Down By The River With The Hanky Panky Lyrics

Down By The River With The Hanky Panky Lyrics

Are you a fan of classic rock music? If so, you’ve probably heard of Neil Young’s song “Down by the River.” This iconic tune has stood the test of time and continues to be a favorite among music lovers today. But did you know that the song’s lyrics contain a reference to the “hanky panky”? Let’s take a closer look at the meaning behind this phrase.

The Origin of “Hanky Panky”

Origin of Hanky Panky

The term “hanky panky” has been around for centuries and refers to any kind of shady or suspicious behavior. Its origins are a bit murky, but it’s believed to have come from the Dutch phrase “hinkie pinkie,” which means “hand in hand.” Over time, the phrase evolved to mean something more sinister, and it eventually became associated with illicit activities.

The Lyrics of “Down by the River”

Lyrics of Down by the River

In Neil Young’s song “Down by the River,” the lyrics tell the story of a man who shoots his lover by the river. The line in question is “I shot my baby, down by the river, / Dead, oh, shot her dead.” But it’s the next line that contains the reference to the “hanky panky”: “You take my hand, I’ll take your hand, / Together we may get away.” Some interpret this to mean that the couple was engaged in some sort of illicit activity before the shooting took place.

The Interpretation of the Lyrics

Interpretation of the Lyrics

Of course, the true meaning of the lyrics is up for interpretation. Some believe that the “hanky panky” refers to drug use, while others think it’s a euphemism for sex. Still, others believe that the phrase is simply meant to add a sense of mystery and intrigue to the song.

The Legacy of “Down by the River”

Legacy of Down by the River

Regardless of the true meaning behind the lyrics, “Down by the River” remains one of Neil Young’s most beloved songs. It’s been covered by countless artists over the years, and its haunting melodies and cryptic lyrics continue to captivate audiences today. Whether you’re a die-hard Neil Young fan or just appreciate good music, “Down by the River” is a song that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.


So there you have it – a closer look at the meaning behind the “hanky panky” lyrics in Neil Young’s “Down by the River.” Whether you interpret the phrase to mean sex, drugs, or something else entirely, there’s no denying that the song remains a classic in the world of rock and roll. So the next time you find yourself humming along to its haunting melody, remember the mystery and intrigue behind those cryptic lyrics.

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