My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) (3:47)

Cover of Rust Never Sleeps

From Rust Never Sleeps and 12 other releases

Around 1977 Neil Young formed a band called The Ducks that included Jeff Blackburn. The band played for a $3 cover charge in the hip Santa Cruz club environment. This song came out of this period and Jeff Blackburn received co-writing credits.

This deals with the fleeting nature of fame and how hard it is to stay relevant as an artist. “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” is a ’50s song by Danny and the Juniors. Young alludes to or mentions artists from the ’50s (Danny and the Juniors), ’60s (Elvis), and ’70s (The Sex Pistols, specifically lead singer Johnny Rotten) to show that “Rock and roll will never die.”

This was the first track on Rust Never Sleeps. Young released a concert documentary with that title the same day as the album.

An alternate version of this called “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black),” is the last song on the album and is the flip side of the single.

The first half of the album, including this, is acoustic. The second half, which includes “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black),” is electric and was recorded with Crazy Horse.

Kurt Cobain’s suicide note contained a line from this: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” That line has become one of the most famous song lyrics of all time. When Young was asked by Time magazine in 2005 about the line and Cobain’s death, he said: “The fact that he left the lyrics to my song right there with him when he killed himself left a profound feeling on me, but I don’t think he was saying I have to kill myself because I don’t want to fade away. I don’t think he was interpreting the song in a negative way. It’s a song about artistic survival, and I think he had a problem with the fact that he thought he was selling out, and he didn’t know how to stop it.

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Albums featuring this track (13)

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