Monday, January 28, 2013

Neil Young's "This Note's for You"

There are many reasons why I love Neil Young.  First and foremost, his music and dedication to staying true to himself and fans.  He's never shyed away from standing up for his convictions - right, wrong, too left or erm, too right.  Neil is an artist and entertainer that has always had a little place in my heart. 

Just happened to be be on Letters of Note the other day and came across his letter to MTV regarding their decision to block his video, "This Note's for You," a song about musicians selling out by endorsing brands.  Neil does a fine job of mocking them.  So MTV, in turn, banned the video.  Here's what Neil had to say:

6th July, 1988

MTV, you spineless twerps. You refuse to play "This Note's For You" because you're afraid to offend your sponsors. What does the "M" in MTV stand for: music or money? Long live rock and roll.

Neil Young
"This Note's for You," went on to win Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.

About the song and video...

This Note's for You is the seventeenth studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released in 1988. It was originally credited to Young and the Bluenotes. Most of the album's concept centered around the commercialism of rock and roll, and tours in particular (the title track is a social commentary on concert sponsorship). The music is marked by the use of a horn section.

The video for the title track famously included a Michael Jackson look-alike whose hair catches fire. The video parodied corporate rock, the pretensions of advertising and Michael Jackson in particular. It was initially banned by MTV after legal threats from Michael Jackson's attorneys (although the Canadian music channel, MuchMusic ran it immediately). After becoming a hit on MuchMusic, MTV reconsidered their decision to yank the video and put it into heavy rotation, finally giving it the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year for 1989. The video was directed by Julien Temple and written by Charlie Coffey. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Concept Video" of 1989 but lost to "Weird Al" Yankovic's Michael Jackson video spoof of "Bad", "Fat".

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