"Motion Pictures," the second-to-last song on On The Beach
, is about Neil Young's relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress. Other Young songs like "A Man Needs A Maid
" have contained references to Snodgress, but in "Motion Pictures" the romantic entanglement takes center stage.
Snodgress was in a number of Broadway shows and films, including Easy Rider
, Pale Rider
, and Diary of a Mad Housewife
. She was also the top pick to play Adrian in Rocky
, but she turned down the role.
Young and Snodgress' relationship is generally described as an unhealthy, even destructive one, largely fueled by drugs and alcohol. The two were together from 1970 to 1975 and had a son named Zeke. Snodgress left acting for a while to care for Zeke, who had cerebral palsy.
After many rocky moments in their relationship, Young finally left for good when he found out Snodgress was screwing around on him. In Jimmy McDonough's Shakey
, he takes a mature, reflective look at this event, admitting that his rage and grief was somewhat absurd considering he himself was screwing around quite a bit.
Still, absurd or not, the discovery was devastating for Young, and the two split.
What's interesting about "Motion Pictures" is that it was written before Young uncovered the affairs, but in hindsight Young feels the song is marked by his subconscious knowing that something was going on. In the book Shakey
, Young states that the song was written "before I knew - when I could sense."