10 Facts About ‘Southern Man’ By Neil Young

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Neil Young’s Southern Man was released in 1970, but the Canadian singer-songwriter believes it is still current, with the only variant being understanding it not just as a song about the southern United States, but referring to the entire country. 

Young Shared A New Version Of The Song In 2019

Young shared a new version dated 2019 on his website, commenting: “Here I am as an old man singing his 50-year-old song that was written after countless years of racism in the United States.”

From The Album After The Gold Rush

The song is part of the album After The Gold Rush, released on August 31, 1970.

A Deluxe Edition Will Be Released On Its 50th Anniversary

Recently, and especially during the pandemic quarantine period, Neil Young has become the protagonist of some performances at home, the Fireside Sessions as he waits for the 50th Anniversary of After The Gold Rush on March 19th, 2021.

Southern Man Vs Sweet Home Alabama

Neil Young wrote two protest songs in which he criticized the way of life in the South, especially concerning slavery, racism and violence. Lynyrd Skynyrd did not like it and they composed this song to pay tribute to that region even though they were from Florida and to answer Young saying that he was wrong putting all Southerners in the same bag for crimes that a few had committed.

Young Was Happy With Sweet Home Alabama

He said, “They play like they mean it, I’m proud to have my name in a song like theirs.”

Neil Young Wrote For Lynyrd Skynyrd

Following the release of “Sweet Home Alabama,” Neil Young composed various songs for Lynyrd Skynyrd as means of conciliation, including his last standby “Powderfinger.” Sadly, the plane crash occurred before they could use the songs. 

Greatest Hits Album Decade Notes

Young wrote: “This song could have been written on a civil rights march after stopping off to watch Gone With The Wind at a local theater.”

A Special Trial

Nils Lofgren guitarist by profession, performed piano on this tune, an instrument he never played before on After The Gold Rush. Young assigned Lofgren with playing piano as a “special trial,” revealed by Jimmy McDonough’s Shakey.

The Alleged “Feud”

Young diccussed the alleged “feud” stimulated between him and Lynyrd Skynyrd in a 1995 conversation with Mojo Magazine: “Oh, they didn’t really put me down! But then again, maybe they did! (laughs) But not in a way that matters. S–t, I think ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is a great song. I’ve actually performed it live a couple of times myself.”

Young’s Least Interesting Song

Randy Newman suggested that “Southern Man” was one of Young’s least interesting songs. “‘Southern Man,’ ‘Alabama’ are a little misguided,” he said. “It’s too easy a target. I don’t think he knows enough about it.”