• This song can be seen as a follow-up to Young's 1970 song "Southern Man" from After The Gold Rush. Canadian-born Young abhorred the idea of racism and spoke out - loudly - about his feelings. This song went unnoticed by most, but combined with the previous effort, it caused Lynyrd Skynyrd to pen their Southern Rock classic "Sweet Home Alabama" in response to Young's assertions.
  • 1972 was an interesting year for Neil Young; his song "Heart Of Gold," also from the Harvest album, became the only #1 hit of his career. In September, seven months after this album was released, Young and then-girlfriend, actress Carrie Snodgrass, had a baby boy named Zeke who was born with cerebral palsy. He would later have a son named Ben with his wife Pegi, who also has cerebral palsy. This was the catalyst for Neil and Pegi to open the Bridge School, a highly regarded school for children living with severe verbal and physical disabilities.
  • In his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, Neil Young said of this song, "I don't like my words when I listen to it today. They are accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue."
  • Neil Young said that "Alabama" was never meant to be specific to the state, he simply wanted a Southern state that seemed to fit what he had to say. "Actually, the song is more about a personal thing than it is about a state," he explained. "And I'm just using that name and that state to hide whatever it is I have to hide... I don't know what that means."

Comments: 2

  • Sandy from Michigan Neil Young expressed his feelings about racism in his song 'Southern man'. I read that he regrets the accusatory words directed at the southern. It's been almost 50 years since the recording was released- and still.... Laws have changed, but systemically there has not been progress. Im thinking, "How long, how long, hahahow..." When will all stand?
  • Nikki from, TxFor the idiot that refers to Tea Party members as racist. Do you even have a clue as to why tea party members started? The GOP as we know it are weak in their position and feel that spending in the trillions is OK. Most republicans who are tired of the fence riders (RHINOS) want someone that will take a FINANCIAL stand and stop the ridiculous spending this president has done. The Tea Party generally focuses on government reform. Among its goals are limiting the size of the federal government, reducing government spending, lowering the national debt and opposing tax increases. LESS GOVERNMENT NOT RACISM SO pull your head out of you A@#! So tired of any one that disagrees with Obama the best talking point from them is that you are racist. How convenient! You want to be told when to tie your shoes and how to live your life keep voting for liberals that promise the moon taking a conservative stance and forcing crap down your throat as this current administration has done. there is no accountability, for the 4 dead in Benghazi, Obama Care, NSA, IRS and Fast and Furious.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Ted Neeley Tells the Inside StorySong Writing

The in-depth discussion about the making of Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley, who played Jesus in the 1973 film.

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

Dino Cazares of Fear FactorySongwriter Interviews

The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.

Gavin Rossdale of BushSongwriter Interviews

On the "schizoid element" of his lyrics, and a famous line from "Everything Zen."

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.