L.A.

Album: Time Fades Away (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • "L.A." is a song about an apocalypse in Los Angeles. Recorded at the Myriad in Oklahoma City on March 1, 1973, it features the raucous sound that defines Time Fades Away and most of Young's output from that era.
  • In "L.A.," Young is issuing a warning of coming destruction to the city, but not expecting to be heard, much less heeded. The chorus has Young repeatedly asking, "Will I finally be heard by you," after going through a list of cataclysmic events. There's talk of bubbling oceans, erupting mountains, and a valley being sucked into "cracks in the Earth."
  • Young's cautionary tale strikes some as overbearing and morally arrogant, which is a criticism he also received for songs like "Southern Man" and "Alabama." Writing for Rolling Stone (January 3, 1974), Bud Scoppa said, "Young's is a pain-dominated, rather Old Testament sensibility, and nowhere is all this more obvious than in 'L.A.' Young's self-righteousness becomes absolute, and he depicts himself as some neo-Israelite prophet warning the unhearing masses of the inevitable apocalypse."

    All self-righteousness and pretension aside, "L.A." still rocks in that paranoid, sneering way that Young always had.
  • During their 2005–2006 reunion tour, the Black Crows played this song occasionally.
  • Willie Nelson's son, Lukas Nelson, recorded this song on his 2010 album Promise of the Real.
  • Young discussed his feelings about Los Angeles in Shakey. "I just didn't like the hustle and bustle of the entertainment business," he said. "Once I made it, I didn't like to be there at all... I couldnt' relax there. A little too fast. I'm fast–but I have to have slowness around me."

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