Category Archives: Neil Young

Radio XVII, side B, track 8: “American Dream” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young - American DreamOh, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, I didn’t really know who you guys were at the time, but I knew you were old school (not that the phrase “old school” was in use at this time in the world, but had you explained what “old school” meant, I would have been like “Yeah, these guys are old school”).  After all, how many artists were putting out music where a flute was heavily featured?  Which is how awesome you guys are.  I respect the flute, but never really thought much about it, but this song made it seem perfectly natural that a flute should be featured on a top 40 radio station.  I don’t think I really appreciated this song at the time when it came out, but now I listen to it with reverential glee.  Of course, it’s also very quaint.  Because at the time this came out, someone getting caught with a bunch of laundered money and a pretty young thing who wasn’t your wife was cause for a scandal.  Now, people do it in the hopes of getting caught and landing a TV deal.  But I love that you old hippies were still stickin’ it to the Man.

I don’t know if the subject of this song is a politician or a televangelist, but it doesn’t really matter, does it, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?  After all, this was made in the days of Donna Rice and Gary Hart and Jim Bakker and Jessica Hahn and Jimmy Swaggert.  Even at my young age, the media’s slavering reporting wasn’t lost on me.  Hell, I probably learned more about sex hearing about it on the nightly news than I did from anywhere else (certainly not from experience, am I right?).  And this was BEFORE we’d ever heard the name Lewinsky and the size of the president’s privates were a matter of public discourse.  The point is, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, nothing’s gotten any better since you penned this little gem.  Maybe it’s time to dust off that flute again.  Which is not a euphemism.

“American Dream”

I used ta see ya on every T.V.

Yer smilin’ face looked back at me

I used ta see ya on every T.V.

Yer smilin’ face looked back at me

Then they caught you with the girl next door
People’s money piled on the floor
Accusations that ya try to deny
Revelations and rumors begin to fly

Now ya think about reachin’ out
Maybe get some help from above

Now ya think about reachin’ out
Maybe get some help from above

Reporters crowd around your house
Goin’ through your garbage like a pack of hounds
Speculatin’ what they might find out
(It don’t matter now) you’re all washed up

You wake up in the middle of the night
Your sheets are wet and your face is white
Ya tried to make a good thing last
How could something so good, go bad, so faaaast

American dream
American dreeeam

American dream
American dreeeam

Don’t know when things went wrong
Might have been when you
Were young and strong

Don’t know when things went wrong
Might have been when you
Were young and strong

Reporters crowd around your house
Goin’ through your garbage like a pack of hounds
Speculatin’ what they might find out
(It don’t matter now) you’re all washed up

Don’t know when things went wrong
Might have been when you
Were young and strong

American dream
American dreeeam

Don’t know when things went wrong
Might have been when you
Were young and strong

American dream
American dreeeam

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