Neil Young sings ‘Lookin’ for a Leader,’ targets Donald Trump in ‘Fireside Session’

In the midst of the ongoing anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd in May, Canadian-American rock veteran Neil Young has returned to the internet with a politically charged installment of his acoustic Fireside Sessions series called Porch Episode.

Young, 74, criticized President Donald Trump‘s leadership of the U.S. in a lyrical rewrite of his 2006 track Lookin’ for a Leader during the 33-minute front porch performance released on Wednesday, and also showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Lookin’ for a Leader was initially released as part of Young’s Living with War (2006) solo album and written shortly before former president Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign for the 2008 election, while George W. Bush was still in power.

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In the Heart of Gold rocker’s updated rendition of the political tune, lines like “Yeah, maybe it’s Obama / But he thinks that he’s too young” and “Maybe it’s Colin Powell / To right what he’s done wrong” have been replaced with lyrics expressing a wish that Obama, 56, were in office or calling for Biden, 77, to win the upcoming election.

“Yeah, we had Barack Obama, and we really need him now / The man who stood behind him has to take his place somehow,” Young sings in the 2020 update, referring to the former president/vice-president duo.

“America has a leader building walls around our house, who don’t know Black lives matter,” the Grammy Award winner sang of Trump, 73.

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“It’s time to vote him out.”

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In reference to the Republican leader’s border wall, Young continued: “America is beautiful / But she has an ugly side / We’re looking for a leader for this country far and wide / Just like his big new fence.”

Young’s lyrics also expressed optimism that Trump will lose to Biden.

This isn’t the first time Young has been open about his disapproval of Trump.

Weeks after becoming an official U.S. citizen in January, the Rockin’ in the Free World singer penned a highly critical open letter to the president in which he called him a “disgrace to my country.”

Neil Young blasts Donald Trump in online post about California wildfires
Neil Young blasts Donald Trump in online post about California wildfires

As well as Lookin’ for a Leader, the Toronto-born musician pulled out highly political, fan-favourite songs for his latest Fireside Session, including Alabama, Campaigner, Ohio and Southern Man.

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Last month, Young shared a previously unreleased live recording of the latter track while calling for “new laws,” “new rules for policing” and an overall “real change” to help put a stop to systemic racism.

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Floyd, a Black man, was killed after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest in Minneapolis. He was 46.

His death, along with those of Black individuals, including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, has helped renew calls to fight systemic racism and put an end to police brutality across the world.

Trump’s ‘symbol of hate’ comment was attack on Black Lives Matter organization: WH press secretary
Trump’s ‘symbol of hate’ comment was attack on Black Lives Matter organization: WH press secretary

Porch Episode serves as the sixth official Fireside Session. The series launched shortly after the novel coronavirus was declared a global pandemic on March 11. Each of the shorts has been recorded and edited by Young’s wife Daryl Hannah.

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The full performance is available through the official Neil Young Archives website.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

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