Changing Idols

I’ve been listening to Neil Young’s music since I was 15.  I had one of those teenage crushes on Neil.  I suppose that was a pretty strange choice.  Neil’s not your usual pop star and certainly not one that teenage girls talked about at school.  I nearly died when my sophomore english teacher played a Neil Young album during a class one day.  I promptly had a crush on my teacher.

I’m about 1/3 through the Neil Young biography written by Jimmy Mcdonough entitled “Shakey“.  

The first 30 pages or so were a bit self serving (Oh it was so hard to write about Neil, Neil is elusive, here are some quotes from famous people to tell you how difficult this book was….) but once he got over that intro, I’ve found the writing to be very good and as far as I can tell, unbiased.  

I’ve just gotten through the Buffalo Springfield years.  I was almost tired after reading it, as if I had lived through those difficult years too.  Or maybe that’s because I have the flu today.  

I have to say though that it’s a bit weird reading all this detail about the life of someone who’s music was what defined them for me.  It’s Neil’s songs that told me about Neil.  Now I’m reading about the story behind the songs (what story there is anyway) and it’s kind of like your lifelong idol is changing before your eyes.  It’s not bad.  I still think he’s an amazing artist that touched me at a very impressionable age.  But it’s just, weird.  I can’t put the book down now that I’m this far along.

We went to see Neil at the RAI theater early last year.  It’s also a weird thing seeing someone in the flesh, from not so far away, that you have “known” all your adult life.  I’d seen him before in concert but this was more personal.  It was more like Neil’s 2,000 closest friends sat together to listen and sing along.  

I hope I get the chance to see him in concert again.  After reading the biography it will feel even more like visiting an old friend.  Keep on rockin’ Neil.  We’re still listening.

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