Why Record a Neil Young Cover
I chose to record a cover of Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down as I like Neil Young’s early solo albums, particularly After the Gold Rush and Harvest. The melodies and chords used with his unique and imaginative lyrics can transport you to another place. Neil Young also wrote some OK songs later on too such as Cortez the Killer and Rocking In the Free World however he seemed to lose his focus as he got older. His later albums were much more inconsistent with cheesy country tunes and rambling garage rock which lacked any real good hooks, chord progressions or melodies.
Don’t Let It Bring You Down has a great chord progression that chromatically moves down in places from an A major (C#) to an A minor 7 (C natural) at the start of the verse, the F to the Em7 chords at the end of verse and C to Bm7 in the chorus. Chord progressions like this are often used the best Beatle songs.
The short A G A C chord vamp between the chorus and verse breaks up the tune well which allowed me to emphasise the long synth bass lines.
The tune has a coda that uses a variation of the chorus melody of a slightly different chord progression that really lifts the tune and gives it an optimistic feel to the finish that suits the title of Don’t Let It Bring You Down.
As you can see I am more interested in the music rather than the lyrics. I am guilty as a musician of usually listening to the music first and the lyrics second, so choosing to record a cover of this Neil Young song this was no exception. Plus a line from Don’t Let it Bring You Down is also quoted in one of my older tracks The Gabbler – you can hear it in the half time section after the 3rd funky screaming chorus.
Listen to a sample of the Don't Let It Bring You Down cover.