Sunday, April 03, 2005

A quick note on Neil Young

It was reported on Friday that Neil Young suffered a brain aneurism during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last month. Being the obsessive professional that he is, Neil proceeded to travel to Nashville to work on a forthcoming album before he underwent surgery. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Speaking for one half of Cole Slaw Blog, Neil Young is neck-in-neck with Bob Dylan for the title of greatest living rock star, and if recent output is determinative, the hands-down winner. "Falling From Above," the first song on Neil's Greendale album, summarizes post-9/11 social and political history without seeming pompous or contrived. Neil's 15-minute rendition of "Powderfinger" at Radio City on St. Patrick's Day 2004 -- with its wailing, overwhelming guitar riffs -- was easily the greatest live performance I've ever seen. (I'll see Dylan live twice at the end of April, at which point I'll give a comparative analysis.)

Thrasher's Wheat is a comprehensive resource for all things Neil Young. If you only know his acoustical work, look into his dark masterpieces like On the Beach and Rust Never Sleeps. Jimmy McDonough's biography Shakey gives Neil the Robert Caro treatment, but also reads like a combination of Heart of Darkness and Almost Famous.

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