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Neil Young


On 12/11/1945: Neil Young was born. He was born in Toronto, Canada and his full birth name was Neil Percival Young. His father, Scott Alexander Young was a journalist and sportswriter. His mother was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Shortly after Neil was born, he and his family moved to Omemee, Ontario.
In 1952, the family moved to Winnipeg for a year before relocating to Toronto and Pickering. During that time, Young started to become interested in popular music.
When Young was 12, his father left and he and his mother moved back to Winnipeg. His mother would receive a divorce from his father in 1960.
Young would first play music on a plastic ukelele. He would change that for a better ukelele, then a banjo ukelele, to a baritone ukelele.
At Earl Grey Junior High School in Winnipeg, Young formed his first band, The Jades. He would also meet Ken Koblun. Neil and Ken joined Jeff Wuckert and Bill Edmondson in a band called The Squires. The band had a local hit with a song called "The Sultan". When the band were recording demos, Young met Stephen Stills.
After leaving the Squires, Young performed at various folk clubs, where he would first meet Joni Mitchell. Young was writing his own material and The Guess Who (from Winnipeg) had a Top 40 Canada hit with Young's song "Flying on the Ground is Wrong".
In 1965, Young toured Canada as a solo artist.
In 1966, Young joined the Mynah Birds. The band was signed to the Motown Label. As their first album was being recorded, their singer Rick James was arrested for being AWOL from the Reserve. The band disbanded. Young and the bass player Bruce Palmer moved to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Young and Palmer joined Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Dewey Martin to form Buffalo Springfield.
In 1966, Buffalo Springfield released their debut album "Buffalo Springfield", which sold well.
In 1967, they released their second album "Buffalo Springfield Again". By this time the group was under strain with distrust of their management, Palmer had been arrested and deported. Two of the songs Young wrote for the album were recorded by himself without the group.
In May 1968, the band split up. A final album was released, "Last Time Around" comprised of songs recorded earlier in the year.
After Buffalo Springfield, Young signed a solo deal with Reprise Records.
In 1969, Young released his debut solo album "Neil Young". It received mixed reviews. After the album, he recruited Danny Whitten, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina from a band called The Rockets. They would be given the name Crazy Horse. Young and Crazy Horse released the album "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" later in May the same year. Young was then reunited with Stephen Stills when he joined his group Crosby, Stills & Nash, who had won a Grammy Award in 1969 for "Best New Artist". Young agreed to join on the condition that he received full membership and the group was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The new group performed in Chicago in August as well as Woodstock.
In 1970, they released "Déjà Vu". The making of which saw frequent arguing amongst the band. Young and Stills were both fighting for control of the group. Later in the year, Young released his third solo album "After the Gold Rush". It also featured Nils Lofgren, Stephen Stills, and Greg Reeves. Young's fame with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young helped make the album a commercial breakthrough for him as a solo artist. The album included the song "Southern Man" which was a condemnation of racism. Lynyrd Skynyrd would later decry Young in their lyrics to the song "Sweet Home Alabama". Later in the year, Young went on a solo acoustic tour of the US. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young split up and Crazy Horse signed a record deal. Young extended the tour into 1971 and named it "Journey Through the Past". Near the end of the tour Young performed on the Johnny Cast show "The Needle and the Damage Done". Whilst in Nashville for the show, Young recorded at Quadrafonic Sound Studios, owned by Elliot Mazer. Young recruited the session musicians who had played at the session and named them The Stray Gators. He brought in Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor who were at the Cash show and made further recordings in his barn and two recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra.
In 1972, the recordings were put together and released as his fourth album "Harvest". The album would be a huge success. A tour was planned. During rehearsals, Danny Whitten was struggling to perform due to drug abuse. He was fired and was later found dead from an overdose. Young was deeply affected, but the tour went ahead. On tour Young struggled with his voice and drummer Kenny Buttrey was replaced by Johnny Barbata. David Crosby and Graham Nash came in for the final dates of the tour. The album "Time Fades Away" was recorded from the tour. Is it Young's least favourite record.
In 1973, Young formed The Santa Monica Flyers with Crazy Horse's rhythm section combined with Nils Lofgren and Ben Keith.
In 1974, Young released "On the Beach". It wouldn't sell well but was well received by critics. In the same year Young reunited with Crosby, Stills and Nash for a concert tour. After "On the Beach" was completed, Young recorded an acoustic album called "Homegrown" with producer Elliot Mazer. Whilst it was completed, Young decided to drop it.
In 1975, Young and The Santa Monica Flyers released the album "Tonight's the Night", inspired by the deaths Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry. It was delayed for two years as Reprise were concerned by the album's tone. In the same year, Young reformed Crazy Horse with Frank Sampedro to record the album "Zuma".
In 1976, Young joined Stephen Stills as The Stills-Young Band to record the album "Long May You Run". The tour that followed it ended midway. Young sent Stills a telegram that read "Funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach, Neil". In the same year, Young performed with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell amongst others at the concert "The Last Waltz".
In 1978, Young released the album "Comes a Time". In the same year, most of the filming was done for Young's film "Human Highway". Young spent $3,000,000 on the project. Also that year, Young started the "Rust Never Sleeps" tour.
In 1979, the mostly live album "Rust Never Sleeps" was released as well as the live album "Live Rust".
In 1980, the film "Where the Buffalo Roam" was released with incidental music being provided by Young. In the same year, Young released the album "Hawks & Doves", made from sessions going back to 1974.
In 1981, the electric album "Re-ac-tor" was released with Crazy Horse.
In 1982, Young released the album "Trans", his first album for Geffen Records. It featured vocoders, synthesisers, and electronic beats. Young's son Ben, who had cerebral palsy was an inspiration for the album's theme of technology and communication. An extensive tour followed the release.
In 1983, Young released the album "Everybody's Rockin'". It featured several rockabilly covers. Young was backed by the Shocking Pinks for the US tour that followed. Geffen Records were not happy with the first albums featuring a different style to Young's earlier work and sued him for making music "unrepresentative" of himself". In the same year, the film "Human Highway" was released which Young had co-directed and co-written.
In 1984 and 1985, Young toured for his album "Old Ways", which was released in 1985. Young also appeared at Live Aid in Philadelphia with Crosby, Stills and Nash.
In 1986, Young released the album "Landing on Water".
In 1987, he released "Life" his final album with Geffen. After the album, Young signed again with Reprise Records. Later in 1987, Young formed a new blues band called The Bluenotes, which were renamed as Ten Men Working.
In 1988, they released the album "This Note's For You". Also that year, Young reunited with Crosby, Stills and Nash to record the album "American Dream".
In 1989, Young released the album "Freedom" which saw a return to the heavy distortion based sound of "Rust Never Sleeps". The album came just before the genre of grunge became prominent and Young would be cited as a major influence for many grunge artists. In the same year the tribute album "The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young" was released by alternative and grunge acts including Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Soul Asylum, Dinosaur Jr, and the Pixies.
In 1990, Young released "Ragged Glory", which was recorded with Crazy Horse in his barn. On the following tour, he toured with Social Distortion and Sonic Youth. The live album "Weld" would be released the next year from the tour.
In 1992, Young released "Harvest Moon" which saw a return to the sound of "Harvest" and also featured Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. In the same year, the song "Prairie Town" was released which Young contributed to.
In 1993, Young received an Academy Award nomination for "Philadelphia" which was on the film of the same name. In the same year, he performed on the show "MTV Unplugged". An album was released of the performance. Young joined Booker T. and the M.G.s, Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam on a summer European tour.
In 1994, Young and Crazy Horse released the album "Sleeps with Angels". It was influenced by Kurt Cobain's death earlier in the year. Cobain had quoted Young's lyrics in his suicide note with the words "It's better to burn our than fade away". Young had made several attempts to contact Cobain prior to his death. Young, Crazy Horse and Pearl Jam performed at an abortion rights benefit.
In 1995, Pearl Jam featured on Neil Young's live album "Mirror Ball". In the same year, Young was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also that year, Young composed the soundtrack to the film "Dead Man".
In 1996, Young joined Crazy Horse for the album and tour "Broken Arrow". It was prompted by the death of producer and friend David Briggs late in 1995. Young and Crazy Horse toured into 1997.
In 1997, Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Young did not attend the ceremony.
In 1998, Young joined the band Phish on stage at the Farm Aid concert and at Young's Bridge School benefit.
In 1999, Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash for the album "Looking Forward". The tour following the album earned $42.1 million.
In 2000, Young released the album "Silver & Gold" and live album "Road Rock Vol. 1".
In 2001, Young released the song "Let's Roll" in tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks. He performed at the "America: A Tribute to Heroes" benefit concert.
In 2002, the song was part of his album "Are You Passionate" which featured mellow love songs dedicated to his wife Pegi. He was backed on the album by Booker T. & the M.G.s.
In 2003, Young released the album "Greendale" which was recorded with Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina. The album was a concept album about the murder of a police officer in a small town. The following tour went into 2004.
In March 2005, Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. He was treated with a minimally invasive neuroradiological procedure. He passed out after the operation on a street in New York, but was back on stage within months for the Live 8 concert in Barrie, Ontario. He released the album "Prairie Wind" later in the year, which touched on the subject of mortality.
In 2006, Young released "Living With War". The album was written in protest of the US invasion of Iraq. In the summer, Young toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for the "Freedom of Speech Tour '06".
In 2007, Young released "Chrome Dreams II" which were influenced by Young's environmentalist activism. Young is on the board of directors of Farm Aid and performs every year at the Farm Aid Concerts. In the same year, Young appeared on the album "Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino".
In 2008, Young released the album "Fork in the Road". It was partially inspired by Young's production of a hybrid engine 1959 Lincoln called Lincvolt. The car would catch fire in 2010 in a California warehouse. The resulting fire burned US$850,000 worth of Young's rock and roll memorabilia collection.
In 2009, Young appeared on the Booker T. Jones's album "Potato Hole". Also that year, he performed at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Big Day Out in New Zealand and Australia; Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona; Glastonbury; Hard Rock Calling and Isle of Wight Festival.
In 2010, Young performed on the final show of "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien". On the same night, he performed for "Hope for Haiti Now: A global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" charity telethon. Also that year, he performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. In the same year, Young released the album "Le Noise". He would also contribute vocals to Elton John and Leon Russell's album "The Union".
In 2012, Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed for Paul McCartney's MusiCares Person of the Year dinner. In the same year, Young and Crazy Horse released "Americana". It was a tribute to unofficial national anthems. Their album "Psychedelic Pill" was released in the same year. In August that year, Young was mistakenly declared dead by NBCNews.com, the same day Neil Armstrong died.
In 2013, Young performed at the annual fundraiser for Silverlake Conservatory of Music.
In 2014, Young released the album "A Letter Home". He appeared on Chrissie Hynde's debut solo album "Stockholm". Also that year, Young released the album "Storytone".
In 2015, Young released the concept album "The Monsanto Years", which was in support of sustainable farming.
In 2016, he has announced the release of the album "Peace Trail".