Neil Young Stands Up
Neil Young is at it again. Next month, he’ll release the second volume of his autobiography, Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars (Blue Rider/Harper), in which he carries us on a journey through his career as passengers in the cars he’s bought, loved, and cared for over the years. The book is in part a manifesto about the devastation that fossil fuels have reaked — and here Young recognizes the irony of his life-long obsession with autos, going so far as to measure the carbon footprint of each vehicle in terms of its mileage and the amounts of gas it guzzled. In the final chapter of the book, Young regales us with the story of his ongoing efforts to work to create a car that will run on some combination of biofuels and electricity.
Today, on NeilYoung.com, Young announced his new song, “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?” which will be on his upcoming new studio album, Storeytone. He debuted the song with Crazy Horse at shows in the U.K. this summer, and included it in his solo acoustic set at Farm Aid in Raleigh, North Carolina, in September. Devoted fans stood up and sang along to the this eco-anthem in which Young implicates us all in the destruction of the environment through our continuing dependence on fossil fuels. In his way, Young has written the “Big Yellow Taxi” of the early 21st century.
In his tireless way to capture the musical moment, Young has released the song in three versions: the Crazy Horse performance, the solo acoustic set, and a track he recorded backed by a 92-piece symphony and choir. As he told Billboard in March: “I’d like to make a record with a full-blown orchestra, live — a mono recording with one mic. I want to do something like that where we really record what happened, with one point of view and the musicians moved closer and farther away, the way it was done in the past. To me that’s a challenge and it’s a sound that’s unbelievable, and you can’t get it any other way.”
Live version with Crazy Horse:
Solo Acoustic version:
Young will announce more on his new album soon, but here are the lyrics so you sing along with Neil:
Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.