From the Mynah Birds to Promise of the Real, a look back at the music of a North American Original
Ever since I caught the video for “This Note’s For You” on MTV back in the 8th grade, Neil Young has been one of the most crucial spiritual guides in my rock ‘n’ roll education throughout my life.
1989’s Freedom, for instance, I bought solely on the strength of my rock crit hero David Fricke’s five-star review in the November 2, 1989 edition of Rolling Stone.
“Freedom, in turn, is Young’s prayer for the Nineties,” he wrote, “a harsh reminder that everything still comes with a price. Including rockin’ in a free world.”
As someone who was entering music in the 1990s with an open mind and an eager ear, that aforementioned prayer indeed helped me get right with grunge before grunge was a mainstream thing, folk music beyond the hokey shit we heard in music appreciation class like the Rooftop Singers, and the reckless abandon of noise.
I still anticipate every new Neil Young album. And while some have been duds, most of them are understated contributions to a canon of a career that spans six decades. To honor the man for his 75th birthday, I put together this new Neil mix of 75 songs ranging from his work alongside Rick James in the Mynah Birds right up through “Lookin’ For A Leader 2020”, the latest title in his acclaimed Neil Young Archives series.
Happy Birthday, Uncle Neil! We love you.