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Neil Young's Downtown Lyrics


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Jimi's playin' in the back room

Led Zeppelin on stage

There's a mirror ball twirlin'

And a note from Page

Like a water-washed diamond In a river of sin

Goin' down like a whirlpool When you get sucked in

This has likely been discussed long ago, but I have wondered about the meaning and intent from Neil Young's "Downtown" tune from the 1995 Mirror Ball release. I believe this CD was released following their inductions to the Hall of Fame. I really do enjoy watching the video of Zeppelin jamming with Neil. Additionally, it struck me odd as to why Jason was not playing drums that evening or why Page deferred all solos to Neil. Most importandly though I have always wondered about whether these lyrics were a slam against Page or those who could not protect him. I do remember Neil commenting on the evening playing with Page saying "I'm a hack compared to that guy (Page)." Any info would be appreciated. Thanks

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This is not a slam against Page or anybody. It's just a song about the good ole daze in the 60s and going down to the Fillmores and seeing bands like Led Zeppelin and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It's basically a love letter to the days before Bill Graham shut down the Fillmores and rock moved to the sports arenas.

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Thanks,I'll go play it on my laser disc spinner right now...backwards.

Smartass.

It's more of a commentary on the constant dissecting of all things Zeppelin, particularly when it's an attempt to uncover any and all things some may perceive as negative. I suspect only Neil knows what he meant by the line. Considering he's a bit of a enigma along the lines of Dylan, his lyrics can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. That's the true beauty of his songwriting, at least from my perspective. People hoping to dig up some sort of negative connotation says more about that person than the actual songwriter or their intention; positive, negative or otherwise.

Edited by Jahfin
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I don't see anything negative in those 2 songs (about Zep or Page).

Sir Paul and Neil are too smart and too talented to reeeealy dislike Led Zeppelin or Jimmy Page.(I hope so)

Edited by Vule69
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Stones-cant always get what you want

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore

To get your prescription filled

I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy

And man, did he look pretty ill

We decided that we would have a soda

My favorite flavor, cherry red

I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy

Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead"

whose mr Jimmy? obviously not the japanese tribute band

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Stones-cant always get what you want I went down to the Chelsea drugstore To get your prescription filled I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy And man, did he look pretty ill We decided that we would have a soda My favorite flavor, cherry red I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead" whose mr Jimmy? obviously not the japanese tribute band

According to one website........ There are two theories as to the identity of "Mr. Jimmy," who appears in the third verse. It could be a reference to Jimmy Miller, who was The Stones' producer at the time, but it might also refer to Jimmy Hutmaker, a local character that wandered the business district in Excelsior, Minnesota, a trendy artist community outside Minneapolis near Lake Minnetonka. Hutmaker, who is known as "Mr. Jimmy," had some disabilities but seemed mentally sharp most days, although he would talk to himself a lot. He walked miles every day and was cared for by the local shop owners until his death on October 3, 2007. The Stones performed in Excelsior on their first US tour in 1964, and were not well received. Mick Jagger went into a local drugstore to get a Cherry Coke. Back then a cherry coke was a coke with real cherries in it and drug store soda fountains were the place you usually found them. The store didn't have cherry cokes and Mr. Jimmy, standing in line behind Jagger, commented, "Well, you can't always get what you want." Mr. Jimmy was at the Stones next show in Minneapolis. Legend has it that Jagger sent a limo to pick him up, but it is more likely that a local businessman worked it out so he could go. (thanks, Chris Hall - Athens, GA, and the good people at the Excelsior chamber of commerce)

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Speaking of the Stones, just picked up the Some Girls 1978 show at Ft. Worth on DVD. In both the song Star Star, as well as documented in the liner notes in the DVD, Mick adds a new verse: "Jimmy Page is quite the rage...I couldn't see the reason why".

Interesting. Thought the Stones had a mutual respect for Jimmy (Keith has said he doesn't care for Robert), and even invited Jimmy on various sessions through the years (1965 Heart Of Stone, Jimmy's association with Andrew Loog Oldham, the 1976 session with Keith, 1986 album Dirty Work), but perhaps it was the competition of who could draw the most on tour (probably from summer of '72 until Zep's demise...which Mick commented on their 1981 Tatoo You tour..."we don't have to compete with Led Zeppelin anymore).

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