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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.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.