Hole’s Courtney Love who has previously stated on record about how the music of Neil Young saved her life and this glorious cover of ‘Cinnamon Girl’ sees the lead singer pour her heart into a cover which is nothing short of beautiful.
Neil Young’s music was poignant to Courtney Love for a number of close to home reasons, perhaps the most famous of these is because of when her husband Kurt Cobain tragically took his own life in 1994 and in his suicide note quoted Young’s lyrics. In the final letter he left to his fans, friends and family, Cobain reprinted the phrase “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” from Young’s track ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)’.
Young poignantly wrote this in his memoirs about how it scarred him when he discovered that Cobain had quoted his lyrics: “When he died and left that note, it struck a deep chord inside of me. It fucked with me,” he said. “I, coincidentally, had been trying to reach him. I wanted to talk to him. Tell him only to play when he felt like it.”
Some years later, Love was dealing with substance abuse issues and Neil Young’s music was one of the few things she had to grasp on to when she was at her lowest ebb, something was something that she treasured greatly which got her through that challenging period.
Love told Steppin’ Out magazine: “When I was in rehab, I had some really cool CDs with me,I had Dylan and I had R.E.M. and I had Neil Young’s Decade. I put on Decade and I heard ‘Old Man’. It was 5 in the morning and I was kicking Xanax, and it was a fucking nightmare, and I saw Neil standing above me. And I was like, ‘Neil, you’re God! This is great!’ And that was huge. I thought I can do this. I can get through this, and Neil is going to get me through. It was a deeply spiritual thing. It was cool.”
Another track which featured on the compilation album Decade was ‘Cinnamon Girl’, which became a staple in Hole’s set across 1995 to raucous receptions from town to town with Love making the song completely her own without compromising on the feel of the material that Young had created decades previously.
The track debuted on 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Young’s first step into the wild with his new backing band Crazy Horse. ‘Cinnamon Girl’ would later be released as a single in 1970, peaking at 55 on the Billboard chart. Many artists have chosen to cover the track over the years over the years including the likes of Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters but Hole’s might be the rawest out of the bunch.
Watch Hole rip through a blistering rendition of the classic whilst performing in Milan in 1995.