Don't Let It Bring You Down

Album: After The Gold Rush (1970)

Songfacts®:

  • In describing "Don't Let it Bring You Down," Young said, ""Here is a new song. It's guaranteed to bring you right down, It's called 'Don't Let It Bring You Down.' It sorta starts off real slow and then fizzles out altogether."

    Young's statement is a humorous, self-deprecating take on a song that's lived a long, healthy life among fans and musicians alike. It was never released as a single, but Young never concerned himself with radio hits.

    The song's chorus appears to be encouraging, imploring listeners to find "someone who's turning" and get over all those unimportant "castles burning." Young's voice, the music, and the rest of the lyrics, though, suggest that the chorus is ironic, if not outright sarcastic.

    The rest of the song features an old man dying (and then dead) on the side of the road, a "blue moon sinking from the weight of the load," and various other images of despair. The song's general ambiance fits with the general melancholic feel of After The Gold Rush.
  • The song uses a variation of D-modal tuning, or DADGAD. It's a popular technique in classic Irish music. Young liked the drone of the resulting sound.

    Other songs using this technique include "Ohio," When You Dance I Can Really Love," and "Cinnamon Girl."

    In Young's variation, according to HyperRush, it's CGCFAC, described as, "A combination of 'Dropped Standard' and 'Double Dropped D.' All strings are tuned down a tone/step, and then the 1st and 6th are tuned down another tone."
  • Sting, Victoria Williams, and Annie Lennox have all covered this song (Lennox's version can be heard in the American Beauty film but is not included in the soundtrack). Guns N' Roses performed it during their Appetite for Democracy residency in Vegas.

Comments: 2

  • Larry from Philadelphia I am a musician and I find The chord changes for this tune to be very unusual for pop music. Great song.
  • Memphisbelle from Memphis, TnOne of Neil's finest. Y'all agree?
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