Celebrate the Heart of Country, Americana, and Roots Music!

Drop Us A Line, Y'all

Y'all interested in advertising, partnering up, contributing stories, joining our team, or just got a question? Well, don't be shy, drop us a line!

Follow Us

Neil Young’s “Southern Man” Remains True to the Times Today

Neil Young + Southern Man
by

“Southern man, better keep your head  Don’t forget what your good book said…” – The first two lines of Neil Young’s “Southern Man” didn’t keep him from expressing his opinion about racism during the Civil Rights Movement in American South. With references to the Ku Klux Klan, the blues-rock song written by Canadian-American singer-songwriter Neil Young and released in 1970 was composed out of his bitter condemnation. 

In writing the song, Young said that it was more about the civil rights movement rather than the Southern part of the U.S. But because many did not appreciate the generalization, Neil Young’s music was under fire. 

Because of the controversy it caused, other artists wrote songs in response to “Southern Man” as an attempt to change the perspective of people towards the South, specifically Alabama. 

Lynyrd Skynyrd, for example, wrote “Sweet Home Alabama”, meant to be a good-natured answer to Young’s song explaining the good side of Alabama. Now, Lynyrd Skynyrd was known to be big fans of Young, so the song wasn’t at all a negative reaction. When they’d perform “Sweet Home Alabama,” they’d even wear Neil Young T-shirts. 

To this, Young said that he was “quite happy” with “Sweet Home Alabama”. “They play like they mean it, I’m proud to have my name in a song like theirs.” As a result, Neil Young wrote songs like “Powderfinger” for Lynyrd Skynyrd as a way to reconcile. 

Meaning Behind The Song

In the first verse, Young shows a picture of the stance of the “Southern Man.” He establishes the disparity between “tall white mansions” and “little shacks” and then further emphasizes when the Southern Man will “pay them back” because of the “screaming and bullwhips cracking.” 

In the second verse, Young talks about lynching or hanging. Beyond themes of racism, however, Young wrote the song in his Topanga Canyon studio during his marriage with his first wife, Susan Acevedo. At that time, they were not getting along, so it is implied that his overall mood translated into this track, which to him is an “angry song.” 

What about you, what do you think about Neil Young’s “Southern Man”? Check out the video below and find out.  

Latest Stories

Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” Says Alcohol Can’t Heal Wounds

Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” Says Alcohol Can’t Heal Wounds

Still not feeling numb after five drinks? If you’re trying to move on from a heartbreak, we hate to break it to you, but Merle Haggard’s lyrics in “Tonight the ...

5 Ashley Cooke Facts You Need to Know

5 Ashley Cooke Facts You Need to Know

On the road to becoming a country breakout star, Ashley Cooke is an up-and-coming artist who is known for her smash hit “Your Place” in 2023. She brings down-to-earth vibes ...

Huercasa Country Festival 2024: What You Need To Know

Huercasa Country Festival 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title: Huercasa Country Festival 2024Festival Duration: July 5-7, 2024Venue: Las Delicias Municipal Soccer Field in Riaza, Segovia, SpainPerformers Include: Kaitlin Butts,  Myron Elkins, A Thousand Horses, The Wonder Women ...

Under The Big Sky 2024: What You Need To Know

Under The Big Sky 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title:Under The Big Sky 2024Festival Duration:July 12-14, 2024Venue:Big Mountain Ranch in Whitefish, MontanaPerformers Include:Billy Strings, Miranda Lambert, Turnpike Troubadours, and moreTicket Information: Get Your Tickets Here It’s that time ...

Country Jam USA 2024: What You Need To Know

Country Jam USA 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title: Country Jam USA 2024Festival Duration: July 18-20, 2024Venue:Eau Claire Event District in Eau Claire, WisconsinPerformers Include:HARDY, Brothers Osborne, Thomas Rhett, and moreTicket Information:Ticket Information: Get Your Tickets Here ...

Country Thunder Saskatchewan 2024: What You Need To Know

Country Thunder Saskatchewan 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title: Country Thunder Saskatchewan 2024Festival Duration:July 11-14, 2024Venue:Craven World Campground in Craven, Saskatchewan, CanadaPerformers Include:Luke Combs, Nickelback, Dallas Smith, and moreTicket Information:Get Your Tickets Here Country Thunder Saskatchewan is ...

Windy City Smokeout 2024: What You Need To Know

Windy City Smokeout 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title: Windy City Smokeout 2024Festival Duration: July 11-14, 2024Venue: United Centre Parking Lot in Chicago, IllinoisPerformers Include: Thomas Rhett, Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson, Carrie Underwood, and moreTicket Information: Get ...

Over 100,000 Fans Join George Strait As He Sang “Amarillo by Morning”

Over 100,000 Fans Join George Strait As He Sang “Amarillo by Morning”

George Strait bested both his indoor and outdoor record – and the fifty-year record of the largest attendance in the US – at his annual series of one-off performances during ...

Country Concert 2024: What You Need To Know

Country Concert 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title: Country Concert 2024Festival Duration: July 11-13, 2024Venue: Hickory Hill Lakes in Fort Laramie, OhioPerformers Include:Cody Johnson, Lainey Wilson, HARDY, and moreTicket Information: Get Your Tickets Here The Midwest’s ...

Norsk Countrytreff 2024: What You Need To Know

Norsk Countrytreff 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title: Norsk Countrytreff 2024Festival Duration: July 10-14, 2024Venue: Fjordhest Garden på Breim in Breim in Gloppen, Nordfjord, Norway Performers Include: Asleep at the Wheel, Jade Eagleson, Hellbillies, and moreTicket Information:Get ...

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.