Title: "Cortez the Killer" (live)
Artist: Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Album: Weld, 1991. Original studio version from Zuma, 1975. Also available on Live Rust, 1979.
Written By: Neil Young
Several versions to choose from, but I usually return to the Weld version. It is actually slower than the studio version, but features some of Neil's most passionate playing on record and is the most majestic version. "He came dancing across the water / With his galleons and guns..." God what great lyrics! The song is so gorgeous that I can even forgive the blatant historical inaccuracies. "Hate was just a legend and war was never known." No. The Aztecs were one of the most brutal tribes in the Americas, and one of the reasons Cortez was able to conquer them is because other tribes were so sick of being slaughtered by the Aztecs, so they joined with Cortez and the Spaniards to kick Montezuma's ass. Of course, they came to regret it once under even more brutal Spanish rule. But no matter, it is mostly about the feel. The two solos (one starting at 5:40 and then especially the one starting at 7:35) show why Neil Young is such a brilliant electric guitarist, technique be damned.