Neil Young – Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) and… My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

If death could be translated into a tone…Neil had it with his guitar when he played the Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) intro. It’s one of the darkest, nastiest, ominous and distorted tones ever.

This is an alternate version of Young’s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue).” The lyrics are slightly different, and “Hey Hey, My My” is electric, while “My My, Hey Hey,” is acoustic. (At the bottom)

The two songs we are covering today are on Rust Never Sleeps. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard album chart in 1979.

Ok… Now My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)… This song has the line (It’s better to burn out than to fade away) which I see is still being talked about to this day.

John Lennon expressed his disagreement with the “burn out or fade away” sentiment in this song: “I hate it. It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. If he was talking about burning out like Sid Vicious, forget it. I don’t appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne. It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison – it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive.”

Neil Young responded to the quote, saying that he was describing the paradoxical nature of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, not advocating it.

The line got responses from many rock stars and was included in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.

From Songfacts

Young recorded this with the band Crazy Horse. It was the first time Young recorded with them since Zuma in 1975.

In the biography of Neil Young, Shakey by Jimmy McDonough, Neil points out that this song came about when he was jamming with the band Devo. The phrase, “Rust never sleeps” was uttered by Mark Mothersbaugh, and Neil, loving the impromptu line, acquired it. 

The lyrics refer to “The King” and Johnny Rotten as rockers whose legacies live on. The king is Elvis Presley and Johnny Rotten was the lead singer of The Sex Pistols.

In The Complete Guide to the Music of Neil Young, Young explains why the line “rust never sleeps” appealed to him. “It relates to my career; the longer I keep on going the more I have to fight this corrosion. And now that’s gotten to be like the World Series for me. The competition’s there, whether I will corrode and eventually not be able to move anymore and just repeat myself until further notice or whether I will be able to expand and keep the corrosion down a little.”

The song has become a standby of Young’s live performances, being played at nearly every live show throughout his career, often as a closing song.

This was included on Live Rust, a concert album and video featuring Young playing against a backdrop of comically enormous amps and microphones.

 

Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Out of the blue and into the black
You pay for this, but they give you that
And once you’re gone, you can’t come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten
This is the story of Johnny Rotten
It’s better to burn out ’cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you’re gone, you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten
This is the story of a johnny rotten
It’s better to burn out than it is to rust
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Neil Young – Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) and… My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)”

  1. Definitely a classic. I like both versions. I like Neil, and am glad he’s still around making music but it’s kind of ironically funny he’s still not burned out 50 years or more into his career after that iconic phrase in the song.

    Liked by 1 person

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