Although Neil now lives in the United States, he is still proudly Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario, he lived briefly in Northern Ontario during his youth and performed in a high school band (called The Squires) when he lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I understand that Thunder Bay, Ontario also has a claim to fame (as the place where Neil first met Stephen Stills).
He is a singer/songwriter who has been honoured by many musical awards, Grammys, Junos, and even an Academy award for the song Philadelphia used in the film of the same name starring Tom Hanks.
He made a name for himself during the 1960s with his country / folk flavoured Rock sound and most notably for his protest songs against war. He teamed up with Stephen Stills in the group Buffalo Springfield and then with the supergroup Crosby Stills & Nash who changed their name to Crosby Stills Nash & Young when Neil agreed to join them. Their soaring harmonies and Neil's brilliant songwriting skills added greatly to the fame of that band.
|(Neil when young) I like his brooding looks.|
Always serious and intense about his music, he was sometimes not the easiest person to get along with. Although he took his music very seriously, he didn't seem as concerned about his appearance and his unkempt, dishevelled appearance is also part of his mystique.
I have enjoyed his music since his Harvest album, released in 1970. I find his melodies haunting, combined with his warbly falsetto, his sound has an otherworldly quality. But it is his lyrics that really shine. Neil always has something worthwhile to say, but he says it like the poet and troubadour that he is.There are so many songs of his that I love. I have actually made some fanvids starring Richard Armitage using them. Here is a page at Amazon.com with some song clips you can listen to from his Greatest Hits album. My personal favourites are: Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Helpless, Needle and the Damage Done, Ohio, Comes a Time and of course, After the Gold Rush.
Because it is this time of the year, here is a song I haven't heard before but it is very much in keeping with the themes of most of his work. This song is entitled Love and War.
This is one of his newer songs -- It's a Dream. It talks about the memories of his youth in Winnipeg, when he roamed around the banks of the Red River and how things have changed over time. This song touches me deeply and can even bring me to tears.
This isn't the first time I've posted about Neil Young and it probably won't be the last. But before I'm done just let me say -- Thanks Neil! For all your wonderful music and for your generous spirit to share it with all of us.
Happy Birthday to Neil Young!