Neil's beloved Pontiac hearse, "Mort" (a.k.a. "Mortimer Hearseburg"), was the inspiration for this song. Neil drove "Mort" from Toronto to Los Angeles, where he met Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield.
Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when 'Mort' broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; "well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive").
In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.
Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.
Stills is a longtime collaborator of Neil's, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: "Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil."
In addition to Young's compilation album Decade
this also appears on his 1993 album Unplugged
Paulus - Tasmania, Australia, for all above
The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O'Brien's final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O'Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.
Neil Young performed this song at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to a rousing ovation of Canadian audience members.
Chris - Red Deer, Alberta, Canada