Learn those dirty riffs and runs
Neil Young has been called the Godfather Of Grunge, and counts Pearl Jam, Noel Gallagher and Dave Matthews among his many fans.
Key: A Tempo: 120bpm CD: TRACKS29-30
Will im prove your
General timing Lead and rhythm playing Theory knowledge
Neil Young is one of those artists that seem to enjoy success, both commercially and critically, among music fans and his fellow rock stars. He has been called the Godfather Of Grunge, counts Pearl Jam, Noel Gallagher and Dave Matthews among his fans, has been nominated for an Oscar and has been granted the Order Of Canada, the country’s second-highest civilian order. As well as all of this, he was ranked number 34 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists awards in 2000. Of course, he has also recorded some of the most recognisable and widely covered songs of the past 50 years. Oasis have recorded his Hey, Hey, My, My (Into The Black), and Bon Jovi often play the anthem Rockin’ In The Free World in concert.
Neil Young was born in Toronto, Canada in 1945 and began his musical journey by playing in a Shadows covers band, before moving to America in 1966 and forming Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, who he later joined as the fourth member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in 1969.
Neil Young has experimented with various styles of music over his career, which includes 35 albums, but generally it can be split into two halves – the folk-meets-rock acoustic side of things, and the aggressive hard rock of his time with his band Crazy Horse. The rockier side of proceedings has led to hits such as the aforementioned Rockin’ In The Free World, Cinnamon Girl and Wrecking Ball. Young is known for his interesting melodic soloing style as well as for writing hard-hitting riffs and chord progressions. Take a listen to any of his rock albums, and it’s easy to hear why bands such as Pearl Jam list him as such an influence on their own work.
Young continues to record and tour these days (including a recent TV appearance in America with Jack White), and has completed work on the second volume of his memoirs scheduled for release later this year.
The track this month takes on the rock side of Neil Young’s writing and playing, so there’s no acoustic guitar. However, you could easily rework these kinds of chord-based riffs and progressions as acoustic songs. Much of the track is in the key of A major (A B C# D E F# G#) and the three main chords D, E and A are all taken from that key. However, there are also a lot of non-diatonic notes such as the C natural in the main riff and the G natural in the G power chords. The solo is primarily using E Minor Pentatonic (E G A B D) and the E Natural Minor scale (E F# G A B C D), even though it’s played over the D, E and A chords, so there are some nice, aggressive blues-rock clashes in the harmony.
Neil Young playing his battered and modified Les Paul