Neil Young (1945- ) is a Canadian-born musician, often hailed as the grandfather of grunge rock. He was a folk rocker with Steven Stills and Graham Nash in the group Buffalo Springfield (“Stop Children, what’s that sound…”).
Also a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, his solo career has influenced a wide variety of musicians and some of his songs demonstrate what might be called archetypal depth.
Watching Young perform live can be like witnessing a Toltec Elder harness the Powers That Be, especially when he performs tunes like “Cortez the Killer,” the “Halls of Montezuma,” and “Inca Queen.”
Other more intimate songs like “After the Goldrush” (from the 1970 showpiece album by the same title) reflect the noble, if drug induced, dreams and despair of the hippie generation, now revived by the Global Warming scare.
“Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s.”
Before it was fashionable to speak of alien abductions or the possibility of mankind leaving Earth to inhabit other planets, in that same song Young relates a dream where “silver spaceships” take “Mother Nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun.”
However, Young might have been talking about the US Apollo space program. Mankind had just landed on the moon for the very first time in 1969 and the early 1970s were all about the “space age.”
In the 1980s Young parodies his hippie phase by referring to an earlier Crosby, Still, Nash and Young song (“Wooden Ships”) in “Hippie Dream” from the album Landing on Water (1986).
And the wooden ships,
were just a hippie dream…
capsized in excess
if you know what I mean
Young has epilepsy but this has not slowed him down nor deterred him from influencing other prominent rockers like David Bowie and Avril Lavigne. In fact, Young has been described as a music workaholic. He has released 12 new albums in the new millennium, with A Letter Home scheduled to come out any day.
In his 2012 autobiographical book, Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, Young talks about his love for toy trains, shares some early music memories, and outlines his plans for Green cars and making digital music sound better.