Norah Jones – Don’t Be Denied (2016)

September 30, 2019 – Day 122

Norah Jones covered Neil Young’s “Don’t Be Denied” for her 2016 album “Day Breaks” but she changed the lyrics slightly. She explains in an NPR interview: “I love that song so much. And I had a hard time singing those lyrics. They’re so personal to him and talking about being a young boy and moving to Winnipeg. So I kind of changed the perspective. And I made it third person about a girl going to Anchorage, which is something that happened to me when I was 11. My mom and I drove up Anchorage from Texas to live for a little while.” Neil and Norah were both left with their mother by their famous father. Neil’s father was Scott Young, journalist and novelist who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a writer in 1988. Norah’s father was world renowned sitar player and George Harrison collaborator/teacher Ravi Shankar. The confessional song is one of the best Neil Young deep cuts, originally from his 1973 live album “Time Fades Away.” The album was in stark contrast to the chart topping “Harvest” LP that preceeded it and Neil omitted it from his catalog for years before finally reissuing it again on vinyl in 2014 and CD in 2017. His reason? “Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while.” My favourite lyric change in Norah’s version of the song is in the passage recounting the tale of getting beat up at school for wearing the wrong type of shoes: for Neil is was “white bucks”, casual dress shoes. For Norah, she sings “white Chucks”, referring to Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. “All that glitters isn’t gold / You know you heard that story told”

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