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“Cortez The Killer” –Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester, TN. June 13, 2003

Though brilliant through both of these Neil Young and Crazy Horse performances, the Dave Matthews band led by Warren Haynes and an all out guitar war with Tim Reynolds is the must see jam.

This guitar driven song is by one of America’s truly great artists. Where do you start when celebrating Neil Young as a songwriter? The only place I can start is with one that gets you in the gut. This song is social, political, poetic, and marries hurricane force with subtle imagery. Few rock songs capture the mystic and tragic mood of the time of the conquistadors.

“Cortez the Killer”is from the 1975 album, Zuma.

Rust Never Sleeps Tour in 1978

He came dancing across the water
With his galleons and guns
Looking for the new world
In that palace in the sun.

On the shore lay Montezuma
With his coca leaves and pearls
In his halls he often wondered
With the secrets of the worlds.

And his subjects gathered round him
Like the leaves around a tree
In their clothes of many colors
For the angry gods to see.

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.

They carried them to the flatlands
And they died along the way
But they built up with their bare hands
What we still can’t do today.

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can’t remember when
or how I lost my way.

He came dancing across the water
Cortez, Cortez
What a killer.

Cortez the Killer Solo & Unplugged Tour 2003 Neil Young

Great Covers!!!
Dave Matthews Band (with Warren Haynes)@ The Gorge 2011

Grace Potter, Joe Satriani, Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, Willy Waldman and Stephen Perkins at the Jammy’s.

“Precious”–The Pretenders

A more recent performance by the Pretenders

This is a poetic, lyrical, stylized and rocking as sh*t performance. No one sounds like Chrissie Hynde and her Pretenders. They are cool, criminal, and original. This and the “Middle of the Road” have that hot ass punk talking blues feel.  I had a hard time picking my first post from this band. There will be more.

The Pretenders Rockpalast 1981

I like the way you cross the street ’cause your precious
Moving through the Cleveland heat how precious
Taking rides and all the kicks was so precious
But you know I was shittin’ bricks ’cause I’m precious
Made me wanna, made me wanna, you made me make it
Oh, you’re so mean

East 55th and Euclid avenue was real precious
Hotel sterling coming into view how precious
It’s a pity that you bruised my hip ’cause I’m precious
You shouldn’t let your manners slip you’re too precious
Made me wanna, made me wanna, you made me make it
Oh, you’re so mean

We went around and round and round and round and round the
We was a duet duet duet duet do it on the pavement
Oh maybe maybe I’m gonna have a baby
We was a duet oh we do it all night

I was feeling kind of ethereal ’cause I’m precious
I had my eye on your Imperial you’re so precious
Now Howard the Duck and Mr Stress both stayed
Trapped in a world that they never made
But not me baby I’m too precious I had to fuck off
Made me wanna, made me wanna, you made me make it
Oh, you’re so mean

Pretenders – Precious (Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

It’s hard to find a decent cover of this one, but this one is largely authentic rock and roll.

The Lovers – Precious (1980)

“Black Hole Sun”–Soundgarden

Soundgarden Live 1996

The Great orginal Music video by Soundgarden for A&M Records

This Chris Cornell composition was released in 1994 as the third single from the band’s fourth studio album Superunknown . I was not deep into the grunge scene. I really liked punk, classic rock, jazz, and reggae at the time, but something about this song seemed epic. It was like a modern day version of the Yes’s, Roundabout, a pop and rock song perfectly balanced and with a hook that drilled deep into my head.

Revisiting the song the lyric and performance reminds me of a prayer for the apocalypse.

Chris Cornell Solo

In my eyes,
In disguise
As no one knows.
Hides the face,
Lies the snake,
And the sun
In my disgrace.
Boiling heat,
Summer stench.
‘Neath the black
The sky looks dead.
Call my name
Through the cream,
And I’ll hear you
Scream again.

Black hole sun,
Won’t you come
And wash away the rain?
Black hole sun,
Won’t you come?
Won’t you come?
Won’t you come?

Black Hole Sun by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden – Live Earth 2007

Peter Frampton