10 Facts About ‘Southern Man’ By Neil Young

10 Facts About ‘Southern Man’ By Neil Young | Society Of Rock Videos

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - OCTOBER 26: Singer Neil Young performs at the 16th annunal Bridge School benefit concert October 26, 2002 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Neil Young introduced “Southern Man” in 1970, a song he believes still holds relevance today. Instead of viewing it solely as a commentary on the southern United States, Young encourages understanding it as a reflection on the entire country.

1. Revisited in 2019
Neil Young revisited “Southern Man” in 2019, sharing a new version on his website. In doing so, he underscored the song’s enduring relevance, a poignant reflection on decades of racism in the United States.

2. Part of “After The Gold Rush”
The song finds its place in the album After The Gold Rush, released on August 31, 1970. It remains an integral part of Young’s musical legacy.

3. Upcoming Deluxe Edition
As Neil Young approaches the 50th anniversary of After The Gold Rush on March 19, 2021, he engages in at-home performances, such as the Fireside Sessions. Fans can anticipate a deluxe edition release.

4. Comparison with “Sweet Home Alabama”
Young’s critique of southern life in “Southern Man” and “Alabama” prompted Lynyrd Skynyrd’s response with “Sweet Home Alabama.” Despite the contrasting viewpoints, Young expressed pride in having his name associated with the latter.

5. Positive Reception of “Sweet Home Alabama”
Neil Young commended Lynyrd Skynyrd’s rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama,” appreciating their authentic performance and acknowledging his pride in being connected to the song.

6. Attempted Reconciliation
Following the release of “Sweet Home Alabama,” Neil Young sought reconciliation by composing songs for Lynyrd Skynyrd, including “Powderfinger.” Tragically, these efforts were cut short by a plane crash.

7. Civil Rights Inspiration
Neil Young suggested that “Southern Man” could have been inspired during a civil rights march, possibly after watching “Gone With The Wind” at a local theater. This insight adds a historical context to the song’s creation.

8. Unusual Piano Performance
Guitarist Nils Lofgren, primarily known for his guitar skills, took on the piano for “Southern Man” as a special trial assigned by Neil Young. This unconventional choice added a distinctive touch to the song.

9. Addressing the Feud
In a 1995 conversation with Mojo Magazine, Neil Young addressed the alleged feud with Lynyrd Skynyrd, acknowledging the playful banter but expressing admiration for “Sweet Home Alabama.”

10. Critique from Randy Newman
Randy Newman’s critique labeled “Southern Man” as one of Neil Young’s least interesting songs, suggesting it, along with “Alabama,” might be a bit misguided and an easy target. Newman hinted at Young’s potential lack of depth on the subject matter.

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