Sedan Delivery

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"Sedan Delivery"
Song by Neil Young
from the album Rust Never Sleeps
ReleasedJuly 2, 1979
GenreRock
Length4:40
LabelReprise
Songwriter(s)Neil Young
Producer(s)Neil Young
David Briggs
Tim Mulligan

"Sedan Delivery" is a song written by Neil Young that was first released on his 1979 album with Crazy Horse, Rust Never Sleeps.

Background[edit]

As with several other songs on Rust Never Sleeps, including "Pocahontas" and "Powderfinger," "Sedan Delivery" was originally recorded for the unreleased Chrome Dreams album in 1977;[1][2] as with "Powderfinger" (and another Chrome Dreams song, "Captain Kennedy"), "Sedan Delivery" was offered to Lynyrd Skynyrd for them to possibly include on their Street Survivors album, but Lynyrd Skynyrd ultimately passed on all of them.[2]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The version of "Sedan Delivery" on Rust Never Sleeps is faster than the version recorded for Chrome Dreams.[3][4] Much of the Rust Never Sleeps version is taken at a very fast speed, consistent with that of many punk rock songs of the time, including those by the Sex Pistols.[3][5] Although Young has denied a punk rock influence on the song, which is consistent with its being written as early as 1977, music journalist Nigel Williamson points out that the increase in speed from the Chrome Dreams version indicates that punk rock influenced the ultimate arrangement.[4] In the Rust Never Sleeps version the song sometimes slows down, only to speed up again.[5][6][7] Allmusic critic Matthew Greenwald describes these slowed down bridge passages as being "almost psychedelic."[5] Music critic Johnny Rogan interprets the varying tempos as complimenting the confusion of the lyrics.[7]

The lyrics go through a number of varying scenes, which Williamson describes as "surreal."[4][6][7] The narrator starts by singing about beating a woman with varicose veins in a game of pool,[7] he then sings about visiting the dentist, seeing a movie about Caesar and Cleopatra, and delivering chemicals to a mad scientist.[4][6][7] Greenwald interprets the lyrics as a "stream-of-consciousness diatribe of the modern world and a young person's state of confusion."[5] Rolling Stone interprets the song as being the opposite of Young's earlier song "Tonight's the Night" in that in "Tonight's the Night" a working man is destroyed by drugs while in "Sedan Delivery" the narrator is a workingman whose job is to distribute drugs.[3] Author Ken Bielen agrees that the narrator is probably a drug dealer, based on the fact that the one delivery he makes is of "chemicals and sacred roots."[6] In 2014, Rolling Stone interpreted the last lines "Sedan delivery is a job I know I'll keep/It sure was hard to find" as reflecting the narrator's resolve to keep hustling despite the pressures of the job,[3] but Rolling Stone critic Paul Nelson interpreted these lines slightly differently in 1979. He interpreted them as demonstrating the narrator's pride in his job, despite the danger, possibly reflecting Young's own pride in his job.[8]

Reception[edit]

In 2014, Rolling Stone rated "Sedan Delivery" to be the #30 Neil Young song of all time.[3]

Other appearances[edit]

Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed "Sedan Delivery" live on the live album Live Rust, released later in 1979.[5] Another live version was released on the 1997 live album Year of the Horse.[5]

The Feelies released a cover version of "Sedan Delivery" in 1986 on the four song EP, "No One Knows," which takes its name from the song, released around the same time as their 1986 album The Good Earth.[9], which included two songs from the album, and two covers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boyd, G. (2012). Neil Young FAQ. Backbeat Books. ASIN B008RYZ7WM.
  2. ^ a b Durchholz, D. & Graff, G. (2012). Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Updated Edition. MBI. pp. 61, 117. ISBN 9781610586917.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The 100 Greatest Songs". Neil Young. Rolling Stone. 2014. p. 82.
  4. ^ a b c d Williamson, N. (2002). Journey Through the Past: The Stories Behind the Classic Songs of Neil Young. Hal Leonard. p. 79. ISBN 9780879307417.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Greenwald, M. "Sedan Delivery". Allmusic. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  6. ^ a b c d Bielen, K. (2008). The Words and Music of Neil Young. Praeger. p. 43. ISBN 9780275999025.
  7. ^ a b c d e Rogan, J. (1996). The Complete Guide to the Music of Neil Young. Omnibus Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-0711953994.
  8. ^ Nelson, P. (Oct 18, 1979). "Neil Young Rust Never Sleeps > Album Review". Rolling Stone (302). Archived from the original on 24 Aug 2007. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  9. ^ Raggett, N. "The Good Earth". Allmusic. Retrieved 2015-06-28.