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mr. soul


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You never know exactly what Neil means, and maybe he didn't always either.

"Mr. Soul"

Having the momentum of a song on the charts, the Buffalo Springfield went into a studio in New York on January 9, 1967. They cut their first version of Neil's new song, "Mr Soul." Having a riff very similar to the Stone's "I Can't Get no Satisfaction," it was a hard-driving rock song. In the lyrics, Young excoriated the music business that he was now deeply in the vortex of, using the metaphoric "Mr. Soul" to represent it. The theme is similar to the just-released Byrds' hit, "So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star," only much darker and so very personal. He couldn't believe that, due to a hit record, people would assume that they knew him personally:

"Well, hello Mr. Soul, I dropped by to pick up a reason

For the thought that I caught that my head was the event of the season

Why in crowds just a trace of my face could seem to pleasin'

I'll cop out to the change but a stranger is putting the tease on

I was down on the frown when a messenger brought me the letter

I was raised by the praise of a fan who said I upset her

Any girl in the world could have easily known me better

She said, You're strange, but don't change, and I let her

In a while will the smile on my face turn to plaster?

Stick around while the clown who is sick does the trick of disaster

For the race of my head and my face is moving much faster

Is it strange I should change" I don't know, why don't you ask her?"

(1967 Cotillion, Ten East, Springalo Tunes, BMI)

Interestingly, Otis Redding was interested in the recording the song, but Neil refused to allow it.

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