Published Sep 12, 2013Neil Young is a Canadian hero, but the songwriting god has earned himself some enemies in Fort McMurray, AB. He compared the city, which is located in the Athabasca oil sands, to Hiroshima after being devastated by the atomic bomb, and this resulted in him being axed from local radio playlists.
Young called Fort McMurray a "wasteland" on Tuesday (September 10) during a news conference in Washington, DC, in which he spoke out against the Keystone XL pipeline, saying, "The fact is, Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima. There's fumes everywhere. You can smell it when you get to town."
As the Canadian Press reports, Rock 97.9 radio DJ Chris Byrne evidently wasn't too happy about his town being compared to Hiroshima, since he stopped playing Shakey's music for a day.
He then asked his listeners if the ban should be extended indefinitely, and while the majority said "no," these responses were apparently found to have come largely from outside Fort McMurray. Most locals reportedly supported the ban, so Young's music was cut from the station's playlist.
Byrne, who used to play a few Young songs a day, told the Canadian Press, "To [put] Fort McMurray on the same level as a nuclear bomb, dropped to end a world war — when you get to that extreme, you kind of have to get into specifics."
The radio station posted a parody song bashing Neil Young on its website. Set to the tune of "Sweet Home Alabama" (with the chorus rewritten as "Sweet Home Fort McMurray), the track includes lines like "I hate old Neil, he put us down." Listen to the song here.
Watch Young's controversial speech below. He mostly talks about biofuel, but he begins talking about Alberta and Fort McMurray at around the 6:35 mark.