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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wilco Covers "Broken Arrow" on YouTube - UPDATED

UPDATE: 2/12 - This is a more complete version.

Wilco cover Neil Young's "Broken Arrow" - Feb 9, 2010 Schnitzer Hall, Portland, OR

One of the many highlights of the MusiCares Person Of The Year honoring Neil Young was Wilco covering "Broken Arrow".

"Broken Arrow" is undoubtedly Neil Young's finest studio production -- a masterpiece and epic collage arranged by producer Jack Nitzsche that is on par with anything on The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band" seminal album.

The complexly and intricately constructed audio montage mixes effects and Young's guitar and vocals with a technique what is now commonly known as "sampling". But back in the dark ages of the 1960's audio recording equipment, it was a landmark achievement which took dozens of hours to produce -- an unheard of practice for a single track.

Rarely has the song been covered -- much less performed live -- because of its complexity and technical dexterity requirements.

While this is a truncated clip, The clip does show that Wilco has done "Broken Arrow" proud. (Above clip is missing beginning, this version has more of beginning but is shorter and misses end.)

(Thanks jon & Keith & Purple Words on a Grey Background!!)

From Wilco Talk Football at Montana Gig - Spinner University of Montana's Adams Center, 2/7/10:
"They also dusted off the 'Mermaid Ave Vol. II' Woody Guthrie track 'Remember the Mountain Bed.' 'We played that song because of your freaking mountains!' Tweedy said, then kicked off an eight-song encore with a majestic cover of Buffalo Springfield's 'Broken Arrow,' complete with the 'Mr. Soul' intro and 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' calliope sound. It's a version that they first unveiled at the MusiCares tribute to Neil Young. Heard through Wilco's sonic prism, the song sounds even more like it could have been on 'Sgt. Pepper' or 'Pet Sounds.'

'Yeah, you can see the tie-in between Neil Young and Pet Sounds,' says Kotche. 'Everything that was happening [in 1967], you can see he was kind of in that same head space. Our whole angle with learning that was to do it as exact as possible. The intros, the little interludes, the ending tag -- I'm even doing the same fills. It's fun to play -- and challenging.'"

Here's Wilco's Jeff Tweedy on Neil Young's influence:
"He's right up there in terms of a constant in my musical life as an influence and as a mentor. He's kind of just a force of nature. And I take him for granted sometimes like I take the sun for granted ... I'm really happy the sun comes up every day and I'm happy Neil Young keeps making records."

More on Wilco at MusiCares and Neil Young's influence on Wilco.

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At 2/11/2010 11:16:00 AM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Great take,Thrasher. What skilled musicians!I think that also Neil Young hardly could reproduce this song with so right arrangement.Buffalo Springfield tried it a lot of time in studio.And they were all such gifted musicians...

At 2/11/2010 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Keith said...

Great version of a great song. Do wanna correct though: Jack had nothing to do with Broken Arrow; you're thinking of Expecting To Fly. This was Neil producing and arranging alone.

At 2/11/2010 02:57:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Jeff, if you read this..

If there is one thing as a loyal Neil fan that I expect from anyone that covers Neil's songs is that lyrically they keep them true..interpretation of the song with their own slant?... no worries

But the lyrics..they have got to be spot on.

As I have said on another post, not only do you guys "nail" this song with its complexties and idiosynchrasies but it is also lyrically spot on..(WHATEVER Neil means in some verses)lol....

very "Last trip to Tulsa rish".

It is a credit to you guys as a band for making the effort to emulate "The master painter" perfectly..the brush strokes a very important!

Really hope to see you guys down under...

Now, THERE IS one band I'm looking forward to seeing in Oz

Hooked doc

At 2/11/2010 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Harm said...

Pretty cool how they also did the Mr. Soul intro... I don't even think Neil did a live version that was as close to the studio track as this one. Props to Wilco! Have recently acquired their Kicking Television live CD and it is definitely one of the better live albums out there, can recommend it to anyone.

At 2/11/2010 03:33:00 PM, Anonymous SONY said...

Did you see them! - Indeed!

Very good cover. I have played Broken Arrow accoustically-solo, but it can not match the ferver of the original or of this rendition. Wilco nails it on the head.

At 2/11/2010 08:19:00 PM, Anonymous Babbo said...

The only live versions Neil ever did were solo acoustic, right?

At 2/12/2010 12:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad it cut out before the end. Did someone whip out a clarinet?

At 2/12/2010 02:06:00 AM, Blogger William Joseph said...

Same rendition in Portland on 2/9/10. I'll post the whole song later on YouTube.

At 2/12/2010 08:09:00 AM, Blogger Homesick in Paradise said...

The full-length version is now available at

At 2/12/2010 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Reelife Productions said...

sorry for the off topic post but....

Hardcore Neil fans, I thought you might like to know that I'm guest hosting a radio show THIS Sunday night from 9-11pm:

"A Palace in The Gravy": The Very Best & Worst of Neil Young
Radio show
THIS Sunday, 2/14, 9-11pm (Eastern)
radio: 93.9fm (western ma, usa)
streaming internet:

more info, comments, etc:

At 2/12/2010 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash (or anybody else)...

I been hearing some rumors this morning that Neil may be a part of tonight's Olympic opening ceremony. Anybody have anything more on this?

At 2/12/2010 11:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool, thanks Thrasher! Second to having Neil himself break this out, that was very satisfying ... its great to see such a talented 'young' (no pun intended) band having so much respect for Neil and breaking out his classic tunes from 40 years ago ... his music is so incredibly timeless ...

At 2/12/2010 03:17:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Just watched the clip again...No wonder Neil enjoyed finishing a lot of his concerts with "a day in the life of"...

How is the ending to "Broken Arrow"

Doesn't it sound somewhat familiar?... and that was well before he use to "Annihilate ol' black" on stage in ADITLO!


At 2/12/2010 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey thrasher..did you see a copy of the squires original 7 inch single..the sultan..just sold on ebay for only $2500....

At 2/12/2010 07:50:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Whoa, they're would be a lot of very rich Neil fans out there right now, going on that..but hey ,How do you put a price on memoribilia such as rare early Neil?

You could never part with that could you?

That person must be so desperate for money..I hope he does not regret his actions down the track!


At 2/14/2010 02:41:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

We would live
as our fathers did
and their fathers
before them

Crazy Horse (Lakota)

At 2/15/2010 03:04:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Wilco is totally awesome. Superb musicians and great showmen, they continue to carry the flame. Jeff Tweedy has the gift and is a true poet; Nels Cline is a natural resource and an unbelievably great guitarist; John Stirrat and Glen Kotche are the perfect rhythm section; Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgenson are amazing musicians. Great artists and human beings...I hope they all live to be a hundred.

I often listen to their wonderful music: Kicking Television, Sky Blue Sky, A Ghost is Born and especially Yankee Hotel Foxtrot...Jim O'Rourke did some amazing work there! I've been lucky enough to see them perform live a few times, and also the great Uncle Tupelo before that. Also have seen Nels in other great shows (Mike Watt; Dangerous Waves w/ Zeena Parkins and Thurston Moore). Looking forward to seeing them again in a few weeks when they get back around these parts. Hope they play Broken Arrow as part of their show!

RIP Jay Bennett...really enjoyed your music...take the Shangri-Las used to sing "Heaven Only Knows"

On a separate note:

Congratulations to Alex Bilodeau on your Gold deserve your reward. You've made all of Canada proud...and your loving relationship with your incredible brother is inspirational. You remind me of another great Canadian!!!


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