Tell Me Why (Neil Young song)
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|"Tell Me Why"|
|Song by Neil Young and Crazy Horse|
|from the album After the Gold Rush|
|Released||August 31, 1970|
|Studio||Young's home studio in Topanga, California|
|Genre||Acoustic rock, folk rock, roots rock|
|Producer(s)||David Briggs, Neil Young|
"Tell Me Why" is the opening track on Neil Young's album After the Gold Rush. Written by Young, it was first introduced during the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young shows of 1970 prior to the release of Déjà Vu. The song also appears on Live at Massey Hall 1971.
Composition and lyrics
Musically, the song marks a shift from the hard rock of 1969's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and bears more folk and country influences, which would continue onto 1972's Harvest. The only instruments are two acoustic guitars, played by Young and Nils Lofgren. He is, however, backed by the vocal harmonies of Crazy Horse during the choruses. 'Tell Me Why' has a simple lyrical structure, with 2 verses each followed by a bridge then chorus, and one final bridge and chorus before a short instrumental outro. The chorus line "Tell me why, tell me why/Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself/When you're old enough to repay/but young enough to sell?" is the most famous from the song, typifying the introspective and melancholic nature of not just this song, but the whole album.
Acoustic guitarists who want to play the song should know the song is in standard tuning, but each string is tuned down a full step (E down to D, A down to G, D down to C, G down to F, B down to A, and high E down to D).
Norah Jones has been known to cover 'Tell Me Why' as well as Radiohead, most notably at the White River Amphitheatre and the Hollywood Bowl in 2008. The song is famously popular with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.
|1994||Hemingway Corner||Borrowed Tunes|
|2004||Dave House||Kingston's Current|
- Ruhlmann, William. "Neil Young After the Gold Rush". Allmusic.
- Greenwald, Matthew. "Neil Young Tell Me Why". Allmusic.
- "Thom Yorke gives up on Faust Arp, switches to "Tell Me Why" then back to Faust Arp video". NME.
- Flea. "Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Artists, 34 Neil Young".
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