This Note's for You

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This Note's for You
This Note's for You.jpg
Studio album by
Neil Young & The Bluenotes
ReleasedApril 11, 1988 (1988-04-11)
RecordedNovember 1987 – January 1988
StudioStudio Instrument Rentals, Hollywood, California
GenreHeartland rock, blues rock, jump blues
ProducerNeil Young, Niko Bolas
Neil Young chronology
This Note's for You
Current album cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
The Village VoiceB–[2]

This Note's for You is the 16th studio album by Canadian / American musician Neil Young, released April 11, 1988 on Reprise. It was originally credited to "Young and the Bluenotes." Part of the album's concept centered on the commercialism of rock and roll, and tours in particular. (The title selection, specifically, is a hostile social commentary on concert sponsorship.) The music is marked by the use of a horn section. It also marked Young's return to the recently reactivated Reprise Records after a rocky tenure with Geffen Records.

In 2015, Young released a live album from the album's accompanying tour, which he titled Bluenote Café.


The video for the title track – directed by Julien Temple and written by Charlie Coffey – included a Michael Jackson lookalike whose hair catches fire. The video parodied corporate rock and the pretensions of advertising, and was patterned after a series of Michelob ads that featured contemporary rock artists such as Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood. The video also featured parodic inserts from commercials featuring impersonators of Jackson and Whitney Houston, as well as popular characters such as a Spuds McKenzie lookalike. The title itself mocks Budweiser's "This Bud's For You" ad campaign.[3]

It was initially banned by MTV after legal threats from Michael Jackson's attorneys, although Canadian music channel MuchMusic ran it immediately. After it was a hit on MuchMusic, MTV reconsidered their decision and put it into heavy rotation, finally giving it the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year for 1989. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Concept Video" of 1989 but lost to "Weird Al" Yankovic's spoof of Michael Jackson's "Bad", "Fat".

When NME challenged David Lee Roth about his own corporate sponsorship (by Toshiba), citing "This Note's For You", the singer responded: "That's just hippy bullshit from the '60s. If your message is not strong enough to transcend a soda-pop commercial, you got problems!"[4]

The album was originally attributed to Neil Young and the “Bluenotes”. But after musician Harold Melvin took legal action against Young over use of the Bluenotes name, it became credited as a Young solo album.


The cover of this album is reportedly a photo taken in the back lane of the 200 block of Main Street Winnipeg, which housed the Blue Note Cafe. Neil was known to play unannounced in the Blue Note Cafe while in Winnipeg.[5]

Other recordings with the Bluenotes[edit]

Young toured with the Bluenotes band (later renamed to Ten Men Workin' for the legal reasons noted above) throughout 1988, playing predominantly new material, including a number of unreleased songs. A live album from the tour, titled Bluenote Café, was planned at the time as a follow-up to the studio album but got shelved, although two songs appeared on compilation Lucky Thirteen in 1993; it was eventually released in 2015 as volume 11 of Young's Archive Performance Series.

Young also did more studio sessions with the band in 1988; three known songs that were recorded are "Crime in the City (Sixty to Zero Part I)", "Someday" (both songs would be included on next year's Freedom) and "Ordinary People", an 18-minute song described as "'Cortez the Killer' with horns",[6] which finally saw its release on Young's 2007 studio album, Chrome Dreams II. The horn section from the Bluenotes also plays on the Stephen Stills song "That Girl" from the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album American Dream (1988).

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Neil Young.

  1. "Ten Men Workin'" – 6:28
  2. "This Note's for You" – 2:05
  3. "Coupe De Ville" – 4:18
  4. "Life in the City" – 3:13
  5. "Twilight" – 5:54
  6. "Married Man" – 2:38
  7. "Sunny Inside" – 2:36
  8. "Can't Believe Your Lyin'" – 2:58
  9. "Hey Hey" – 3:05
  10. "One Thing" – 6:02


Song Single
"I'm Goin'" "Ten Men Workin'"[7]


  • Neil Young – vocals, guitar
The Bluenotes


  • George Whitsell – bass on "One Thing"
  • Ralph Molina – drums on "One Thing"
  • Steve Onuska – tambourine on "One Thing"


  1. ^ William Ruhlmann. "This Note's for You – Neil Young | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (December 27, 1988). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  3. ^ Green, Andy (December 6, 2016). "Flashback: Neil Young Defiantly Declares 'This Note's for You'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 11, 2020. MTV banned this 1988 video in which he skewers Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and others that shilled for corporate America
  4. ^ Swift, David (December 3, 1988). "I laugh to win". NME. p. 21.
  5. ^ "Winnipeg love-hate: Bluenote Graveyard". Winnipeg Free Press. 2011-04-17. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  6. ^ "Fall Music Preview 2007". Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  7. ^ Neil Young And The Bluenotes – Ten Men Workin', retrieved 2020-02-15

External links[edit]