Watch ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Play Guitar Solo From Neil Young’s ‘Cinnamon Girl’
Throughout his career, "Weird Al" Yankovic has been synonymous with the accordion. But at his show at the Apollo Theater in New York on March 23) he strapped on a guitar onstage for the first time and took the solo while he and his band performed Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl."
“Tonight is a very, very special night for two big reasons," he said. "One is, on this next song, I’m going to make my guitar-playing debut. My whole life, I never learned to play the guitar. I figured, you know, I’ve been in entertainment, I’ve been a recording artist and a professional musician for most of my life, and I should know how to play the guitar. So, for the last several months, I’ve been studying and learning how to play the guitar so that I could debut it at the Apollo on this next song.”
Yankovic added that he and his band were "honored and humbled to be playing the famous Apollo Theater," which is one of the most storied venues in the history of African-American music. Yankovic quipped that the best way to pay tribute to its history was by "playing a song by the great Mr. Neil Young."
With that, the band launched into the song (which appeared on Young's 1970 album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere) and, when it came time for the solo, Yankovic moved the guitar from across his back to the front and played it note-for-note. Of course, that's stretching it a bit, because the "Cinnamon Girl" solo consists of one note, a D played on the high E string that's been tuned down a step, repeated multiple times over 10 bars, with only the song's two-bar riff interrupting it.
You can watch the performance below.