The electric version of the national anthem evokes Jimi Hendrix’s famous Woodstock rendition
On Thanksgiving 2023, Canadian-American singer-songwriter Neil Young released a roughly three-minute video of himself performing a Jimi Hendrix-ian version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” on electric guitar. The video ends with a simple message written across the screen: “BE BRAVE” and “STAND FOR PEACE.”
The video makes no direct reference to any particular ongoing war or armed conflict, including recent horrors in Gaza. However, days earlier, Young posted online a separate written statement, which included: “For our many Palestinian friends and our many Jewish friends, we do need to start over in the present and release our terrible connections to the past. As bad as they are, they need to be forgotten so we can be free to move on in life together, all humanity, focused on saving our planet for future generations of all people.”
The music icon has a lengthy track record of being politically outspoken, including when he recorded an entire album about his fury toward George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. In early 2020, Young released his open letter to Donald Trump, dubbing the then-president of the United States “a disgrace to my country.” Young added: “Your mindless destruction of our shared natural resources, our environment and our relationships with friends around the world is unforgiveable.”
Earlier this week, Young also announced he was leaving Elon Musk’s X (the social media app formerly known as Twitter), due to the billionaire’s public embrace of a rabidly antisemitic and racist conspiracy theory online.