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 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”.
Since Harold Melvin, founder of the R&B group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, took legal action against Young over use of the “Bluenotes” name, the album is now credited as a Neil Young solo recording. The backup band Young used for this album was renamed “Ten Men Workin’” (after the album’s lead-off song).
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.
“Ordinary People”, an epic 18 minute outtake described as “Cortez the Killer with horns” , finally saw release in 2007 on Young’s Chrome Dreams II.
Edited by lock2stock on 18 Dec 2010, 16:08
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