Neil Young :: Pushed It Over The End (Live, 1974)

Musician Neil Young at the Beach

“I’d like to start with a kind of a quiet song,” Neil Young mutters, having popped up unannounced at a Leon Redbone/Ry Cooder gig at NYC’s Bottom Line in May of 1974. “It’s called, um … it’s called … ‘Citizen Kane Jr. Blues.'” So begins one of Young’s most famous bootlegs, during which he debuts several tracks from the then-unreleased On The Beach, instructs the audience on how to make honey slides (a potent marijuana + honey combo) and generally blows the minds of every single person present.Still officially unreleased, “Citizen Kane Jr. Blues” — later retitled “Pushed It Over The End” — is one of Neil’s doomiest creations, a minor key dirge detailing the exploits of a mysterious femme fatale. “Good lookin’ Milly” seems to be a Patty Hearst-inspired anti-heroine (“a gun in her hand, but she don’t know how to use it”) who by the final verse has fallen into something even more dangerous: politics. As played that night, the song is fully formed, perfectly presented — a classic performance prized by Shakey fanatics.

Slightly less well-known is the epic, fullly electrified arrangement of the tune that Neil took out on the road a few weeks later during CSNY’s coke-fueled Doom Tour. Like a lot of the music made by these dudes that summer, “Pushed It Over The End” sounds a bit bloated compared to the pared-down and precise Bottom Line version. But it is still a fun, off-the-rails ride, with Young’s fuzzed out, feedbacking guitar battling Stills’ electric piano over an almost reggae-fied lope. “Did those dreams of yours come true?” Neil asks the stadium full of ex-hippies during the song’s chorus. The dark and unresolved “Pushed It Over The End” suggests the answer is a resounding “no.” words/ t wilcox

Neil Young :: Pushed It Over The End (Live, 1974)
CSN&Y :: Pushed It Over The End (Electric version, Doom Tour)

Previously: Neil Young :: Sad Movies / Let It Shine (Amsterdam, 1976)

12 thoughts on “Neil Young :: Pushed It Over The End (Live, 1974)

  1. it’s hearing nuggets like this that lead one to wonder what other gems are hiding out in Neil’s unreleased vortex.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this. The electric version is really crazy. But for me there’s just so much more power in the acoustic version.

    Neil kicks ass. Never has there been such a successful musician who really doesn’t give a rip.

  3. this song would become both ‘ambulance blues’ and then eventually “natural beauty” on harvest moon. listen to the beginning of this ‘pushed it over the end’ and then listen to natural beauty. it’s equally mythic and oddly personal how a piece of music and vision progresses over time.

  4. Great stuff, thanks for sharing. Hopefully that Bottom Line gig is included in Archives Vol. 2 … but I’m not going to hold my breath!

Comments are closed.