Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl

My friend says he heard that Neil made this song up about a girl he met that had the best pair of buns he ever saw.

Any other thoughts on what he meant by a “cinnamon” girl?

One with cinnamon-colored skin would be my WAG. Your friend’s idea sounds awfully lame…


Cute, but very dubious. :smiley:

Cinnamon Girl is an excellent piece of songwriting because it can be about whatever kind of woman you want it to be about. Here’s the grand total of what Neil sings about the cinnamon girl:

He wants to live with one could be happy the rest of his life with one.
His drummer has one, but not necessarily the one mentioned earlier.
(Maybe) she loves to dance.

And that’s it. Whether he has a cinnamon girl in real life or just in his dreams is not clear. Most of the song is about music, not the girl. Not a hint what she looks like, how she acts, and most interestingly, he says nothing about what is cinnamon-y about her. It could be her skin, her hair, her eyes, what she tastes like, or anything about her being. He might’ve had a real person or feature in mind when he wrote it, but even if he did, it doesn’t matter - it’s not in the song. The song is just that tantalizing description, a bruising guitar riff that’s about as good as anything anyone else ever wrote, and a nice bridge.

When I was an adolescent, I had reoccurring romantic (not erotic) dreams about a nameless beautiful redhead girl. It was the powerful sort of hormone-fueled dream that made my heart hurt when I woke up. The first time I heard this song, I thought that’s her!

From Wiki:

It’s true.

And ironically the song “Fat Bottomed Girls” was actually about a girl Brian May knew in high school whose name was Cinnamon.

Okay, I can’t document this.

You mean Layla’s sister?

I don’t know Neil Young.

However, I can suspect that he had a good hook, he needed words and something caught his eye.

“Love is a Rose” may be another example.

Sometimes it’s the music, sometimes it’s the lyrics.

In the case of “Cinnamon Girl,” I think it was the music.

The riff and solo stand alone. He could have been singing about a model train.

I recall a classic rock DJ on the radio 10 years ago or so saying the song was about heroin, and that’s how I always interpreted it. It’s a bit too somber and grunge-y for a love song, but it makes more sense if the “girl” is an addiction, and it makes the “Ma send me money now, I gotta make it somehow” part seem all the more dark.

I too could be happy for the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl, but if she’s not available then some cinnamon toast will do.

You’re Charlie Brown???

My guess would be that it is a reference to hair color.

The solo in that song’s original album version is one note- so, solo on a couple of levels.

She’s the girl that works that counter at Cinnabon. Failing that, the cinnabon itself. Oooh yeah.

I’ve long wondered what he meant by that Phil Ochs eyes thing. It’s hard to imagine seeing a sexy girl and thinking she reminded me of Phil Ochs.

This song is really satisfying to play on guitar, though.

I took it to mean a girl that Phil Ochs described seeing, probably through song. I may be torturing the quote to get that meaning, but it was my first impression of what Young meant.

That’s just dead-on.

The power of the song is what it is not – what it doesn’t say and what it doesn’t do.