Neil Young

My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

Composed by Jeff Blackburn / Neil Young

Song Review by

On this track, rock and roll chameleon Neil Young single-handedly pays tribute to punk and foreshadows the grunge movement of the 1990s. “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” is a dark hard-driving and distortion-laden bookend to the comparatively pastoral “Hey Hey, My My (Out Of The Blue)” -- both of which are featured on Young’s fourteenth long player Rust Never Sleeps (1979). The lyrics deal fairly directly with the brevity of life as well as the concept that underneath everyone’s veneer lays a decidedly more complex reality. Young also acknowledges the Sex Pistols’ front man with the rhetorical question “Is this the story of Johnny Rotten?”, adding “It’s better to burn out ‘cause rust never sleeps.” Musically, the aggressive thrashing of Crazy Horse provides Young an opportunity to weave an equally antagonistic lead electric guitar crunch. The combo offers an extended instrumental jam that winds into an incinerating finale. Young revived the song when touring with Crazy Horse and performance versions are available on Live Rust (1979), Weld (1991) and a heavy synth (sans Crazy Horse) reading is featured on the In Berlin (1986) video of Young’s 1983 European tour in support of Trans (1982). A number of other artists have covered “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) including Oasis, Big Country, Cross Canadian Ragweed and the Golden Watusis.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Rust Never Sleeps 1979 Reprise 3:45