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Neil Young is back and standing up for changes in the police system.

Neil Young Releases Newer 'Southern Man,' Calls For Police Reform

Gettyimages | Gary Miller
By Emily Reily

Musician Neil Young has released an updated version of his '70s hit "Southern Man," to go along with his renewed calls for police reform.

"Southern Man" was originally off Young's 1970 album After the Gold Rush. At the time the song came out, it was perfect for the time, but Young thinks the song needs a little bit of updating.

Young is referring to the death of George Floyd, (and all others who have been killed by police), and the riots and protests that have risen up since Floyd's death.

Neil Young rarely strays far from his liberal roots.
Twitter / Neil Young Archives

On Wednesday, Young posted the newest version of "Southern Man," which he performed last year, on his archives site. While Young recognizes that the world has moved on, the message in "Southern Man" remains -- it just needs to include all people.

“Here’s me as an old guy singin’ his 50-year-old song that was written after countless years of racism in the USA. And look at us today! This has been going on for way too long. It’s not just ‘Southern Man’ now. It’s everywhere across the USA. It’s time for real change, new laws, new rules for policing.”

Young's music still remains relevant.
Twitter / Neil Young Archives

Brooklyn Vegan writes that this new version of "Southern Man" came from a concert video that Young plans to bring to his archives.

@RollingStone tweeted that the song can easily translate to today's struggle for equal rights:

"It’s not just ‘Southern Man’ now. It’s everywhere across the USA. It’s time for real change, new laws, new rules for policing."

Young does have a new album coming out, Homegrown, which is due June 19. While it would be easy to say that the single release is promoting his upcoming album, Young has always been a staunch supporter for equality.

Neil Young was once part of the folk rock group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Twitter / Neil Young Archives

Young, who became an American citizen earlier this year, supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president (he of course later dropped out).

When he endorsed Sanders, he continued to promote the values he's had his whole life:

“Stand for the workers, stand for the teachers, stand for the students, stand up for Climate Justice. Stand for higher taxes on the super-rich to pay for all love the above! Stand for the American Future. Stand with Bernie Sanders,” he said at the time."

Four people were killed during the Kent State Massacre, which involved the National Guard.
Gettyimages | Bettmann

Rolling Stone writes that "Southern Man" references slavery in the United States, particularly in the South, but adds that it's not Young's only political statement.

"Crosby, Stills Nash and Young’s “Ohio” recently turned 50. That song dealt with the Kent State Massacre, during which the Ohio National Guard shot at students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four."

Devo’s Gerald Casale talked to Rolling Stone about the song "Ohio" and Kent State.

“It’s like Trump today, treating things like a WWF smackdown. It was Governor Rhodes, unbeknownst to us, who conspired with the dean at Kent State University to house the National Guard in buildings on Sunday night so they’d be ready to pounce at the protest that everyone knew was coming.”

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