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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

"Almost Famous" Film Soundtrack: Source of “Cortez the Killer” by Neil Young is Unknown - UPDATED w/ Sneak Preview

Check Your Sources | LTE | NYA
 (Click photo to enlarge)
Last month, we posted on Neil Young's Deleted Scene in Cameron Crowe's ‘Almost Famous’ Film, which brought great delight in memories of this iconic and essential "time capsule" film. 

"Almost Famous" Film Scene
Tribute to "Time Fades Away" by Neil Young Album Cover
 (Click photo to enlarge)

In an interview with  Cameron Crowe on the 20th Anniversary of ‘Almost Famous’: ‘It’s Never Been as Popular as It Is Now’ by Angie Martoccio on Neil Young's deleted scene, Crowe says that while Neil didn't appear in the film, he provided a rare  acoustic “Cortez the Killer”. 

However,  Neil Young's “Cortez the Killer” did not appear on the official "Almost Famous" soundtrack.


Which prompted the editor of this blog to write to Neil and ask "Hey, what's the deal?" (See Letter to Editor above and @ Check Your Sources |NYA.) 

Patrick Fugit as “William Miller” & Kate Hudson as "Penny Lane"


Admittedly, it does warm our little hearts to see the response back from Neil asking us to  "check our sources".

Some have speculated that the source was 26th June 1992 @  Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland, USA  (via Sugar Mountain), but, apparently, that is not the case.


 “Cortez the Killer” by Neil Young In Concert
via Sugar Mountain

There are 542 performances of  "Cortez the Killer” listed on  Sugar Mountain:
  • Electric guitar:507
  • 12 string acoustic guitar: 21
  • Acoustic guitar: 14

There are only 9 known acoustic guitar “Cortez the Killer” prior to 2000. Eight if we strike out 1992.

Bridge School Benefit 9
Bridge School Benefit 10 #1

Next, is this a 12 string acoustic guitar version? 21 concerts listed on  Sugar Mountain of CTK on 12 string.

OK, TW readers and sources, which version of the acoustic “Cortez the Killer” is in the film "Almost Famous"? It's gotta be a Bridge Benefit concert.  But which one?

Check those tapes! We're checking ours.We attended 96 & 99 and maybe 95 Bridge Benefits, so that would be pretty cool.

More on Neil Young's Deleted Scene in Cameron Crowe's ‘Almost Famous’ Film

More on "Cortez The Killer" by Neil Young + Lyrics Analysis

UPDATE: See comments below

via Sugar Mountain


NYA Sneak Preview - Cortez 

He giveth.  We thanketh!

Labels: , , , ,


At 9/09/2020 04:00:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Ok, in checking w/ our sources @ SM, RR, Spook The Horse & others, the consensus is
1999-03-20, Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California, USA

12 string acoustic guitar, confirmed.

Thank you sources!

At 9/09/2020 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Keys Left Hanging said...

Let Neil know, Thrasher!

At 9/09/2020 05:17:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks KLH! will do. On it. :)

Thanks again to all of our TW sources! You're the best.

Also, an update via Sugar Mtn per image at bottom:

"The information has been on SM for many, many years but you need to be looking at the March 20, 1999 show details to see it.

Cortez from Oakland now up on NYA as a sneak preview. And I was mistaken – it is not on 12 string – it is 6 string acoustic.

It is and has always been a stunning version !!! "

At 9/09/2020 05:22:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

re; NYA Sneak Preview of 6 string acoustic Cortez

He giveth. We thanketh!

At 9/09/2020 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Kevin B said...

i wrote cameron about this cortez version in 2004. andy fischer wrote back on his behalf and said it’s from the paramount theater in oakland 1999

At 9/09/2020 08:25:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/09/2020 10:59:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This acoustic solo version of Cortez the Killer is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. Wow.


At 9/10/2020 04:58:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

@Dan Swan - Whole heartily agree.. so sweet. Reminds me of the Natural Beauty version from Dreamin' Man album - gives me shivers every time I hear the harmonia solo and this Cortez version is now my favourite acoustic version of all time played so much feeling.

At 9/10/2020 05:37:00 AM, Blogger Greying Rider said...

Stunning. Never heard Cortez like this and it is yet another gem being dug up in these rich, rich times for NY fans. Bravo Thrasher for inspiring the Sneak Preview. These previews give me such joy, particularly the CSNY Midnight on the Bay and that jaw dropping 60 to Zero. So very, very much to look forward to being released one day. That in of itself is a joy.

As NY fans, the level of interaction and cause/effect we currently have with Neil is incredible. We are privileged to be fans of an artist who giveth so much. We must savour and cherish this as it cannot go on forever. I'm so tired of the negativity of these days. What Neil is giving to us musically through NYA is an antidote. This Cortez made my day.

Roll on Rust Bucket vinyl and blu-ray!

At 9/10/2020 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Herbal Dave said...

That’s Patrick Fugit as “William Miller”, not Billy Crudup as “Russell Hammond” in the above photo.

At 9/10/2020 12:11:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Herbal Dave - oops, thanks for correction. updated

At 9/10/2020 12:22:00 PM, Blogger NYBD11-12 said...

I was at the June 1992 Merriweather Post show. I don't remember the attempted Cortez. The highlight for me was the performance of "Homefires" for only 10th time live. It was only the third live performance of "Hitchhiker." The show had 7 unreleased songs, with 4 from Harvest Moon.

For me, one of the great things about a Neil show is hearing unreleased songs. In addition to the amazing playing, the Rust Never Sleeps tour was notable for its 8 unreleased songs out of 20. (This included 3 songs from Comes A Time, which was released a few weeks after the RNS shows in MI.)

At 9/10/2020 12:56:00 PM, Blogger Celtglass said...

Truly a stunning and beautiful version of Cortez! We are so lucky Neil giveth!

At 9/10/2020 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...


At 9/10/2020 05:09:00 PM, Blogger DREman said...

This is another killer acoustic version here:

And this one has an additional verse that most of you have never heard!!!

At 5/22/2021 04:38:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

you can find the video performance at


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