Downtown

Album: Mirror Ball (1995)

Songfacts®:

  • "Downtown" is either set in the 1960s or is an invitation to mentally travel back in time to that era. The song invites listeners to go to "a place called Downtown" full of hippies and psychedelic imagery. It was written and performed by Neil Young, with members of Pearl Jam, his backing band for the Mirror Ball album, playing behind him. The only Pearl Jam member not on this song is Eddie Vedder, who missed most of the Mirror Ball sessions because he was dealing with the stalker detailed in the song Lukin.
  • The last verse mentions Led Zeppelin ("Led Zeppelin on stage") after the line, "Jimi playin' in the back room" (referring to guitarist-extraordinaire Jimi Hendrix), and "a note from Page," referring to Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
  • This was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 1996 Grammy Awards, but lost to "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette.
  • This isn't the first time Young wrote a song with a chorus with the words "let's go downtown." The song "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown" from the 1975 Tonight's the Night album says the same exact thing. There's a big difference in tone, though, as "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown" is a dark song about scoring smack, while "Downtown" is more of a fun, wistful tune.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

Eric ClaptonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really write "Cocaine" while on cocaine? This question and more in the Clapton edition of Fact or Fiction.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap!, this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.