Remember that when we’re talking about Neil Young, we’re talking about someone who had been canonized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, the first time was in 1995 as a solo act, and the second was in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. Rolling Stone magazine considered him the 34th from the 100 greatest musical artists of all time. Even until today, Neil Young continues to play and tour regularly.
Neil Young started his first band while he was still in junior high school in Winnipeg. He also played in several rock bands while attending high school before eventually dropped out of school to pursue his musical career. His first professional band was The Squires, the band had a single and played several gigs throughout Winnipeg’s venues. After he resigned from The Squires, Neil Young worked for folk clubs in Winnipeg. There, he met Joni Mitchell. Young was also a songwriter at that time, one of the songs he wrote for a band called The Guess Who reached Canadian Top 40. He also toured around the country as a solo artist and joined a band with Rick James called Mynah Birds.
After he moved from Winnipeg to the US, Neil Young joined an LA’s rock & roll outfit Buffalo Springfield, a band recognized as the pioneer in the genres of folk rock and country rock. Other than Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young was also working with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and formed his own band, Crazy Horse.
Young is most known for the barrage of influential albums he released for his solo act, namely the triumvirate of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969), After the Gold Rush (1970), and Harvest (1972), arguably three of his best works that were released in a row. Young has been effortlessly alternating between various genres in the rock spectrum. He blurred the lines between country and ballad, folk-rock and rockabilly, and even noise-rock and synth-pop. Though his sonic range is very dynamic, he never lost his unique characters. His bluesy and fiery guitar licks, heart-wrenching and passionate lyricism, and distinctive high tenor voice can sculpt any genre into his own.
When exploring Young's discography, we'll find ourselves fully immersed in his world. We'll stumble upon a boundless world of heartbreak, yearning, wisdom, and rumination that sojourn the deeper terrain of Young's soul. The experience of immersion itself renders the dichotomy between genres obsolete. Young’s thematic range is expansive, he can gracefully sing about “only love can break your heart,” not one track away from his sorrowful criticisms toward discrimination and slavery of African Americans in the South, “I saw cotton and I saw black, tall white mansions and little shacks, southern man, when will you pay them back?” that later track also put Young in a quarrel with Lynyrd Skynyrd, staunch Southerners.
Outside the show biz, Neil Young is also an adamant advocate of humanity and environmentalism. In 1985, Young co-founded benefit concert Farm Aid to raise the welfare of small farmers. With his former wife, Pegi Young, he also helped found The Bridge School, an educational organization for differently-abled children that was active from 1986 until 2017. During the span of more than five decades, he has 45 releases under his belt, with the latest being in the year 2020 when he released Homegrown filled with his old unreleased tracks that he considers as the missing link between Harvest, Comes a Time, Old Ways, and Harvest Moon.
Neil Young’s Biography - https://www.allmusic.com/artist/neil-young-mn0000379125/biography
Review: Neil Young’s Homegrown Provides a Missing Link in the Artist’s Legacy - https://www.slantmagazine.com/music/review-neil-young-homegrown-provides-a-missing-link-in-the-artists-legacy/