Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

Out of the blue and into the black
You pay for this, but they give you that
Once you're gone, you can't come back
When you're out of the blue
And into the black


The king is gone but he's not forgotten
Is this the story of Johnny Rotten?
It's better to burn out 'cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone but he's not forgotten


Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) song meanings
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39 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentUntil Rockin' in the Free World Came out, this had to be the greatest ass kicking Neil Young song there was. The riff is great. The version on Weld is the best. Who cares about how Kurt Cobain quoted it. Or if it's about the punk wave, or Elvis. This song still rules.

    This song might as well be about Neil himself. About how music will last forever and outlive its makers. Great music is timeless. Shitty flash in the pan
    music won't stand the test of time. Today's Top 40 crapfest won't mean anything years from now. Once some stupid fad song loses its apeal, it's usually forgotten forever like the Macarena. Real music, with smart lyrics and talented, honest artists that write their own material, like Neil, will last. "Rock and Roll can never die." Good music may not be as popular anymore, but it can't be denied that it actually means something.

    It's better to burn out, than to fade away. It doesn't mean you need to die young while you're still popular. Artists can walk away from music at the height of their popularity. They may die. Jimi Hendrix died after only making a few albums, but he's legendary. They don't have to die though. It's just better, from a "go down in history" way, than starting to make shit music and becoming a pathetic joke. If an artist can't keep up the quality in their work, it would have been better to stop before embarrassing themselves. Michael Jackson comes to mind.

    But if you're great, you can keep rocking out on stage when you're Neil's age. Most bands stopped touring and making music years ago, but Neil and some others are still out there. Well still out there before having a brain anyeurism. We'll have to wait and see how that pans out.

    The "rust never sleeps" line is pretty much the same message as "than to fade away". Either it was used because of the title of the Rust Never Sleeps album that Hey Hey, My My bookended in acoustic and electric versions or vice versa. He doesn't use it on Weld, so it could just have been an album plug line. Rust is just the effects of age and time. Rusting is the same as growing old and wasting away. It's sad to see great artists and people in general lose their health and their youth. At least their music doesn't age.

    Only Neil could mean so much with so little.

    These lyrics are missing another "Hey hey, my my" at the end of the first verse.
    Svedenhauson May 15, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is rediculously great. i couldn't be a bigger fan. it's seems so simple and yet it's really moving. i just can't get over it...it's hard to explain
    comatoaston April 17, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJohnny Rotten was the front-man for the Sex Pistols. After he left in 1978, the band imploded.

    This song was released a year later, in 1979.

    I think this song is about bands breaking up. Although the bands fade, the music never dies.
    sladeon April 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is such a kick-ass song. And the distortion is awesome.

    "Hey hey, my my
    Rock and roll can never die"

    --I love this line.
    Philadelphia Eagleson November 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKurt Cobain quoted Hey Hey, My My in his suicide, leaving a marked impression on Neil, who in turn wrote an entire album dedicated to Kurt. I forget the name of the album (ergh...), but it's just important.
    fugazion February 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe album to Kurt was "Sleeps with Angels."
    Buddha of Suburbiaon March 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAccording to the journalist/novelist Michael Connely \"Out of the Blue Into the Black\" is a saying the tunnel rats of vietnam had... the rest of the song supports the idea of being a soldier \"When you\'re gone you never come back\", as well \"They give you this, but you pay for that\" - sounds like Vietnam to me.

    Can anybody confirm this? Young wasn\'t a plastic hippy. Is he singing a tribute to soldiers/musicians?
    SemperSolitasEston April 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow...amazing song. Neil Young is fricking great from both a musical and political perspective.
    coldplaeon July 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentword.
    sam_amadoron September 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch an awesome song. It's about how bands end in different ways. Burn outs, deaths, fights (like JOhnny Rotten leaving the Sex Pistols), fading away.
    River Wolfon September 18, 2004   Link

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