“Let’s Roll,” a new Neil Young song inspired by the passengers who overtook the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th, is surfacing at radio stations across the country this week. Young wrote and recorded the song two weeks ago after reading a news story on one of the flight’s passengers, Todd Beamer.
The song’s title is taken from a phrase passenger Beamer was apt to use and one he did when he phoned, from the plane, a GTE Airfone operator, explaining the situation the passengers’ plan to overpower the terrorists. As he hung up with the Airfone operator, he was heard saying, “Let’s roll.”
The song was sent out to rock radio programmers in Canada and the U.S. without advance notice or promotion. The lyrics tell the story of the flight, which many believe was targeted at a federal building in Washington, D.C., before the passengers’ diverted the plane’s path and heroically ended their lives in a field outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I know I said I love you/I know you know it’s true/I’ve got to put the phone down/And do what we’ve got to do/One standing in the aisle way/Two more at the door/We’ve got to get inside there/Before they kill some more/Time is running out/Let’s roll,” Young sings on the track, recorded with Booker T. and the MG’s and Crazy Horse guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro.
As yet there are no plans for a commercial release of the single, but it is expected to appear on Young’s next album, due early next year. Young plans to make a personal donation to a Beamer family fund.