Neil Young – Cortez the Killer – a track that got him banned!

Hernan Cortez led a successful invasion of South America in 1519 in which there was the brutal overthrown of the Aztec empire. It only took 2 years. One can only imagine the impact of the Spanish, with their horses, armour, galleons and superior technology. It was the equivalent of a superior race of aliens landing today. The Aztecs were utterly demoralised.

In their lust for gold Cortez committed atrocities, tortures and massacres.

Neil rather idealised the Aztec culture which had its own barbarism but did, for me, capture the brutality of the cynical Western European invasions of the Americas, Australia, Africa and around the world. Having developed a superior technology they set about ruthlessly invading the world, pillaging, raping and practicing genocide, setting up their empires and extracting wealth.

All largely sanitised in the history books.

What a great song. For some reason it was banned by Franco in Spain!!

“Cortez The Killer”

He came dancing across the water
With his galleons and guns
Looking for the new world
In that palace in the sun.On the shore lay Montezuma
With his coca leaves and pearls
In his halls he often wondered
With the secrets of the worlds.

And his subjects
gathered ’round him
Like the leaves around a tree
In their clothes of many colors
For the angry gods to see.

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood
straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.

They carried them
to the flatlands
And they died along the way
But they built up
with their bare hands
What we still can’t do today.

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can’t remember when
Or how I lost my way.

He came dancing across the water
Cortez, Cortez
What a killer.

6 thoughts on “Neil Young – Cortez the Killer – a track that got him banned!

  1. Heck of a nonsense claim about “sanitised” in the history books!
    Where did you read this, from something inside a Fortune Cookie?

    The song was banned only in Spain, only during Franco’s lifetime.
    I would doubt whether Neil lost sleep about diminished album sales in Spain, considering the album was released November 10 `75 and Franco died November 20 `75.
    Subsequently released in Spain with the more Spanish-friendly and abridged title of simply ‘Cortez’.

    1. I do not think you will find much about the genocide practiced against North and South American Indians, Tasmanian Aborigines, Native Australians and New Zealanders. There’s not a lot about the smallpox blankets given to them or deliberate infection with measles, or the shoot to kill policy, the taking of children from mothers.
      There was a brutal, cruel war of genocide waged against native populations that I think should have more prominence and remorse.
      It makes me ashamed to be associated with it.

      1. I recommend a visit to your nearest Waterstones and have a good browse around. Or in particular peruse the vast archive of DVD’s for sale on Amazon. There’s a large number of independent films and documentaries on these subjects and if you studied the lists for all the film festivals that show all around the world every year, you’ll see this for yourself.
        I’ll be going every day next month for the Glasgow Film Festival and will probably see about 3 films a day.
        Obviously you don’t subscribe to the History Channel, as it’s stuffed full with these kind of documentaries.
        There’s even a TV serial running now on FreeView TV about the removal of children from unmarried mothers by the Catholic church in Australia.

      2. I am sure there are hundreds. I’ve seen a few myself. I do have the history channel and see what they have to offer. It is the representation in mainstream literature and history books that interests me. It is usually conveniently glossed over. I was talking to a native American girl while travelling on a Greyhound across the States in 1971 and she was telling me in graphic detail about their persecution and the US Government policy to take the children away from parents and tribe to send them to orphanages to Westernise them.
        That film festival sounds great. Enjoy yourself!

      3. The persecution right now, today 2017, is just as bad as it ever was. They’ve got them cooped up in these reservations with no license to move within city limits, fed with drink, basically drugged out their minds and out of mind of society at large.
        Check out Leonard Peltier – of Digger fame.

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