Neil Young (b. November 12, 1945) is a highly acclaimed and veteran singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and activist with expressive high tenor vocals who became famous beginning in 1966 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. He went solo in the late 1960s and was also a part of the folk rock quartet, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Although he is most famous for such country rock classics as "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (1970), "Heart Of Gold" (1972), "Old Man" (1972), and "Hey Hey, My My" (1979), his extensive catalog also covers other types of rock (e.g., folk, hard, blues, and psychedelic), country, rockabilly, electronic music, and proto-grunge.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Young formed his first band in his early teens and played in a number of instrumental rock groups while in high school, eventually dropping out to pursue a music career. In 1963, he formed The Squires and began writing songs, many of which the band performed as part of its regular set. By early 1966, The Squires had split and Young began touring Canada as a solo performer while serving as a member of the Rick James-fronted Mynah Birds. After the Mynah Birds dissolved in late 1966, Young and the band's bassist, Bruce Palmer, relocated to Los Angeles where they formed Buffalo Springfield along with Dewey Martin, Richie Furay, and Stephen Stills. Young had his first major songwriting success in 1967 when The Guess Who had a Top 40 hit on the Canadian charts that year with his "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong." After Buffalo Springfield split in 1968, Young signed with Reprise Records as a solo artist and formed his first backing band, Crazy Horse, as heard on many of his hits. By early 1969, he had released his eponymous solo debut album which was followed soon after by "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (1969), his first album with Crazy Horse. From 1969-1970, he served as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young whose hits include the gripping protest anthem, "Ohio" (1970), and other Young-penned songs.
Neil Young made his solo debut in 1970 on the Pop/Rock charts with the evocative "Cinnamon Girl," which also became a hit that same year for The Gentrys. His fame began taking off later that year with "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (1970), and he had his biggest hit in 1972 with "Heart Of Gold," which topped the charts in both Canada and the U.S. Young's long string of mostly self-penned hits also includes "When You Dance I Can Really Love" (1971), "Old Man" (1972), "War Song" (1972, Neil Young & Graham Nash), "Walk On" (1974), a cover of the Ian Tyson-penned "Four Strong Winds" (1979), "Rust Never Sleeps (Hey Hey, My My [Into The Black])" (1979), "Southern Pacific" (1981), "Little Thing Called Love" (1983), "Rockin' In The Free World" (1989), and "Harvest Moon" (1993).
A prolific recording artist with over 20 gold- and platinum-certified albums to date, Neil Young has toured and performed actively to the present day. He is one of very few acts to have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice: first in 1995 as a solo artist and then in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. His numerous other honors and accolades include several Grammy and Juno Awards, and in 2000, he was ranked by Rolling Stone at #34 in its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Young has lived in California since the 1960s and in 2020, he became a U.S. citizen while retaining Canadian citizenship.
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- For the complete archives of Neil Young including music, books, films, and videos, visit neilyoungarchives.com.
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Neil Young performs "Old Man" from "Live At The Cellar Door," an album released in 2013 of live performances from late 1970.
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