Neil Young

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Neil Young Biography

Neil Young (born Neil Percival Young, 12.11.1945)

Neil Young is a Canadian, internationally-renowned singer and songwriter who rose to fame in the 1960s as part of the groups Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash & Young.

Neil Young: Biography

Neil Young was born in Toronto. His father, Scott Young was a novelist and sportswriter. His mother, Edna Ragland (Rassy) was also an aspiring sports journalist.

Neil Young walks with a slight limp, as a result of having polio as a child. When he was 12, his parents divorced and he moved with his mother to Winnipeg. It was here that he formed his first band, The Jades. He later met Ken Koblun, who encouraged him to join The Squires. The Squires had a hit, locally, entitled 'The Sultan'. Whilst they were in Thunder Bay, Neil Young met Stephen Stills and Randy Bachman for the first time.

Young wrote some of his early folk tracks after leaving The Squires, such as 'Sugar Mountain'. Joni Mitchell wrote 'The Circle Game' as a response to the track.

In 1966, Young joined the Mynah Birds, fronted by Rick James. They signed to Motown briefly, before James was arrested for being AWOL for the US Army.

Neil Young: Buffalo Springfield

In Los Angeles, Neil Young formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Bruce Palmer, Richie Furay and Dewey Martin. Their mix of psychedelia, folk and country led to them becoming very popular, especially after the release of 'For What It's Worth'.

Neil Young: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young / Solo Career

When Buffalo Springfield disbanded, Neil Young signed a solo deal with Reprise Records, sharing his manager, Elliot Roberts, with Joni Mitchell. Young's eponymous debut album was released in 1968, to mixed reviews.

For his second album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Young recruited Ralph Molina, Danny Whitten and Billy Talbot to be his backing band. The band took on the name Crazy Horse. The album featured the iconic songs 'Cinnamon Girl' and 'Down by the River'.

Following the release of the album, Neil Young re-joined Stephen Stills, as well as David Crosby and Graham Nash, who had already recorded as a trio. The quartet performed at 1969's Woodstock festival. They recorded an album, Déjà Vu, but Young and Stills fought for control and argued often. They wrote the song 'Ohio' following the Kent State massacre in May 1970.

1970 also saw Neil Young release his third solo album, After the Gold Rush, featuring Nils Lofgren. Crazy Horse left the Neil Young stable and landed their own record deal, so Young recruited a new group of session musicians, called The Stray Gators.

His next album, Harvest was a global hit, with 'Heart of Gold' becoming his first US number one single. 'The Needle and the Damage Done', an account of the damage of heroin use, is another popular song from Harvest.

Time Fades Away was written after Danny Whitten's death from a heroin overdose. He toured the album with Linda Ronstadt as the opener. This was followed by the highly acclaimed Tonight's The Night and On the Beach.

Neil Young's next acoustic album was Homegrown, a highly personal album that reflected on his break-up from Carrie Snodgress.

For Zuma, Young was reunited with Crazy Horse, with Frank Sampedro on guitar. The album featured 'Cortez the Killer'

In 1976, Neil Young starred in The Last Waltz, the concert footage produced by Martin Scorsese. The concert also featured The Band, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison.

The song 'Like A Hurricane' was one of the most popular songs from Young's 1977 album American Stars 'N Bars. The following year, he released Comes A Time, featuring Nicolette Larson and Crazy Horse.

The 'Rust Never Sleeps' tour was recorded and released in audio and video format as Live Rust. The Album Rust Never Sleeps was Rolling Stone magazine's Album of the Year in 1979.

Though Neil Young's influence never waned during the 1980s, his own career wavered somewhat as he experimented with synthesizers, vocoders and electronic music. It took many years for Re-ac-tor and Trans to be recognized with any degree of acclaim. The release of Trans, coupled with an album of rockabilly covers entitled Everybody's Rockin' caused David Geffen (the head of Young's record label at the time) to sue Neil Young for making music that was 'unrepresentative' of himself.

It wasn't until 1989 with the release of 'Rockin in the Free World' (taken from the album Freedom) that Young's career began to hit its stride once more. An album released the same year highlighted Young's influence over younger musicians, especially in the emerging grunge scene. The Bridge: A Tribute To Neil Young featured covers of his music performed by Dinosaur Jr., Nick Cave, The Pixies and Sonic Youth. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana was also vocal in appreciation of Young's music. In 1990, Young toured his Ragged Glory with the punk bands Social Distortion and Sonic Youth in support. A later album, Sleeps With Angels was inspired by the death of Cobain. Then, in 1995, Young recorded the album Mirror Ball with Pearl Jam.

Young returned to country and folk with 1992's Harvest Moon, which featured Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. In 1995, following the death of Young's longtime producer, David Briggs, Young and Crazy Horse reconvened and recorded Broken Arrow. Jim Jarmusch directed the accompanying film, Year of the Horse.

2000 onwards has seen Neil Young's music career go through peaks and troughs. In 2005, he was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm whilst he worked on his Prairie Wind album.

In 2006, Young released an overtly political album criticizing George W. Bush. The album was entitled Living With War and featured the track 'Let's Impeach the President'.

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Neil Young Picture Gallery

56th grammy awards 260114
56th grammy awards 260114
56th grammy awards 260114
56th grammy awards 260114
56th grammy awards - p e wing event honoring neil y 220114

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The Latest Neil Young News

Neil Young's Pono Player Raises $6.2 Million, But Will We Buy It?

16th April 2014

Neil Young was only looking for $800,000 to launch his new Pono Player, but his Kickstarter goal was obliterated in...

Neil Young's Pono Fundraising Campaign Sets Kickstarter Record

11th April 2014

Neil Young's fundraising campaign for his new Pono music service and player has set a new record after becoming...

Jack White Releases First Track From New Album, 'lazaretto' [video]

2nd April 2014

Jack White has released the first track from his upcoming second solo album, Lazaretto, which will be released this June....

Neil Young Postpones Release Of Record Store Day Box Set

20th March 2014

Rocker Neil Young has postponed the release of his four-album Record Store Day box set until later this year (14)...

Neil Young Used Copies Of His Album As Roof Shingles

19th March 2014

Rocker Neil Young has revealed he tiled the roof of his barn with unusable copies of his 1978 album Comes...

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Neil Young Reviews

Neil Young - Chrome Dreams II Album Review

19th November 2007

Neil Young Chrome Dreams II Album Review If you've never heard an 18-minute song seem...

Neil Young - At the Fillmore 1970 Live Album Review

4th December 2006

Neil Young and Crazy HorseAt the Fillmore 1970 [Live] Album ReviewTalk about re-releases. This is...

Neil Young - Living With War Album Review

15th May 2006

Artist - Neil YoungAlbum - Living With WarLabel - RepriseStepping, with lumberjack boots, into the...

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Neil Young Festivals

Calling Festival

28th June 2014

Rock Werchter

3rd July 2014

Hop Farm

5th June 2014

Optimus Alive! 08

10th July 2008

Big Day Out

17th January 2014

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Neil Young Footage Film / Movie Reviews

Greendale 2003, Review by Christopher Null

There's no denying that Neil Young has lost his mind somewhere in the last decade,...

Neil Young: Heart of Gold 1988, Review by Pete Croatto

A recent Associated Press article reported how documentaries were among the best-reviewed movies of the...

The Last Waltz 1978, Review by David Bezanson

The Band were one of the best rock groups of the '60s and '70s, creating...

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The Latest Neil Young Press Releases

Neil Young's New Archive Performance Series Release 'Live At The Cellar Door' Out December 9th 2013

25th October 2013

Neil Young will release 'Live At The Cellar Door', the latest...

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mikelowna's picture


Hey Austin...give me a break. U tellin me that Neil is rusted out?? Gee 40 years of rustingaway aint bad.. Name anyone else other than Dylanand Young who've endured 5 decades of a musicindustry and has seen tens of thousands of onehit wonders come and go.Get your Bush head out of the sand,man.

7 years 2 months ago
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PeteMoss's picture


Hey Austin Texas....When does every record that an artist puts out have to be a stellar earth shaking event? The guy put out a record in a few days, got it streaming on the web and then got it into the stores. All in a few days. To me thats pretty damn impressive, it may not be to you, but its a significant undertaking if you know the record business.Like many of his records, he has tested, bent, and broken the rules of the record industry to deliver his product. Forget the political analysis of the record, since its the same as I heard back when "Ohio" came out.....perhaps you may / may not have been around for that event.......As far as NY being "burned out" and not coming back, I would not confuse a song lyric with real life, this guy is as saavy a business person as you'll find and knows when it will be time to give it a rest, that said, he still has about 30 albums worth of material in the Reprise vaults to keep him going long into the future......politically correct or not.....If your career holds up this well, good for you.NDChicago

7 years 10 months ago
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the_eagle's picture


NEIL YOUNG BURNS OUT INTO THE BLACK - NOT COMING BACK"Living WIth War" Neil Young (Reprise)Full disclosure: I think Neil Young is a great songwriter, and a good live performer. But he likes injecting politics into his music, and I think his political views are crap (hey, so did Lynyrd Skynyrd).Neil Young's music career has been punctuated by politically charged songs (Ohio,

7 years 11 months ago
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Breezin Chris's picture

Breezin Chris

hey hey my my at least he has the ball's to spek his mind.We Aussies love Neil Young.Neil's music will never die.

7 years 11 months ago
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