The moment Neil Young joined Bruce Springsteen to cover ‘Down By The River’

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Neil Young is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of this generation. He rose to prominence as a member of the folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield, then as a solo artist. Also, his discography is truly something to admire with 50 albums to his name. Neil is also an activist and supports environmental causes.

Bruce Springsteen is also considered one of the greatest rock musicians of all time and has released more than 20 albums in his career. Two of the very best from the rock nation once got a chance to stand and share the stage. Let’s rediscover the moment when Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, The Boss himself shared the stage and gave an outstanding performance of Young’s classic track ‘Down by the River’.

Bruce has often covered songs of artists he likes. For instance, he has covered songs of Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, and even more. When it comes to ‘Down by the River’, he has only performed the song alongside the creator himself, Neil Young.

Now, the song, ‘Down by the River’ is a nine-minute song. It established Neil as a very capable singer and also a songwriter of his generation. The track also allowed him to showcase the raw talent he has for guitar. He used an old black Les Paul and gave everyone, one of the best performances.

The song was released in 1969. He explained the lyrics are about someone who kills his lover by shooting her. However Young has claimed that “there’s no real murder in it.” In an interview with Robert Greenfield in 1970, he said, “It’s about blowing your thing with a chick. It’s a plea, a desperate cry.” In 1984 he introduced the song and claimed it tells about a man, “who had a lot of trouble controlling himself” who catches his woman cheating on him, then meets her down by the river and shoots her.

When Neil Young played a live show in Sydney, he invited a special friend to join him and he was Bruce Springsteen. It was also the final encore in Neil’s final show there. The footage below is from 1985 and the performance is just way too good.

bruce and neil

They also performed two more times in 1989 and 1995. In 1989, it was in Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, NY. Neil was at the outdoor amphitheater, and that’s when the two of them performed together. In 1995, they performed at The Bridge School Benefit. There was also the presence of other artists like Hootie & The Blowfish, The Pretenders, and so on.

Bruce performing together with Neil shows the appreciation he has for Neil. The 1985 iteration of the song was however the most celebrated one. Be sure to watch Neil and Bruce performing together the song, ‘Down By The River’.

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