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Thread: Ok, what's so great about... .Neil Young?

  1. #1

    Ok, what's so great about... .Neil Young?

    Following on the heels of the Joni Mitchell thread, hoping to hear proggers discuss non-prog Big Names.

    Like Joni, a Canuck singer-songwriter with a guitar, began in the late 60's, moved to the US, and is considered an icon, going strong almost 50 years on.

    So proggers, enlighten me, why does Old Neil get the accolades? And what's his best stuff?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Teddy Vengeance View Post

    So proggers, enlighten me, why does Old Neil get the accolades? And what's his best stuff?
    For me, his best song that really captures the "Neil spirit" is "September Morn"

    Stay with me a while
    I only want to talk to you
    We've traveled halfway 'round the world
    To find ourselves again


    He never quite topped that.

  3. #3
    Oh No! Bass Solo! klothos's Avatar
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    With the exception of a handfull of songs, I don't care for Young......however, what I do like about him is that his attitude comes out in his music: His songs are thickly painted with two coats of emotion and I think (imo) this is probably a bulk of the attraction for a lot of folks

  4. #4
    I have a lot of respect for Neil Young. I don't care much for his music, but he has written a lot of great songs. I could never get beyond his singing, though. And, his guitar playing, well, it's kinda torturous to hear. I do like his stance on issues of the day.

    Not sure why this is in the main forum.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  5. #5
    On the Beach. That's the entirety of any claim I'll make for Young's greatness.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  6. #6
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    Not a fan of his voice, dare I say...Music is...a singer-songwriter stuff ...by far not as original, as his frend's, Joni Mitchell.

  7. #7
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    I reckon Maestro Keneally will chime in here regarding Live Rust 😉

  8. #8
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    godfather of grunge. man of a 1000 faces. love him.

    one of the most r‘n‘r moments ever. on empty vee of all places:


  9. #9
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    I have always liked him, but can’t quite put my finger on just what the appeal is. He does not have a great voice (although it is unique), he can be an inconsistent songwriter (although when he is on, he is on), and is not the greatest guitarist in the world (although he has a totally unique style). Like Bowie, the man is fearless and will try any musical style that fits what is going through his head at the time. He has done rock, country, folk, grunge, blues, rockabilly, electronic, singer / songwriter, and even flirted with metal. Some of his experiments have worked and some have not, but he is never afraid to give anything a shot. Albums that I own:

    After The Gold Rush
    Rust Never Sleeps
    Live Rust (Live)
    Weld (Live)
    Trans
    Harvest Moon
    Mirror Ball
    Lucky 13 (Compilation)
    Decade (compilation)

  10. #10
    Not so great......his voice!

  11. #11
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    ^Progressive ears indeed.

    Decade is one of the best compilations ever assembled- a 'best of' in that it covers the obvious classics/hits and has a load of rare stuff not available anywhere else. A pity there was not a follow-up as this only goes up to 1977-ish, but I'd say anyone wondering what the fuss was about could still do worse than start with that.

    Unfortunately he seems to release any thought that enters his head these days...prolific to a fault!

    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    For me, his best song that really captures the "Neil spirit" is "September Morn"
    Wrong Neil. Unless this was meant as another joke...

  12. #12
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Fierce if inconsistent songwriter, relentless experimenter, and rock n' roll attitude to burn. As said above, start with Decade.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  13. #13
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    I love Neil. I love his voice.

    What makes him great? Songwriting.

    Also, there is a through-line of authenticity in his work. He's had a prodigious output, some better than others to be sure.

    I say start with Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere.

    Decade is a fine starting point too.
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  14. #14
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    Dullsville personified for me. Just could never get into him. He's the 'whiny Canadian' in our house....

  15. #15
    This is pretty incredible.

    Short and sweet and sour.

  16. #16
    His ears were sharp enough to realize that the quality of the listening experience has been declining over the years and listeners are not connecting to music in
    the way they used to in the analog era. Knowing most won't go back to vinyl or tape, his push to get higher resolution digital out into the mainstream has been his
    most important contribution to the music industry. He's spot on with Pono.

  17. #17

  18. #18
    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Neil is a great songwriter but I mostly like his guitar playing: not technically demonstrative, but his sound, soul and feeling are totally unique. Actually NOBODY can play like him, not even the "big names" (Clapton, Page, Satriani, Holdsworth, Govan... to name a few). Watch the video below and if you're playing guitar just try to emulate it, then you'll understand... BTW, There's a version of this same song on YT by Satriani who totally missed it, and the result is awful... only a few simple chords, but the feeling is gone.

    This is not "prog" but pure emotion, not far removed from A.Latimers' guitar playing.

    I have the greatest respect for the Man and his work.






    Another good exemple (studio live):


  19. #19
    THE HEART OF MUSIC NEEDED A KICKSTART.

    You stood up for sound. When you joined us on Kickstarter, you helped us give music a voice.
    THANK YOU

    Pono means righteous. It is a Hawaiian word, the one, the pureness. On behalf of Pono, we thank you for helping us give music a voice. You have helped to set the stage for a revolution in music listening. Finally, quality enters the listening space so that we can all hear and feel what the artists created, the way they heard and felt it.

    This is done when the artist makes the best available, wanting to share it with you. It happens when the artist lets you hear and feel more than what is on your CD or MP3 of any song. CDs and MP3s are derived from the original masters, and now, with the PonoPlayer, you can finally feel the master in all its glory, in its native resolution, CD quality or higher, the way the artist made it, exactly. That’s the beauty of Pono.

    It’s been a long time coming. It was not easy getting this far, but you made it happen by supporting Pono’s vision for better listening. We have been working with the labels, with the artists and producers, and we will continue to do that. We go to the source to find the best and bring it to you. Pono wants to preserve the history of music, in all of its beauty and expression, for all time. Forever.

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    Thank you to the artists, the recording companies, big and small, and most of all, thanks to you music lovers for making this happen with your amazing support.

    Thanks for listening,

    Neil Young

    and the PonoMusic Team

  20. #20
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Yeah, a ham fisted guitar player for sure ( maybe only ' bested ' by Springsteen). If not for his misguided experimentation in the '80s, maybe one of the greatest writers in music including his work in other bands. Not a pristine voice but much more tolerable than say Dylan, Cohen or Waits in my opinion. CSN was always better with Y.

    I grew up around a brother that was 9 years older than me so there was always NY and Dylan in the air. I connected with NY but not Dylan. One of the first NY purchases of my own was Decade. Years later it was the unintentionally comical Landing on Water. Luckily NY would stick around long enough to put such efforts deep in his past.
    Digital playback brought high fidelity to the masses and audiophiles will never forgive it for that

  21. #21
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    I've never liked his voice, but if he only wrote "Ohio" and "Needle etc." that in and of itself would qualify him for mucho respect.
    "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference"

    President Harry S. Truman

  22. #22
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    I first heard After The Gold Rush at college,circa late 71,and it still delights me, after countless listens over many years.I spin Freedom and Harvest every once in a while,a couple of other cd's get spins from time to time.As others have said, it's his songwriting that drew me in.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  23. #23
    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    For me, his best song that really captures the "Neil spirit" is "September Morn"

    Stay with me a while
    I only want to talk to you
    We've traveled halfway 'round the world
    To find ourselves again


    He never quite topped that.
    He surely topped that: he wrote a very successful orchestral concept prog-album called : Jonathan Livingston Seagull

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    This is pretty incredible.

    Short and sweet and sour.
    This one is kind of like Young's version of Bert Jansch's equally stark, harrowing 'Needle Of Death' (not a melodic similarity but same message). Jansch was a major influence on Young, acknowledged on Buffalo Springfield Again (misspelt!) and decades later when Young invited Jansch on a tour with him.

  25. #25
    Probably not the best singer, or the best guitarist or even the best songwriter, but the whole is greater than the sum of those parts.

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