I had the good fortune of changing the channel to CBC showing the closing ceremony for the 2010 Olympics just as Neil Young took the stage and performed his heartfelt classic “Long May You Run,” a beautiful song of remembrance that is actually written about Neil’s first car believe it or not. Just goes to show what kind of visions and emotion a great song writer can evoke with an offbeat topic like that.
Neil Young has three dynasties in this musical discography, each one take place at the end of a decade and beginning of the next. In 1989 Neil Young released the album “Freedom,” with his greatest song (in my opinion) “Keep On Rocking In The Free World.”
Every time I hear someone going on about politics in music, and mistakenly giving idiot bands like Greenday or System of a Down credit for being such, I can only shake my head. Screaming about nothing or whining about nothing, sure doesn’t seem political or deep to me, but writing great music that has hidden messages that don’t beat you over the head with, that’s something to credit. Neil has such a talent to make the problems of others seem so personal and close to heart, he makes you feel the pain of others and more than just that he makes you reflect on it.
Of all the songs I’ve ever heard in my entire life “Keep On Rocking In The Free World,” is among the very best, but its more than just a masterpiece of politic commentary and personal anguish captured in poetry, it’s a kick ass rock and roll song with great guitar riffs.
It is one of the best songs of all time, easily one of my top five favourites.
If you can’t pick out all the references to problems in the world some being very relevant at the time, well you’ll just have to figure that stuff out for yourself. If you aren’t moved by this song, then I have even worse news for you, you are an inhuman drone. “Keep on Rocking in the Free World” is one of the lyrically richest songs ever written, if you don’t feel something, then there is something wrong with you.
Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.
- Colin Kelly