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Neil Young

Nov. 12, 1945 -

Artistfacts for Neil Young

  • Neil was born in Toronto but moved to Winnipeg as a teenager when his parents divorced. His mother was a panelist on a Canadian quiz show and his father was a sports writer for the Toronto Sun. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • In 1982, Geffen Records signed Young and gave him complete creative control. Young made some experimental albums that flopped, and Geffen sued him, claiming he was intentionally making commercially unsuccessful albums. He settled the suit and went back to his old label, Reprise, in 1988.
  • He formed the influential band Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills in 1966. When Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1997, Young boycotted the presentation because he felt the event was too commercial. Seats at the dinner cost $1,200 each.
  • He worked as a solo artist while touring and recording with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
  • In 1979, he released a concert movie called Rust Never Sleeps. Young directed it using the name Bernard Shakey.
  • New York magazine The Village Voice named him '70s Artist Of The Decade.
  • At age 5, he contracted polio. The disease damaged the left side of his body and may have contributed to seizures he would experience for years to come.
  • When he formed his first band, The Squires, and traveled to gigs, they did so in Neil's hearse, which he named Mortimer. He loved that hearse.
  • His son Ben was born with cerebral palsy, as was his second son Zeke (born with a milder case). This led Neil's involvement with The Bridge School, which serves special-needs children. Neil holds a benefit concert for the school every year.
  • Young is the first artist to record two MTV Unpluggeds. He was so upset about the quality of the first one he showed up again three months later to record another one. R.E.M. also recorded two. (thanks, Dan - West Hartford, CT)
  • Young has indulged in marijuana and cocaine, but very rarely. In the movie The Last Waltz, you can see a huge ball of coke in Neil's nose; for the 2002 theatrical and DVD release, MGM digitally erased the ball. Young has never touched heroin or acid, and has never been in rehab.
  • He is a part owner of the Lionel train company. And holds patents on model railroad controls he uses with his son Ben. (thanks, Chris - Philadelphia, PA)
  • One of his first bands was The Mynah Birds, which featured Rick James on lead vocals. They signed with Motown, but the deal (and the band) fell apart when James was busted for dodging the draft.
  • In 1995, Pearl Jam recorded an album with Young called Mirror Ball. Because of record company restrictions, the name Pearl Jam could not appear anywhere on the album, but each member is named individually. (thanks, Elliot - St. Louis, MO)
  • A 17-year-old Neil Young made his stage debut at a country club in Winnipeg, Canada on January 31, 1963.
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Comments: 36

I first heard of one of Neil's songs (Clancy Can't Even Sing) at a dance hall in Houston around 1970.... a band called "Fever Tree" from San Francisco was playing. The lead singer had a very bluesy type of voice and I was instantly mesmerized by the lyrics of the song and this guy's voice.... later in the evening they played it again, and once again I found myself captivated by the song. Couple of months later by chance I so happened to turn on the radio (Houston's first FM radio station KLOL), and lo and behold there was Neil giving a acoustic concert at UCLA, which was the very first time I heard of him. His concert just sent me away especially the song Sugar Mountain, and at the time I was stoned out of head at the start of the concert but half way thru I realized my awareness was got very clear - his music literally sunk deep into my soul. And of course after that magical awesome evening / cosmic event for me, I started buying his music and found out he was the one who wrote "Clancy Can't Even Sing". I just love this guy and his music. Its simply amazing the number of songs he has written. I don't think there is anyone who has come close to writing the sheer volume of songs that he has written. Hope one of these days I can give him a big hug and just say to him how much over the decades I have thoroughly enjoyed his music.Charles - The Woodlands, Tx
My name is Lorne Ross and I am a former student of Morning Sky school in the Idyllwild area and I remember Zeke as well as other students. May Jack Weaver, who was a mentor to all students, rest in peace.Lorne - Santa Ana, Ca
There's more to the picture than meets the eye, keep digging guys, cross referential integrity.Leroy - Another Dimension, Australia
Neil young took great care of Zeke throughout his life. Zeke was an integral part of his live sound until recently - he wanted to make his own way. So now here is the dishonest advice manager for the home depot by the ranch. Ben king his younger son has a small organic egg farm with 200 chickens all named Georgette. Read his new book it explains where he's coming from and dispels ninety percent of the myths. Thanks for listening.Michael - Brick, Nj
Neil Young is just, amazing. His music is priceless. A true musician. This coming from a 21 year old...Angelica - San Diego, Ca
Neil Young abandoned his first son (Zeke) along with Zeke's mother, actor Carrie Snodgress. Zeke had mild cerebral palsy. Snodgress had to get the courts to force Young to support his son and her since she cared for her son virtually full time. Now she's dead, I wonder if Young helps Zeke at all. Real insight into Young character, don't you think?Peg - Boston, Ma
Cobain's suicide note included the words, " it's better to burn out than it is to fade." i just hope cobain didnt kill himself because of that lyric.Cliff - Dallas, Tx
Neil was born in winnipeg, then moved to toronto then back to winnipeg before moving to what was fort williams, soon to be thunder bay. there he first met stephen stills.Conor - Ottawa, Canada
Neil Young did NOT do Heroin, and even if he ever tried it, he never did it after Witten's death. Practically the entire Tonight's the Night album is about how horrible and stupid it was for Witten and Berry to die so early. Not to mention Needle and the Damage Done.Jack - Monmouth, Nj
I usually go for deeper cuts but"Cinnamon Girl"
still rocks me.
William David Snyder - Phoenix, Az
My father says that Neil Young is the real reason why James Taylor fell in love with Carly Simon in 1972. Dad says that Neil was the one who brought James Taylor and Carly Simon together. Is this true? Or is it just another one of my father's Tall Tales? Somebody please, clear up this confusion for me!Annabelle - Eugene, Or
I love After the Gold Rush( the song). Its so emotional and the lyrics are really nice. Him and Bob Dylan have some of the best lyrics around.He's like the only person who can e compared to Dylan for that. I loved Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young as my two favorites for a long time, withou knowing there was something between them.Kartik - Peace River, Canada
"i consider him to be the best technical guitarist of all time, above jimmy, clapton and duane allman."

Definitley not the best 'technical guitarist' (almost any classical guitarist could play circles around him), but he does play with alot of emotion.
Ross - Fredericton, Canada
I've never really listened to Neil Young until this year when I saw him live at Live 8 in Barrie... I was astonished at his voice and talent and ive been hooked ever since!Mike - Windsor, Canada
Neil Young is an amazing musician. if you are new to him check out his classic long jams with crazy horse "down by the river", "cowgirl in the sand" and my personal favorite "cortez the killer" (which was banned in spain).Ryan - Vancouver, Canada
My fav. Neil young song is The Loner, it's Just Freaken Awsome!!! I'm really suprised that it's not on this site though...Kendall - Thomasville, Ga
In my opinion Neil Young is one of the greatest musicians ever. And he's the least commercialistic one: His label got him to court because they said he was making a "non commercial album in a too different musical style which his fans are not expecting". (Neil won at court, of course ;-)

I've got a question: Does anyone of you know Neil's Song "CALIFORNIA SUNSET"??????? On which album can I find the song?
Patrick - Wr. Neustadt, Austria
you people obviously have no idea about neil youngs life

1. he did dabble in weed and cocaine quite often
2. he did try acid but didnt like it
3. he was addicted to heroin for 6 years

he was one of the worst druggies in the 70s
Sam - Philadelphia, Pa
Neil never touched heroin.....dabbled in others, but never heroin. He's simply the man!Brian - St. Andrews, Canada
Y'all wanna know something funny? The first neil young song I heard was 'After The gold Rush". As we all know it contains those vocals that most people love to hate. As a result, I did not like Neil young's music at first, but when I heard 'Old Man', I changed my mind completely, and I've been a fan ever sense. The guy's amazing!Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
I'm always amazed at how many songs Neil has written in so many different genres. Not just anybody can play hard rock, country, and folk, and be good at all of it. Neil young is also a great guitar player and performer, and he plays with emotion. His music will be around for years to come... maybe even after we're all dead.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Neil young is one of the greatest song writers ever. I started listening to him when I was 6. Keep On Rockin' In The Free World!!Chris - Rock City, Sd
In what I consider to be one of the most unlikely pairings in rock music, Neil Young was in a band with Rick "Superfreak" James in Toronto in the mid-1960s called the Mynah Birds, allegedly a take-off on The Byrds. They recorded together but nothing was ever released.Mark - Falls Church, Va
Southern man may very well be the most powerful guitar playing ever known to man,,,, LS's (with all due respect) response pales in comparrison.Scott - Ottawa, Canada
most def tom, greendale is awesome. saw him when he came to philly last june. and actually neil young did heroin frequently, as with coke and weed.Sam - Philadelphia, Pa
Any Neil Young fan who has not yet heard Greendale I highly recommend it. He has not sounded that good in many years in my opinion.Thomas - Hartford, Dc
He puts THE most feeling in his guitar.Daniel - Cape Breton, Canada
No Neil Young, no grunge. He was a very influential artist.Paula - Houston, Tx
I had the opportunity of being up on the stage in the shadows along side the amps with Neil Young and Crazy Horse while they played to a sold out Horde Fest in Summerfest Wisconsin. It was awesome ! I met one of his son's (Ben) caregivers in the crowd b4 the show while Beck played, we were getting crushed by the slam dancers so I took her by the hand and we proceeded to get out of the slamming and made it to the front side of the stage. We talked and she said she knew Neil, Ben, Pancho, Billy and Ralph as well as others in the Young family/group. I met Ben while he was inside a Neil Young clothing stand out in the festival grounds. I was nervous but thrilled to have met Neil's son Ben ! I told Ben about having read a Lionel trains mag about his awesome trains and the pics of him and Neil with the his train set layout of woods, mountains bridges and a town. Ben was receptive to it and smiled bigtime about it all. He was pleased and at the same time embarassed because of my being a stranger. You know what I mean. That day was the best and so was the concert Neil and Crazy Horse put on. There were thousands of people in the crowd and they were singing and awestruck at Neil's talents. I looked at times from around the amps to see what it was like to be in front of so many people. I have been to many many shows by Neil solo and also with Neil and Crazy Horse. This was the one that sticks in my mind the most because of what happened and because it was oh so live in being so close to the band. Neil checked me out a few times by glancing at me. He was probably wondering who I was. I mouthed hi Neil and he smiled. After the show Neil split the stage fast. But I met Billy while walking down the stage stairs with him. I said you guys were awesome and thanks for the gig. Pancho was right behind as was Ralph. I waved to them and they waved back and said did ya dig it? I said oh yeah ! and then left for home listening to Harvest and other Neil Young and Crazy Horse tunes all the way home for the 3 hour drive.Tom - Hibbing, Mn
I thought Neil Young was born and raised in Timmins, Ontario, Canada?Kathy - Jasper, Al
Some people like peoples guitar work for their feeling... Not their complexity...Andrew - Springfield, Mo
Neil is one of the greatest song writer's of all time. Neil has a vault of music never released and is also the inventer of the grunge sound. Neil is the godfather of grunge!!!!Ray - Pawtucket, Ri
Neil young is the greatest artist of the 20th century and continues his success in the 21st with the mind-blowing cd Greendale and the powerful dvd that goes with it. he has the lyrics of led and the guitar of jimmy in one. you can feel his passion on the guitar, i consider him to be the best technical guitarist of all time, above jimmy, clapton and duane allman. he is pure. rock on neilDustin - Mcalester, Ok
Neil calls his guitar "old black".

Crazy Horse's previous name was "The Rockets".
Amy - Chicago, Il
Neil Young is a musical genius. He can play many instruments, write fabulous songs, Rock / Country / Acoustic........and is a superb performer.
Saw him last year in Birmingham England....FANTASTIC.
Would love to C.S.N & Y perform here in England.
Stuart - Essex, England
Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain's suicide note quotes from Neal Young's song 'My My' Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)'.Kev - Scunthorpe, England
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