"Rockin' in the Free World
" is a song by Neil Young, released on his 1989 album Freedom. Two versions of the song were released, similarly to the song "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black
)" of Young's Rust Never Sleeps album, one of which is performed with a predominantly acoustic
arrangement, and the other with a predominantly electric
arrangement. The song is now considered one of Neil Young's best songs. Young wrote the song while on tour with his band The Restless in February 1989. He learned that a planned concert tour to the Soviet Union was not going to happen and his guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro said "we'll have to keep on rockin' in the free world". The lyrics criticize the George H. W. Bush administration, then in its first month, and the social problems of contemporary American life, while directly referencing Bush's famous "thousand points of light" remark from his 1989 inaugural address and his 1988 presidential campaign promise for America to become a "kinder, gentler nation." The song also refers to Ayatollah Khomeini's proclamation that the United States was the "Great Satan" and Jesse Jackson's 1988 campaign slogan, "Keep hope alive". The song was first performed live on February 21, 1989, in Seattle with The Restless, without the band having rehearsed it.