Song of the Day: Neil Young – “Cortez the Killer”

Happy belated birthday to Neil Young, who turned 72 years old on November 12. This is a Young classic off the 1975 album Zuma, a song praised for its guitar work as well as its lyrical content. The song is about Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and the conquest of the Aztec Empire, at least Young’s view of it, then the final verse of the song changes to first person (And I know she’s living there/And she loves me to this day/I still can’t remember when/Or how I lost my way) with a meaning that’s up for interpretation. Actually, the real final verse is missing from the song; per Songfacts, Young’s father said in the book Neil and Me that the verse was lost after an electrical circuit was blown during the recording process but that Neil didn’t like that verse anyway.

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