My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

"My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" is a song by Canadian musician Neil Young. An acoustic song, it was recorded live in early 1978 at the Boarding House in San Francisco, California. Combined with its hard rock counterpart "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)", it bookends Young's 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps.[2] Inspired by electropunk group Devo, the rise of punk and what Young viewed as his own growing irrelevance, the song significantly revitalized Young's career.[3]

"My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)"
Single by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
from the album Rust Never Sleeps
A-side"Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"
ReleasedAugust 27, 1979
Recordedearly 1978
VenueBoarding House, San Francisco, California
GenreAcoustic rock[1]
Songwriter(s)Neil Young, Jeff Blackburn
Producer(s)Neil Young, David Briggs, Tim Mulligan

The line, "it's better to burn out than to fade away" was taken from one of the songs of Young's bandmate in the short-lived supergroup The Ducks, Jeff Blackburn.[4] It became infamous after being quoted in Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's suicide note.[5] Young later said that he was so shaken that he dedicated his 1994 album Sleeps with Angels to Cobain.

Legacy edit

Young compared the rise of Johnny Rotten with that of the recently deceased "King" Elvis Presley, who himself had once been disparaged as a dangerous influence only to later become an icon. In 1977, Rotten responded by playing a song by Young on a radio program.[6]

The song may best be known for the line "It's better to burn out than to fade away". The line occurs during the introduction to Def Leppard's 1983 song "Rock of Ages". It was also used in the movie Highlander (1986), when the Kurgan (Clancy Brown) exits a church after meeting the Highlander (Christopher Lambert). Kurt Cobain's suicide note ended with the same line,[5] shaking Young and inadvertently cementing his place as the so-called "Godfather of Grunge".[7][8]

Ex-Beatle John Lennon commented on the message of the song in a 1980 interview with David Sheff of Playboy:[9]

Sheff: You disagree with Neil Young's lyric in Rust Never Sleeps: "It's better to burn out than to fade away..."

Lennon: I hate it. It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. If he was talking about burning out like Sid Vicious, forget it. I don't appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne. It's the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison — it's garbage to me. I worship the people who survive — Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo. They're saying John Wayne conquered cancer — he whipped it like a man. You know, I'm sorry that he died and all that — I'm sorry for his family — but he didn't whip cancer. It whipped him. I don't want Sean worshiping John Wayne or Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious. What do they teach you? Nothing. Death. Sid Vicious died for what? So that we might rock? I mean, it's garbage you know. If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why doesn't he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many times, like all of us. No, thank you. I'll take the living and the healthy.

Young, when asked to respond to Lennon's comments two years later, replied:

The rock'n'roll spirit is not survival. Of course the people who play rock'n'roll should survive. But the essence of the rock'n'roll spirit to me, is that it's better to burn out really bright than to sort of decay off into infinity. Even though if you look at it in a mature way, you'll think, "well, yes... you should decay off into infinity, and keep going along". Rock'n'roll doesn't look that far ahead. Rock'n'roll is right now. What's happening right this second. Is it bright? Or is it dim because it's waiting for tomorrow—that's what people want to know. And that's why I say that.[9]

Oasis covered the song during their 2000 world tour, including it on their live album and DVD Familiar to Millions. The band acknowledged Cobain's attachment to the song by dedicating it to him when they played it in Seattle on the sixth anniversary of his death.[10]

It is included on Neil Young's Greatest Hits album.

The song is the title theme of Dennis Hopper's movie Out of the Blue.[11]

The song was included at number 93 in Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

A cover by Battleme appeared on season 3, episode 13 of Sons of Anarchy.

References edit

  1. ^ Boehm, Mike (August 12, 1989). "O.C. POP MUSIC REVIEW : Neil Young, 43, Finds an Angry Focus for '90s". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps". Discogs. 1979. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  3. ^ Rieff, Corbin (2014-07-02). "35 years ago: Neil Young releases 'Rust never sleeps'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  4. ^ McDonough, Jimmy (2002). Shakey : Neil Young's biography (1st ed.). New York: Random House. pp. 534–535. ISBN 0-679-42772-4. OCLC 47844513.
  5. ^ a b "This is the actual contents of Kurt Cobain's "suicide note"". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  6. ^ Schneider, Martin (16 June 2016). "DJ Johnny Rotten plays music from his own record collection on the radio, 1977". Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "Neil Young: Godfather of Grunge?". Thrasher's Wheat – A Neil Young Archives. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  8. ^ "Godfather of Grunge Neil Young to induct Pearl Jam into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". Consequence of Sound. 2017-01-28. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  9. ^ a b "Neil and The Beatles". Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  10. ^ "Oasis Pay Tribute to Cobain". NME News. 2000-06-04. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved December 15, 2007.
  11. ^ Maslin, Janet (1983-04-08). "Out of the Blue". The New York Times. C6. Retrieved 2019-01-26.

External links edit