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Neil Young — Down By The River
Album: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Avg rating:
8.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1927









Released: 1969
Length: 9:09
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Be on my side, I'll be on your side, baby
There is no reason for you to hide
It's so hard for me, staying here all alone
When you could be taking me for a ride

Yeah
She could drag me over the rainbow
And send me away

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river

Dead, ooh, ooh
Shot her dead, ooh

You take my hand, I'll take your hand
Together, we may get away
This much madness is too much sorrow
It's impossible to make it today

Ooh, yeah
She could drag me over the rainbow
And send me away

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river

Dead, dead, ooh, ooh, shot her dead
Shot her dead

Be on my side, I'll be on your side
There is no reason for you to hide
It's so hard for me, staying here all alone
When you could be taking me for a ride

Ooh, yeah
She could drag me over the rainbow
And send me away, yeah

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river
Comments (251)add comment


BCarn wrote:Over rated whiner.


 
On_The_Beach wrote:

Don't be so hard on yourself.
You can't help it if your taste in music sucks.
 

LOL....my taste is AWESOME! But hey, if you like whiners, your option.
NY is a whiner.
but why did he shoot his baby?
Hey Neil, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
huh?  all  I can say is this jams!
 
coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 

 coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 

THAT's a great sentence that might never be approved in writing class .
He made CSN a better foursome.
I'm a NY fan...but this guitar solo is grating on my nerves. Ugh.
{#Devil_pimp}zesty! hittin his stride in this era love it
I like Neil's voice so much better these days.
Perhaps I've grown accustomed to it.
Perhaps I just appreciate it more.
Perhaps I've heard Bob Dylan sing too much.
 narainmg wrote:
Guys, I know you love Neil Young so it breaks my heart to say this - he is a *horrible* singer.... but yeah I love him too. 

 
This is a debate that will have no end and has been going on since NY became a thing. The same can be said for his guitar playing. Love him too--at least this period of his career. 
 Rockit9 wrote:

Why... have you never bin dragged over the rainbow?
 
😎
 Prius wrote:
Good music but the lyrics are dreadful.
 
Why... have you never bin dragged over the rainbow?
now this is neil young! 10  awesome follow up to self title album.  
As a teenager this music fit the bill   it suited me well.  I marveled at the stereo separation coming from my system
 drictor wrote:

Yes, that.  This is one of those songs that stops me in my tracks every time.  Seems so simple on the surface but it just sucks you in and holds you there.  And it helps if you were kind of raised on it.

 
I couldn't say I was, but rest assured, it doesn't unhelp me. Loved this song right from the start when I first heard it, well into my thirties, if my memory doesn't fail me.
Good music but the lyrics are dreadful.
McKendree Spring did a really cool version of this song. 
To me  7 - Quite Likeable    almost 8
This my idea of a 'feelgood' song. I'm such a total fan even of the light and colors of that cover pic. Kudos to my older brother for being the reason I heard music from those years at the age of ten.
First thing I think of when I see the words Down by the River
On_The_Beach wrote:
https://i.makeagif.com/media/9-13-2015/hKTbGL.gif
(Sorry, couldn't resist. Arguably Farley's best bit.)

 


Poor choice, on the day.
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
So many things happened "down by the river" that they inspired so many songs of that title.

Those rivers have a lot to answer for! 

 
Psalm 137 is one of the oldest songs about being "down by the river".
Obviously not a song about gun control.
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
So many things happened "down by the river" that they inspired so many songs of that title.

Those rivers have a lot to answer for! 

 
Well the river reflects time: past, present and future, and all are one at the same time.
In a recent BBC Radio 4 interview, Noel Gallagher was asked "do you consider yourself a good singer" paraphrasing his reply, he said, yes, in the same way that Neil Young is the best singer of a Neil Young song, I am the best singer of my songs. Very insightful in my opinion. 
So many things happened "down by the river" that they inspired so many songs of that title.

Those rivers have a lot to answer for! 
 ico wrote:
bass line stolen from Donovan - Season of the Witch 1966 :)

 
No; it's similar (especially the tempo), but it's not the same bass line.  Both songs have I - IV progressions in the verses, though this one is in a minor key; there are only so many bass notes to play between two chords.
This is so good to my ears.  I love the simplicity and rawness of Crazy Horse in the background.  I was fortunate to see Neil and Crazy Horse a few years back play one of their last concerts.  Long live Rock and Roll.  
bass line stolen from Donovan - Season of the Witch 1966 :)
I taught myself to study for high school exams by listening to Decade over and over and over again in my parent's living room. I'd load both LPs in their record player and just keep flipping them over and over for hours. Boy does this take me back.
 narainmg wrote:
Guys, I know you love Neil Young so it breaks my heart to say this - he is a *horrible* singer.... but yeah I love him too. 

 
That's funny, since Neil has been nominated for the Juno Awards Male Vocalist of the Year 12 times between 1979-1997.

Let's stop peddling the silly memes.
 narainmg wrote:
Guys, I know you love Neil Young so it breaks my heart to say this - he is a *horrible* singer.... but yeah I love him too. 

 




He won an award for singer of the year way back when, his comment about that was "only in Canada would this happen". True perhaps, but part of what makes him unique and so good is the voice, it just has a way of grabbing you with the emotion it brings.
 BCarn wrote:
Over rated whiner.

I think "overrated" is such an odd term to apply to a subjective art form.
Guys, I know you love Neil Young so it breaks my heart to say this - he is a *horrible* singer.... but yeah I love him too. 
 {#Bananajam}{#Bananajam}{#Bananajam}On_The_Beach wrote:

Don't be so hard on yourself.
You can't help it if your taste in music sucks.
 

 leafmold wrote:
Sorry to all the haters. This song is still amazing after all these years. It gets in a groove and stays there. Rock on Neil.

 
Yes, that.  This is one of those songs that stops me in my tracks every time.  Seems so simple on the surface but it just sucks you in and holds you there.  And it helps if you were kind of raised on it.
                   
Oh how I love this song!  And yet, it provides a prime example of Neil's "one-note guitar solos".  

Maybe that's why I love it so?  The simple hammering that is considered a Neil Young solo.  Maybe.  Maybe it's the quiet bass groove that changes ever so slightly, but is hypnotically clear and unwavering ... 
.
.
.

..... and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.
 BCarn wrote:
Over rated whiner.
 
Don't be so hard on yourself.
You can't help it if your taste in music sucks.
Over rated whiner.
First time ever pushing the PSD button.  This is what I got.  Lucky me.
 nomnol wrote:
My favourite Neil Young song. It just is. 10

 
Mine too. After Cinnamon Girl and Cowgirl in the Sand and Like a Hurricane and Southern Man and Mr. Soul and Helpless and a few others. But I know exactly what you mean. 
And backing band Crazy Horse. 
 
Let's give some credit to Crazy Horse too.{#Bananajam}{#Guitarist} Great bass riff.
 hitjazz wrote:

Uhhhh...to my knowledge we never were a colony of Australia, mate.

 
Huh?  Canada as a colony of Australia?  Strange.....  

FWIW, 'the colonies' always refers to the former colonies of the British Empire.   There is no room for ambiguity.  
 leafmold wrote:
Sorry to all the haters. This song is still amazing after all these years. It gets in a groove and stays there. Rock on Neil.

 
Amen and yes, Rock on Neil.
OK.  I think the guitar work is great.  

It does reflect the period.  It is a bit self-indulgent.   But then self-indulgence is the probably single best word to describe the 60s/70s counter-culture.  Not all the self-indulgence from the period was bad.  Some of the experiments survive to this day.
 churchd wrote:
Neil Young playing a guitar solo like a fifth grader. {#Frown}

 
Neil's been pretty successful playing the guitar.  Tell us how you've done.
Sorry to all the haters. This song is still amazing after all these years. It gets in a groove and stays there. Rock on Neil.
My favourite Neil Young song. It just is. 10
 westslope wrote:

Being from the 'colonies', I think we can excuse you.   {#Cheesygrin}

 
Uhhhh...to my knowledge we never were a colony of Australia, mate.


 lowelltr wrote:
Good God this song is WAAAYYY too long....please make it stop!

 
Ordinarily I would respond with a snarky comment. I'll just say that it is sad that you don't have the capacity to appreciate brilliant music like this.
 thewiseking wrote:
I love Ole Neil. Always have. Nobody ever said he could play the guitar.

 
or sing...man, I really love Neil Young
 thewiseking wrote:
I love Ole Neil. Always have. Nobody ever said he could play the guitar.

 The Rolling Stone poll of other artists rates him #17 guitarist of all time. 


I love Ole Neil. Always have. Nobody ever said he could play the guitar.
 lososs wrote:
Does this end?... Ever?

 
The comments are all whiny and complaining but the silent majority has voted again.  8.2 rating
https://i.makeagif.com/media/9-13-2015/hKTbGL.gif
(Sorry, couldn't resist. Arguably Farley's best bit.)
Does this end?... Ever?
 jab49 wrote:

Sorry, I didn't mean it literally. In Australia that means "he was very young and just starting out", so to speak. A bit like "when Moses was wearing shorts". :-)  It's a brilliant album and I love it, and have bought it several times in one form or another. Cheers JT

 
Being from the 'colonies', I think we can excuse you.   {#Cheesygrin}
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
In many songs a lot of bad things seem to happen "Down by the river".  I would stay from that place if I were you...

 
Last time I was there, someone had taken me there and dropped me in it.
 kingart wrote:

Fifth grader? Then I surely think you may mean 1958. Or 1955. Young was born in 1945.  From a Rolling Stone piece:

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Number 34, 1969), which contains three of Young's most famous songs: "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River," and "Cowgirl in the Sand." The singer once told a journalist that they were all written in one day while he was stricken with a fever from the flu. 

This doesn't specify *when* he had the flu, but if it was in 1968, he wasn't a fifth grader, he was 22+ and had already passed through Buffalo Springfield. 

 

 
Sorry, I didn't mean it literally. In Australia that means "he was very young and just starting out", so to speak. A bit like "when Moses was wearing shorts". :-)  It's a brilliant album and I love it, and have bought it several times in one form or another. Cheers JT
So I hit PSD when "Mr Soul" was playing and it gave me this. I'll take it.
 jab49 wrote:

He **was** a "fifth grader" when he wrote this in 1968 - we all have to start somewhere. 

 
Fifth grader? Then I surely think you may mean 1958. Or 1955. Young was born in 1945.  From a Rolling Stone piece:

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Number 34, 1969), which contains three of Young's most famous songs: "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River," and "Cowgirl in the Sand." The singer once told a journalist that they were all written in one day while he was stricken with a fever from the flu. 

This doesn't specify *when* he had the flu, but if it was in 1968, he wasn't a fifth grader, he was 22+ and had already passed through Buffalo Springfield. 

 
 kingart wrote:

I think he's playing the guitar exactly as he wants to play it. In accordance with the lyrics about a quite addled dude on the run with his baby (but I do hope he means his girl friend, not his baby baby) for some badness or crime only alluded to, and he shot her. No lovely melodies there. 

 
He **was** a "fifth grader" when he wrote this in 1968 - we all have to start somewhere. 
 churchd wrote:
Neil Young playing a guitar solo like a fifth grader. {#Frown}

 
I think he's playing the guitar exactly as he wants to play it. In accordance with the lyrics about a quite addled dude on the run with his baby (but I do hope he means his girl friend, not his baby baby) for some badness or crime only alluded to, and he shot her. No lovely melodies there. 
Good God this song is WAAAYYY too long....please make it stop!
got bored of the bass line after the first hour or so... had to hit the PSD button, again.
NEATO, all these comments from guys waxing poetic about a song in which a guy "shot my baby, down by the river".  Oooooh, lalalala.....YIKES
I like Neil, but this is whacked! 
 churchd wrote:
Neil Young playing a guitar solo like a fifth grader. {#Frown}

 
Huh?

Neil Young playing a guitar solo like a fifth grader. {#Frown}
In many songs a lot of bad things seem to happen "Down by the river".  I would stay from that place if I were you...
 Chumbawamba-1984 wrote:
Recorded on a 4-track tape with no post-production? Eventhough dated back to 1969, it sounds like too much of a stereo effect sample all along. Excuse my ignorance.
 

I have always rather liked the separate instruments in L & R channels. It used to happen in the early days of stereo before the rules were so rigid. I’m kinda sorry it doesn't seem to happen any more. 


Never disappoints does Neil
There is no reason for you to hide...

"Like Hell there isn't—you're trying to shoot me!"
 On_The_Beach wrote:

  {#Clap}  Love this comment.

 
What Causes Tinnitus?

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of tinnitus. Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear. Carpenters, pilots, rock musicians, street-repair workers, and landscapers are among those whose jobs put them at risk, as are people who work with chain saws, guns, or other loud devices or who repeatedly listen to loud music. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus.


Awesome
God like!  This song always stops me and makes my head 'bob'.
 coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 
  {#Clap}  Love this comment.
Really one of my top 5 favorite male voices, immediately identifiable, clean, sweet, emotional and man at the same time. Guess if I were not a guy, I'd fall in love with him. I treasure RP for playing so many different songs by NY, including the not-necessarily-most-known (at least around here).
The dark side of the dark side of the moon 
Love this tune!
 agreed!
LowPhreak wrote:

So it's a crime to separate instruments L and R, or should everything just be a blob in the center?

I think not.

 



I don't know ... just love me some Neil ...

 
 Chumbawamba-1984 wrote:
Recorded on a 4-track tape with no post-production? Eventhough dated back to 1969, it sounds like too much of a stereo effect sample all along. Excuse my ignorance.

 
So it's a crime to separate instruments L and R, or should everything just be a blob in the center?

I think not.
 bitbanger wrote:

So waddid he say?

 
The battery chain in his Lincvolt malfunctioned. (Google up Lincvolt.) No biodiesel had been delivered.  There was two gallons of gas but he didn't want to put more in the tank. The whole long-distance road trek project was about car fuels for the future. So the plan for a few hours of location documentary work in Times Square, downtown FiDi and on Long Island died 15 minutes after the @!%^&(} car left the hotel garage.  I had no more than a cursory chat with Neil, he was anchored to the phone with his tech team trying to figure out wtf. Alackaday and fuck my luck, no talk about why she could drag him over the rainbow or rockin' in the free world, electric trains, Farm Aid, the Alberta tar sands... 
 
Recorded on a 4-track tape with no post-production? Eventhough dated back to 1969, it sounds like too much of a stereo effect sample all along. Excuse my ignorance.
 kingart wrote:
Maybe I'll have a moment to ask Mr. Young this question when I meet him later this week.  

If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.



  

Maybe he caught her messin' 'round with another man.  Huh!  And that ain't cool.

 
So waddid he say?
 Rick_V wrote:

Balls out guitar solo.



 
That poor guitar... what did it do to deserve this torture?
Time to let the taste linger and grow!
{#Yes} his best tune. all 80 minutes of it.........( beats sugar mountain by a bunch )
Fortunately for Neil he does not really need a firearm... he just needs to open his mouth and start singing and he kills everything within a 5 mile radius...

Vintage Neil.

Sheets of electric guitar. Solid rhythm section. Balls out guitar solo.


 unclehud wrote:

If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.



 
He also says she could "drag me" over the rainbow....hummm....
Neil in the news today talkin bout the mess being made in the north!

https://www.edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/Neil+Young+blasts+Harper+government+allowing+oilsands/9377863/story.html 
 kingart wrote:

If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.



  

Maybe he caught her messin' 'round with another man.  Huh!  And that ain't cool.

 
 
Hunting accident. Yup. She shouldn't have worn that light brown suede jacket with a white angora hat. *sigh*
 e_b wrote:
I always like jammin' along on my electric guitar during that 1-note solo part--that's about all I've got in terms of skill.

 

And I love playing my Bass along with this song.  Not that I'm any more skilled, but at least the pace is something I can hope to keep up with.
Drugs or alcohol. Or, he was losing her and didn't want anyone else to have her. I'd bet drugs or alcohol. Times were crazy. 
Maybe I'll have a moment to ask Mr. Young this question when I meet him later this week.  

If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.



  

Maybe he caught her messin' 'round with another man.  Huh!  And that ain't cool.
 unclehud wrote:

If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.



 

Maybe he caught her messin' 'round with another man.  Huh!  And that ain't cool.
 linden wrote:

People do a lot of things I don't want to hear about. For example, any act performed by someone with the name "Kardashian." And the person Neil is singing about doesn't exactly sound apologetic or self-reflective here — more like he wants us to feel sorry for him. I'd rather hear from the victim.

 
It's likely the victim would not be very chatty. {#Propeller}
I always like jammin' along on my electric guitar during that 1-note solo part--that's about all I've got in terms of skill.
He found there was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Bound to make anyone homicidal.


 
unclehud wrote:

If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.



 


If she could take him over the rainbow, why did he shoot her?  Never figured that out.


my fav NY album. and this song reminds me of my fav comedian, chris farley :b){#Bananajumprope}{#Lol}
Imagine 1969 again. No matter how loud you can play this it really doesn't sound like it was recorded with lots of volume. 
sometimes that just happens
Ha!  Great comment, Bill.  Hopefully, this girlfriend wasn't the Cinnamon Girl he claimed he could be happy with for the rest of his life!

The whole album's a 10, btw.
When will RP start broadcasting in PureTone format {#Wink}?
I have been listening to this song for over 40 years, still have the album, not sure but think the killing has something to do with the era and all the senseless killing in Vietnam.  
 coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 
I have the same reaction to this song...literally up and down the spine.
What a groove...and love that chunky rhythm. 
 coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 
Nicely put!  Couldn't have said it better myself.  
Perfection.
 coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 

Appears you're taking advantage of some of them new laws down there in Colorado.
 coloradojohn wrote:
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...
 

That's one of my favorite comments on any RP comment page!
I just never get sick of this song...
Probably the BEST song to jam to with HeadPhones on and turned to 11...somewhere in there, the barriers melt and the two hemispheres of the brain cross-fire in synch and when the spine-shiver signals from the body trigger proprioception in the cerebellum, that tingle of endorphin release comes and I know I have arrived to where Neil and Crazy wanted to put me to receive their peculiar brand of shaman-type insight, and man, it is ALL a matter of vibration and all a vibration of matter, and, true, there is this illusion that everything actually exists, but there is also this eternal and infinite plasma dance going on that is beyond mere perception and Neil knows it and shows it and has always taken it up and shared it out so well...

Forty years and all his music sounds the same... Singing should come from chest and lungs then out the mouth... The nose should play no part in singing... and if so, it should be a minor and supporting role... Forty years of one note in varying volumes... I am old, but he is older.

.....
This post apparently contained an image that was dragged into the post editor. Sorry, but any text contained in the post after this point has been lost.
i think he's talking about the conflict that human beings go thru
from you be on my side / i'll be on your side to i shot my baby
and the stereo separation sounds gereat on headphones