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Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young

Rockin' in the Free World

Rockin' In The Free World
classic rock rock political Canadian guitar


The song was first performed live on February 21, 1989 in Seattle with Young's band The Restless. The book Shakey by Jimmy McDonough claims the song originated when Young was on tour in the late 1980s. He and Frank "Poncho" Sampedro saw newspaper photos of the Ayatollah Khomeini's body being carried to his grave as mourners were burning American flags in the street. Sampedro commented, "Whatever we do, we shouldn't go near the Mideast. It's probably better we just keep on rockin' in the free world." Young asked if Sampedro intended to use this idea as the basis of a song and when Sampedro said no, Young said that he would do so instead. However Khomeini's death occurred months after the first live performance of the song. The lyrics criticize the George H. W. Bush administration and the social problems of contemporary American life, directly referencing Bush's famous "thousand points of light" remark from his 1989 inaugural address. An edited version of the song accompanies the end credits of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11; the phrase "That's one more kid that’ll never go to school / Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool," which originally referenced the second verse's abandoned child, now appears to reference a US soldier killed in Iraq. The song is rated number 214 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time


Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and social activist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation, particularly as Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Young was born in Toronto, but he moved to the family home of Winnipeg as a child, which is where his music career began. Young began performing as a solo artist in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay. Show more ...

Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young

There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign
On the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin'
We'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan,
But I am to them
So I try to forget it,
Any way I can.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
And she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
And what she's done to it
There's one more kid
That will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
Never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores
And toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes
For the ozone layer
Got a man of the people,
Says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn,
Got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.



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