“Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself, when you’re old enough to repay, but young enough to sell.” Tell Me Why, Neil Young
Today we honor Neil Young on his 67th birthday–old enough for sure. And still young enough to sell, with a new biography, new cd, and epic concert tour all on the market right now.
Over six decades, Neil has produced some of rock’s most haunting melodies and enigmatic lyrics. From crafting the country rock sound with Buffalo Springfield, weaving orchestral dreamscapes with his eponymous solo debut, firing off fevered, mono-note excursions on his first record with Crazy Horse, adding sound and fury to Crosby, Still, and Nash, defining the genre of acoustic troubadour with “After The Gold Rush” and “Harvest,” defying expectations with his output in the ’70s that gave us enduring anthems like “Cortez The Killer,” and “Like a Hurricane,” ending the decade triumphantly with “Rust Never Sleeps” and its epic saga “Powderfinger,” experimenting with disco, rockabilly, and electronica in the 80’s, then closing that decade with still another timeless anthem–“Rockin’ in the Free World,” powering on in the 90’s with “Harvest Moon” his beautiful counterpart to “Harvest,” and continuing his prolific output even last week with the release of “Psychedelic Pill” and its masterpiece of AARP angst “Ramada Inn,” Young has defied the odds as he produces music for the ages.
On this, his 67th birthday, I’d like to list some of the musical metaphors and images that have formed the soundtrack of my life:
“What is the color, when black is burnt?” I Am A Child, Buffalo Springfield.
“They say the old laughing lady’s been here before. She don’t keep time. She don’t keep score.” The Old Laughing Lady, Neil Young.
“A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night.” Cinnamon Girl, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
“Old enough now, to change your name. When so many love you, is it the same?” Cowgirl In The Sand, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
“Don’t let it bring you down, it’s only castles burning.” Don’t Let It Bring You Down, After The Gold Rush.
“I want to live, I want to give, I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.” Heart of Gold, Harvest
“See the lonely boy, out on the weekend.” Out On The Weekend, Harvest.
“Blue, blue windows behind the stars. Yellow moon on the rise. Big birds flying across the sky. Throwing shadows on our eyes.” Helpless Deja Vu.
“Back in those old folkie days. The air was magic when we played.” Ambulance Blues, On The Beach
“All the bush league batters are left to die on the diamond. In the stands, the home crowd scatters. For the turnstiles.” For The Turnstiles, On The Beach
“He came dancing across the water, with his galleons and guns.” Cortez The Killer, Zuma.
“I am just a dreamer, and you are just a dream.” Like A Hurricane, American Stars and Bars.
“It’s better to burn out, than to fade away. My my, hey, hey.” Out of the Blue, Rust Never Sleeps.
“Lookout mama, there’s a white boat coming up the river.” Powderfinger, Rust Never Sleeps.
“Somewhere on a desert highway. She rides a Harley-Davidson. Her long blond hair flying in the wind . . . The chrome and steel she rides colliding with the very air she breathes. ” Unknown Legend, Harvest Moon
“I’ve got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. I got a kinder, gentler machine gun hand.” Keep On Rockin’ In the Free World, Freedom.
The list could go on and on. Please add your favorites to the comments section.
Long may you run, Neil. And many happy returns.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart