Forever Young huh? My first brush with Neil was a copy of the Crosby Stills Nash and Young classic, Déjà Vu, which my cousin Marc and I inherited as part of a job lot from a kindly neighbour circa 1978. We were fourteen (fifteen in Marc’s case) and keen to expand our record collection beyond Led Zeppelin IV and a couple of Hawkwind albums, and Darrell was keen to oblige. Years later, we discovered he was a paedophile, but he never hit on us, so who am I to judge? Darrell, if you’re reading this in prison, thanks for the introduction to Neil Young, though maybe not so much Barclay James Harvest.

Fast forward a few years (quite a few years – into the 1990s) and everyone I know is grocking on After The Goldrush and Harvest, and they’re not bad records, to be sure, but I can’t quite dig them. I went on a blind date with a teacher who claimed in her Time Out advert to be “into R&B” back when R&B was 1950s rhythm and blues, and not hip-hop lite, but it turned out she was really into Neil Young, and I held that against her (lying to me, that is, plus having a rather pinched nose, and a whiny, Neil Young-type voice).  Then, revelation:  Neil comes out with a “grunge album”, Ragged Glory, and it’s got ten-minute guitar wig-outs (Love To Burn, Love And Only Love etc) all over it, and someone sez, if you like this, you should check out Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, his first solo set, with the downbeat stoner anthems Cowgirl in the Sand and Down By The River. Basically, at this point in time it seemed to me that Neil exploring the possibilities of the fret board for more than a normally decent amount of time was preferable to Neil whining on about the goldrush. Although I made an exception for the mercifully short, nerve-shredding Hey Hey, My My, Neil’s “punk” record, from Live Rust, which soundtracks Dennis Hopper’s little-seen,  proper hardcore punk movie Out of the Blue. 

I once dropped Hey Hey, My My in the middle of an otherwise fairly predictable disco/funk/soul DJ set in a grotty East End pub and watched the look of utter confusion spread over the punters’ faces. Yeah, that’s me – proper punk! Then came the new millennium, and a rash of articles about Neil’s great “lost” trilogy from the mid-70s, On The Beach, Tonight’s The Night and Time Fades Away, the first two of which were helpfully re-released on CD at that time, and I thought, oh well, in for a penny in for a pound, and OMG, what had I been missing all these years? After I’d got over the sheer world-weary, alcohol-bleary genius of Tonight’s The Night (so punk-before-punk that he even pinches a Rolling Stones song, puts new lyrics to it and calls it Borrowed Tune, which is a damn sight more honest than anything they ever did, total cunts that they are) after I’d got over THAT, it was On(to) The Beach, and Revolution Blues, which cropped up on my earlier Quentin Tarantino I hate every inch of you post, because it’s about Charles Manson, and Tarantino has made a film about Manson, and that makes me hate him even more, a) because it’s pornographic and disrespectful to turn cold-blooded murder into entertainment and b) because I wanted to make a film (a musical) about Manson but Tarantino got in there first, although actually he’s just the latest in a long line of film-makers exploiting the Manson murders, so ya boo sucks to you, MISTER Tarantino. To quote Neil (although he was singing about Manson) “I hate you worse than lepers”. NB The version below has bi-lingual subtitles, so you can learn Spanish as you marvel at the Genius That Is Neil Young (o, si habla espanol, puedes aprender ingles mientras te maravilla el Genio Que Es Neil Young).

Anyway, should you want to know what all the other Manson films are/were, purely for research purposes, and perhaps download my book, in which my Manson musical is described in lovingly tasteful detail, go to the aforementioned post…

or just click on the link to the right.

Y is also for:

Yello, You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess/Solid Pleasure (You gotta say yes to a title like that, right, although Solid Pleasure has the hit. Both albums are chock full of craziness and dance-friendly inspiration. Proof the Swiss are about more than cheese and precision-made time pieces!)

Yes & The Yes Album (received wisdom – pah! – says the first album was the band finding their identity, trying to sound like Led Zep and failing, etc, while around The Yes Album they tore up the rule book and found their true voice, inventing prog as we love/hate it, with all those time signature changes, meandering Mellotron solos and whimsical, high-pitched singing. So which do you prefer? Exactly!)

Young Rascals, Groovin’ (blue-eyed soul on original Atlantic vinyl, with It’s Love the standout. Must be worth a bit. Any offers?)

Z for Zappa is coming SOON!