Bradley Cooper Plays Air Guitar to Neil Young's "Down by the River" — Video

We don't normally share (or care about) stories have have anything to do with "air guitar," but this viral video of actor Bradley Cooper on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon just isn't going away. And it's actually pretty cool.

In the clip, which you can check out below, Cooper—who has starred in The Hangover series, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle—plays air guitar to Neil Young's famous (and perhaps even perfect) guitar solo on "Down by the River," a tune Young recorded with Crazy Horse in 1969.

Early in the clip, Cooper (who is wearing a wig) admits he has very little musical talent—although he does a damn fine job with his performance (he looks like he really knows where the notes are)—I mean, in the context of "air guitar," of course.

The video also gives you a new appreciation for the solo itself, for Young's note choices, timing, spacing, attack, etc.

For your viewing pleasure, we've included a live 1970 TV performance of the song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. In that version, Stephen Stills and Young play the solo on their respective Gretsch guitars.

The Fallon video was posted to YouTube January 5. Cooper's "solo" starts around the 2:00 point in the clip.

Enjoy! Or "air enjoy"! And yes, Fallon is also wearing a wig.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.