Lex on Neil Young

Part of being a teenager was the quest for the soundtrack to your life. Watching MTV (when it was still about music) and rock films shown on PBS or subscription television was part of the quest. And then, there was radio.Did you ever hear a great song on the radio, but the jockey never announced the title?

My station of choice was KRTH, 101.1 FM. They had “Super Sixites Weekends” and would play music from ’60-’69, and not just “the hits.” During the height of the Summer Olympic Games of 1984, I heard a song that sent me on a quest! My only bit of information was that it was a song by Buffalo Springfield. So, on with the chase.

So, I start buying the Springfield albums one by one, in search of that mystery song. Along the way, I learned that one of the principle songwriters in the band was Neil Young. I only marginally knew of Neil (I had a copy of “Cinammon Girl” on a 45 RPM ). Then I heard “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” and “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong,” written by Neil Young, from the first Springfield record. I didn’t find the mystery song, but found a new favorite band.

More Springfield records followed, and so did Neil Young songs. “Mr. Soul,” “Broken Arrow,” and “Expecting to Fly” became part my summer soundtrack. I saved money from allowances and lunches for Young’s triple album set, Decade. Then came the solo albums, the Crazy Horse records, and anything I could get my hands on. I was hooked. But where in the hell was that mystery song?

I searched for that Buffalo Springfield song, to no avail. Jump ahead 6 years to college.

During my hazy college career, my bandmate Larry and I saw Young and Crazy Horse during their Ragged Glory tour at the L.A. Sports Arena in ’91. It was poetic, brutal, and beautiful. Ever hear his version of Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind?” Mind blowing, man. After the show, Larry and I stopped at “the corner” and did cartwheels in the wet grass outside the school campus because we’d seen THE MAN.

Jump ahead 16 years to a slightly more current and sober time.

A few months ago, I heard a recently released live CD by Young and Crazy Horse recorded at the Fillmore in 1970. I had goosebumps for the entire duration of the CD. One listen to “Down By The River,” and you can tell that these guys were willing to bleed for their art in front of a live audience. See him in concert or check out a classic Neil album and you’ll understand.

Why in the hell can’t more new artists “bleed” like that for their art? Screw you, Britney!

Oh, the song that started me on this mad quest in the first place? It’s called “On The Way Home.” It was written by Neil, but sung by his Springfield bandmate Richie Furay. Turns out I was chasing Neil all along! Who knew?

(Lex Neon is also known as Alex Oliver, the quirky and often eccentric musical genius of “sunshine pop / rock” band Poppermost.  Check out their music and Lex’s rock rantings at http://www.poppermost.com/).
Currently listening:
Live at the Fillmore East
By Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Release date: 14 November, 2006
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~ by Poppermost on November 12, 2009.

One Response to “Lex on Neil Young”

  1. Dude!

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