Neil and Me
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Scott Young chronicles his son’s early years in and around Toronto and Winnipeg and his rise from journeyman, musician to superstar in the 1960s and 1970s. The frequent occasions when Scott and Neil’s paths have crossed – from backstage meetings and family get-togethers to a sold-out appearance at Carnegie Hall – give a fascinating portrait of an enigmatic star.
From the Paperback edition.
the covered seats. A big crate was moved into place at stage right under the supervision of Tim Foster, the crew treating it as carefully as if it contained fine crystal. One side was unbolted to reveal Neil’s grand piano standing on end. With extreme care eight men standing shoulder to shoulder began to bring it down, one of them Tim Foster, murmuring instructions as the piano was lowered gently to its legs. A quiet man at stage left began tuning an old upright piano there. A chandelier above
quick takeoff. And it was when we were having dinner that night, just the few of us, that I suddenly remembered the big question. “Hey, Neil,” I said. “The driver who brought me from the airport yesterday told me that one time you were here before, he was sure he saw you at Central Station, sitting on the floor and playing your guitar and singing while people dropped coins into whatever you had with you.” “Yeah?” he said. “Did that really happen?” He seemed to think it over, for a few
said. “Neil Young. Dr. William Earle of Omemee phoned about him.” The nurse looked through some notes she had, found nothing. “What is it that’s the matter?” she asked. “Polio,” I said. The two women standing there moved swiftly, sidelong, away from me. The nurse said quickly, “Bring him in.” Writing this now, I keep asking myself, what were you thinking? I don’t know what I was thinking. One of the bad things about having polio in the family is the sound of the term. There is so much dread
contests. I’d always win them. The place where I won the most dance contests in these fantasies was the old legion hall in Omemee.” Which was probably the only hall he knew at that time. But he got the more current stuff on the radio, going to sleep with his radio tuned to 1050-CHUM, the big Toronto rock station. He told Cameron Crowe in an interview much later, “That’s when I really became aware of what was going on in music. I knew that I wanted to play, that I was into it. ‘Maybe’ by the
guitar out and put it on the ground and got in the car and went home, you know. A lot of those people in Oakland couldn’t understand it because they couldn’t see from the other end, you know, just thought I’d freaked out or something, you know, but ever since I’ve never sung that song, you know, I don’t know why. I sang it a lot, you know, I sang it every night for a long time and I really … that’s the story … I couldn’t do it, I don’t feel it right now.” Voice from audience: “Don’t do it!”