in Northern Canada who had more men than women. He told David Wild at Rolling Stone: "On Saturday nights when they go out, the guys all get their girl; the guys without girls get a bottle of Cracklin' Rosie, that's their girl for the weekend."
  • This was Neil Diamond's first American #1 hit, although he had previously written a number of hits for other artists including "I'm A Believer," which was a 1966 #1 for The Monkees. Two years after "Cracklin' Rosie," he topped the American charts again with "Song Song Blue" and in 1978 his duet with Barbara Streisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" became his third and last US #1.
  • This was Diamond's most successful single in the UK.
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Comments: 36

Like many of his songs, Neil Diamond almost talks instead of sing. Which, like with Frank Sinatra, works beautifully. This song chugs along starts to finish and never releases you. Gorgeous.Steve - Ottawa
Here's some obscure trivia:
On September 10th 1897 the first documented DWI occurred when London, England cab driver George Smith was arrested after he slammed his taxi into the side of a building...
He was fined 25 shillings...
And seventy-three years later on August 16th, 1970 Neil Diamond's "Crackin' Rosie" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #62; seven weeks later on October 4th it would peak at #1* for 1 week...
{See next post below}...
It was preceded and succeeded at #1 by two Motown acts; "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross and followed by "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On August 16th 1970, "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #62; and on October 4th, 1970 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart {also peaked at #2 in Australia, Belgium, and Ireland}...
The week "Cracklin' Rosie" entered the Top 100, his "Solitary Man"* was at #28, three weeks later on September 12th it would peak at #21 {for 1 week}...
* "Solitary Man" was a re-entry record; it first entered the Top 100 on May 15th, 1966 and eventually peaked at #55.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
.....here's the link to the Jackson Browne youtube "Rosie". . . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cT-i8NhoFAHarry - La, Ca
It just so happens that a couple of you hit the nail almost on the head. The song is all about a blow-up doll Diamond nicknamed "Rosie". Other connotations include ("rosie palm" which you can hear all about in Jackson Browne's song, "Rosie".) :) Yes, these two are experts at tailoring lyrics around wacky subjects (no pun intended!) to relieve (no pun intended again) their boredom. Now go to Browne's concert and listen to his opening remarks on this youtube performance of "Rosie".Harry - La, Ca
Diamond tells several stories about each of his songs. Sweet Caroline was never about Caroline Kennedy, but today he tells that story. Originally, the song was from a story Diamond was told about a group of lumberjacks, NOT Indians. While deep in the woods of Canada on week ends the lumberjacks were too far from any town or village to go party. They drank cheap wine called "Crackling Rose' " and would talk about their girl friends or what they would do to various ladies once they got finished at the lumber camp. Thus the line "Cracklin' Rose your' a store bought woman. The whole song is about the lumberjacks getting drunk and talking about women. Listen to the lyrics and this makes sense. The melody is fantastic and this song has one of the best hooks in rock and roll history. Diamond was almost most concerned with a powerful hook in the chorus. All his songs, "I'm a Believer", "Sweet Caroline", "Hello Again" and his many dozens of hits have powerful hooks.Coy - Palestine, Tx
LOL, the lyrics are about a bottle of cheap wine, and I always thought it was about some hot woman! Figures though, couple this with Neil's Red Red Wine, I would say Neil enjoyed his alcohol and it entered his lyrics often.Brian Foley - Auckland, New Zealand
You gotta admit, the lyric "don't need to say please to no man for a happy tune" gets a little more interesting when the song is interpreted as being about a bunch of lonely men.Stacia - Lompoc, Ks
Hitchin on a twilight train...he's a hobo with his bottle of Cracklin Rosie.Ed - Asheville, Nc
Oh for petes sake.

Its obvious he's singing about a pig.
Robbo - Auckland, New Zealand
This was one of many hits that made listening to AM radio in the 60's and 70's so hip.Rick - Belfast, Me
LOL John, Penguin Falls, Iceland... your remark is so very hilarious... What an imagination! No wonder you work for effeminate men hahahaNacho - Guadalajara, Mexico
Someone once told me he was singing about a blow up sex doll and I guess if you don't know the real story, it could easily be interpreted that way.Laura - North Richland Hills, Tx
The original "Cracklin' Rosie" probably was a bottle of wine. Neil apparently was taken with the name, and wanted to use it in a song. That does not mean that the song is necessarily about wine, or women. Personally, the reference to "store born" suggests to me cheap wine (i.e. the lonely drunken batchelors). But it could be a prostitute. Perhaps both meanings were intended.John - Auckland, New Zealand
Phil, from Victoria...you got it right. I was the Reporter who interviewed Neil the night Cracklin Rosie came into being.Annie - London, , United Kingdom
Crackin' Rose your a store bought woman, makes perfect sense to believe that he is referring to a bottle of alcohol, because it makes him sing like a guitar humming, i know alcohol does that to me too.. (well maybe I don't sing like a guitar humming). I heard the story that he was in Canada and it was so cold and remote only males could bear it there so to pass time they all got drunk on cheap alcohol. As far as it being a Indian tribe or not though im not sure on that. This is one of my favourite songs up there along side bob dylan.David - Christchurch, New Zealand
Classic song by a master. In my part of the world the 'fabled' hidden meaning is that Crackling Rosie, is a 'store bought' blow-up doll. Read the lyrics guys and prove me wrong....Gale - Melbourne, Chile
In the 1960's, in San Francisco area, a major wine company, perhaps Gallo, produced a red wine named Cracklin' Ros'e( RO-SAY ). You could buy a gallon for a dollar or a dollar fifty. For those who didn't have or couldn't afford a lady, the next best thing for some was a store bought,poor man's lady! You could take Cracklin' Ros'e on board slowly by sipping and drink all night and feel like a guitar hummin'! Neil Diamond is one of the great original singer/songwriters!!! - Bob, San FranciscoRobert - San Francisco, Ca
I was told by someone that there was a real Rosie (Rose). When he was living in Hollywood. It's not about a bottle of wine. The person who told me this was told by someone who knew him and her. Also his first choice in carreres was to be a MD. but when he was in med school someone collapsed in front of him and he couldn't revive them so he decided he shouldn't be a MD. He then pursued a music carrer. This is what I was told.Julie - Solvang, Ca
Diamond's two best songs are both about a lonely man singing to his drink: one comic and self-deprecating (Cracklin' Rosie), the other blue and pathetic (Red Red Wine). The hooker reading of the song is all right, but takes the wit and pathos out of it: the song works because he doesn't have a woman and he's making the best of it by getting drunk and singing suggestively to "her"--the bottle. Very witty (musically as well as verbally)--too bad Diamond veered into Vegas-schmaltz terrain before long.Jay - Syracuse, Ny
I am from Iceland, and I now work as the Broadway Musical Director for afeminate men here at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. I researched the actual lyrics to the aforementioned song and found that the original title was meant to be, "Crack Lickin Rose". This title was chosen after a particular shopping event where Mr. Diamond was in the process of purchasing leather pants the night before his concert in Woburn Abbey, England (July 2, 1977). While in the midst of trying on several pairs of very tight bright orange leather pants, a random act of blatant dressing room homosexuality broke out between he and one of the store clerks. "Crack Lickin Rose" means, if parsed down for review, "crack lickin" obviously an oral bit of foreplay between the he and the clerk and "rose" which is a standard homosexual term for the anus.

Glad I could help shed some light on this topic. Thank you and have a nice day =)
John - Penguin Falls, Iceland
Hey, I think the best songwriters, Neil Diamond being one of them, can write a song and give it that double meaning. Hence, could be about that bottle of wine or a hooker, it's written with a little tongue-in-cheek humor.Camille - Toronto, Oh
About the information: All of you have the right information except Wilfred and Jon-Michael. Those two do not know hoboes and Indians from Adam.Darrell - Eugene
You have all got your information right. Cracklin' Rosie is not a girl, she (actually IT) is a BOTTLE OF WINE in a PAPER BAG! Wilfred and Jon-Michael, you have obviously never mingled with hoboes or American Indians! I have!Darrell - Eugene
I think Diamond is a fantastic singer! but i have heard him interviewed many times in which he has given different accounts of how songs came to be. Which left me slightly bemused.
But he mostly tells the story of the Indians and the wine.
Paul - Belfast, Ireland
The following is a direct quote from what appears on the album "Love Songs" a compilation of Neil Diamond songs produced in 2002... I have it right in front of me, so if you don't believe it, do your research!

"In DIAMOND, A BIOGRAPHY, Diamond is quoted as saying "Cracklin' Rosie" is an interesting story. During an interview I had with a girl who was working with a newspaper in Canada, she told me that her parents were medical missionaries on the Indian reservations in northern Canada. And she began to tell me what their lives were like and what experiences they had. She told me that on one of the reservations there were more man than women, and come the weekends or holidays, a lot of men were out of luck - there weren't enough girls to go around. And so they would go down to their general store, and they would buy a bottle of very inexpensive wine called Crackling RosÃ?. This wine became their woman for the weekend, and they called their woman "Cracklin' Rosie". And that's what the song was about." Phil. From British Columbia, Canada.
Phil - Victoria, Bc, Canada, Canada
Actually, the story about the indians and the wine came from a reporter that was interviewing Neil. SHE told Neil the story to him about there not being enough women so those men who didn't have a date spent the evening drinking Crackling Rose', and Neil changed the name to Cracklin Rosie. Check out the facts in the book "Neil Diamond: A Solitary Star". The story was verified and written about in this book by the author.Marcia - Beverly Hills, Ca
I'm suprised no one here has listened to the lyrics. Cracklin' Rosie may have been a bottle of wine, but in this song he's talking about a hooker. Atleat, that's one interpertation.Steve - Manhattan, Ny
I am part canadian indian and Emmma you have been miss-informed. Neil Diamond wrote Cracklin Rosie after he bought a bottle of the popular wine of that name in an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada liqour store one nite after a he played a concert here. I working the dispatch for the taxi he took. FYI, the indian women out number the men two to one.Emily Whitefish - Edmonton, Canada
Emma, I'll take your word for the interview. I didn't mean to sound contemptuous. Neil has written some beautiful melodies, and they all showcase his beautiful voice. I've heard this song all my life (and find myself singing along with it),and I just meant that it doesn't really seem to be "about" anything to do with Indians working on the railroad. "Inspired" by the Indian's nickname for cheap wine-- OK. "Intrigued" by the name Cracklin Rosie--OK. "Moved" by the notion of a sort of temporary comfort that you can buy in store--I'll give you that. But a song that, in the words of our host site, "tells of an Indian tribe in Canada who apparently had more men than women. The men who did not have women would buy bottles of red wines and the bottles of wine would become their women for the weekend"--I don't think so.Dirk - Nashville, Tn
Actually this is true - I saw Neil Diamond interviewed and he said it was the nickname given by the young, single men of an Indian tribe he'd visited for their homemade alsoholic drink which they would sit round the fire and drink together. He thought it sounded catchy and so wrote a song about it.Emma - London, United States
Sorry, Mr. Cool Website. This one isn't flying. "This song tells of an Indian tribe in Canada who apparently had more men than women." Huh? An Indian tribe in Canada? Where is the reference here to an Indian tribe in Canada? Oh, OK. And The Wizard of Oz tells the story of the unflinching football rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Why not? And Blue Oyster Cult's anthem Don't Fear the Reaper captures the struggle of Franklin Roosevelt to kickstart the American economy after the banking collapse of the early 1930s.... Let's be serious. Neil Diamond had an unbelievably rich voice and he recorded a handful of powerful little pop songs. But none of them was ever about ANYthing except Neil Diamond's voice and whatever arbitrary images he could croon to keep women fantasizing about being crooned to by Neil Diamond.Dirk - Nashville, Tn
Neil Diamond had another no.1 in 1988, Red Red Wine, by UB40Mirza - Jakarta, Indonesia
It is my understanding that the song is about the workers on the Canadian Transcontinental Railway, many of whom were native Indians. With little to do with their evenings, they turned to a bottle of wine for company.
Alan - Madison
Alan - Madison, Wy
man, i don't believe that wine thing for the world.!Jon-michael - Augusta, Georgia, Ga
""Cracklin' Rosie" is a bottle of wine. This song tells of an Indian tribe in Canada who apparently had more men than women. The men who did not have women would buy bottles of red wines and the bottles of wine would become their women for the weekend."
You've got to be kidding me!!! Neil Diamond could actually think of something that sick... well... it's always the ones you least suspect.
Wilfred - Melbourne, Australia
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