Rarities, Oddities, and other fun stuff
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Neil Young -- Neil Percival Young, (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. He began performing as a solo artist in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash as a fourth member in 1969. He forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, releasing his first album in 1968; his career has since spanned over 40 years and 34 studio albums, with a continual and uncompromising exploration of musical styles. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers". He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice: first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997. Young's work is characterized by his distinctive guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and signature alto or high tenor singing voice. Although he accompanies himself on several different instruments, including piano and harmonica, his idiosyncratic electric and clawhammer acoustic guitar playing are the defining characteristics of a varyingly ragged and melodic sound. While Young has experimented with differing music styles, including swing and electronic music throughout a varied career, his best known work usually falls into two primary styles: acoustic (folk and country rock) and electric (amplified hard rock, very often in collaboration with the band Crazy Horse). Young has also adopted elements from newer styles such as alternative rock and grunge. His influence on the latter caused some to dub him the "Godfather of Grunge".
Neil Young – ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER – “All Along the Watchtower" is a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan. The song initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan's subsequent greatest hits compilations. Over the past 35 years, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Covered by numerous artists in various genres, "All Along the Watchtower" is strongly identified with the interpretation Jimi Hendrix recorded for Electric Ladyland with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Neil Young performed a live version with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, which appeared on his album Road Rock Vol. 1: Friends & Relatives. He has also performed the song with Dave Matthews Band and with Booker T. and the M.G.'s at the Dylan 30th Anniversary Celebration at Madison Square Garden.. In 2004, he performed a version with Bruce Springsteen. This version is taken from the 2-CD set “Bob Dylan – the 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration”, 1993.
Neil Young – THIS NOTE’S FOR YOU – “This Note's for You” is the seventeenth studio album by Neil Young, released in 1988. It was originally credited to Young and the Bluenotes. Most of the album's concept centered around the commercialism of rock and roll, and tours in particular (the title track is a social commentary on concert sponsorship). The video for the title track famously included a Michael Jackson look-alike whose hair catches fire. The video parodied corporate rock, the pretensions of advertising, and was patterned after a series of Michelob ads which featured contemporary rock artists such as Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood. The video also featured parodic inserts from other commercials featuring singers including impersonators of Jackson and Whitney Houston, as well as popular characters including a look-alike Spuds McKenzie. It was initially banned by MTV after legal threats from Michael Jackson's attorneys. From his album of the same name, 1988.
Nicolette Larson & The Doobie Brothers – LOTTA LOVE – "Lotta Love" is a Neil Young composition which, as recorded by Nicolette Larson in 1978. Larson had formed a personal relationship with Young while backing him vocally on American Stars 'n Bars; while being driven by Young in his car one day, Larson played a cassette which was the demo of "Lotta Love" and Young told her the song was hers if she wanted it. Young did in fact cut a version of "Lotta Love" himself for his Comes a Time album; Larson provided background vocals for the album but did not sing on its "Lotta Love" track, a spare version which emphasized the song's melancholy. Larson's lavish version of "Lotta Love" — which featured a string arrangement and a classic soft rock horn riff and a flute solo — presented the song as optimistic; Larson would recall: "It was a very positive song and people don't want to hear how bad the world is all the time. It had a nice sound rhythm and groove." "Lotta Love" served as lead single for Larson's Nicolette album. Due to a delay in release, Comes a Time was released on the same day in September 1978 as was Nicolette. From the “No Nukes’ CD, originally released in 1979.
Neil Young – TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT – Tonight's the Night is the sixth studio album by Neil Young, released in 1975. Tonight's the Night is a direct expression of grief. Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten and Young's friend and roadie Bruce Berry had both died of drug overdoses in the months before the songs were written. The title track mentions Berry by name, while Whitten's guitar and vocal work highlight "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown"; the latter was recorded live in 1970. The song would later appear, on a live album from the same concerts, Live at the Fillmore East, with Whitten credited as the sole author. From “The Rolling Stone Collection – 25 Years of Essential Rock”, 1993.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – GET A JOB - "Get a Job" is one of the best known doo-wop songs of the 1950s, recorded by The Silhouettes in October 1957. "When I was in the service in the early 1950s and didn't come home and go to work my mother said 'Get a job' and basically that's where the song came from," said tenor Richard Lewis, who wrote the lyrics. The four members shared the credit, jointly creating the "sha na na" and "dip dip dip dip" hooks later imitated by other doo-wop groups. Taken from Americana, the thirty-fourth studio album by Young -- released on June 5, 2012. This was Young's first collaboration with Crazy Horse since the Greendale album and tour in 2003 and 2004. American Songwriter quoted Young as having said the following regarding the tone and intent of the album: “Every one of these songs [on Americana] has verses that have been ignored. And those are the key verses, those are the things that make these songs live. They’re a little heavy for kindergarteners to be singing. The originals are much darker, there’s more protest in them…”
The Pretenders – THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE - "The Needle and the Damage Done" is a song by Neil Young that describes the descent into heroin addiction of musicians he knew. It was written about the heroin use of his Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten, and previews the theme of "Tonight's the Night", a song that addresses the heroin overdose and death of Bruce Berry, a roadie for Young and his band Crazy Horse. Taken from the Pretender 4-CD package “Pirate Radio”, released in 2006. Recorded during the Viva el Amor! Sessions, 1999.
Neil Young & The Band – HELPLESS – "Helpless" is a song written by Neil Young, most famously recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. "Helpless" was originally recorded with Young's band Crazy Horse in early 1969, before Young's new CSNY band mates (he had joined the then-trio in mid-1969) convinced him it would suit them better. The song was simple, at its core effectively the repetition of one melody over a descending D-A-G chord progression. The group found difficulty deciding on an arrangement and many different versions of the song were recorded before the group finally decided on the slow-paced version that appeared on the album. On this final version Young was in the foreground, singing the verses and the chorus with his band mates providing the "helpless" refrain. It became one of the most revered songs from the Déjà Vu album, and has remained a live favorite of Young's for over thirty years. From the Band’s “Last Waltz” Album, 1973.
Buffalo Springfield – MR. SOUL – "Mr. Soul" is a song written by Young, and first recorded by Buffalo Springfield and released on their second album, Buffalo Springfield Again. It was originally recorded on January 9, 1967 at Atlantic Studios, New York with an additional recording on April 4, 1967. The common album version and the mono single have completely different guitar solos (the mono single mix has never been reissued). On track 3 of the album Sugar Mountain - Live At Canterbury House 1968, Young said, "A lot of songs take a long time to write. Generally they take an hour and a half, two hours to write. But this one took only five minutes." Young subsequently recorded several other versions of the song, often with marked stylistic changes. Of all of Young's songs, "Mr. Soul" has been released the most times. Taken from “Buffalo Springfield Again”, 1967
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – OHIO - "Ohio" is a protest song written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Although a live version of the song was included on the group's 1971 double album Four Way Street, the studio version did not appear on an LP until the group's compilation So Far was released in 1974. Taken from “The Rolling Stone Collection – 25 Years of Essential Rock”, 1993.
Neil Young, Crazy Horse, and Elvis Costello – DOWN BY THE RIVER -- "Down by the River" is a song composed by Young, first released on his 1969 album with Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Young explained the context of story when in the liner notes of his 1977 anthology album Decade, Young states that he wrote "Down by the River," "Cinnamon Girl" and "Cowgirl in the Sand" while delirious in bed in Topanga Canyon with a 103 °F fever. The lyrics are apparently about someone who kills his lover by shooting her, in the tradition of the mid-60s song "Hey Joe." The reason he gives for the killing is that she takes him to emotional heights from which he cannot bear to go on. Young has provided multiple explanations for the lyrics. In an interview with Robert Greenfield in 1970 Young claimed that "there's no real murder in it. It's about blowing your thing with a chick. It's a plea, a desperate cry.” Introducing the song in New Orleans on September 27, 1984 Young claimed that it depicts a man "who had a lot of trouble controlling himself" who catches his woman cheating on him, then meets her down by the river and shoots her. A few hours later the sheriff comes to his house and arrests him. Taken from “The Bridge School Collection – Vol. 2, digital only release.