Today’s music video is Unknown Legend from Neil Young.
This video was posted to You Tube by bronzester
Neil Young has always been my favourite singer, and this highlights an oddity with music. Everyone has a favourite artist or band, and there’s no explaining it. You can like a singer or a band, and find that others may only think of that artist or band as so so. Everything Neil has done I like. However, I’m the only person in my family who does like Neil Young. To my good lady wife, his voice is too nasal and his songs barely average at best. My children still say “Who?”. although one son, our youngest has actually been to a live concert of Neil’s, something I have not done. My brothers and sisters aren’t that fussed either. I have one sister who did like one of his songs, but I think that might have just been because Nicolette Larson had a large part in the song. My Mother is almost the same as my children at the mention of Neil Young ….. “Who?” She knows I like him but that’s about all really.
I first heard Neil Young in 1972. Well, I had heard his songs earlier than that, coming from his time with the band Buffalo Springfield, his time with his friends, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, and even though I liked some of the songs, the only place I heard them was on the radio. He had a monster hit in 1972 with his song Heart Of Gold, and even then, for me it was still just a song on the radio. Then, the local radio station picked up another song from that album, Old Man, and immediately I heard that song for the first time, I sat up and took notice. It was just such a wonderful song. That Friday, after work, I went to my favourite little record shop in Newcastle, and got hold of the smash album with that song on it Harvest. As I played the album, each song was a revelation. I just loved the whole album. From that point, I chased up all his earlier solo albums, his albums with CSNY, and a couple from his Buffalo Springfield days. I realised that I liked nearly everything he had recorded. I even went out and bought a guitar, took 6 lessons, and practiced playing for hours a day, until the fingertips on my left hand were virtually raw. I bought the sheet music for that album Harvest, in it’s own large booklet form and used that to hone my skill with chords. All I wanted to do was to learn that song Old Man. As each new album of his came out, I would buy it and add it to my now growing collection. To this day, whenever I hear that song, I still stop everything and listen to it. It’s still my favourite song.
My friends couldn’t see what I saw in his songs, because to them, the songs were just average, and his voice sounded somewhat tinny for their liking. When I was home on leave, my mother would sometimes wonder why the first thing I did when I woke up was reach for my guitar.
She knew I liked Neil Young, but again, that was virtually all she did know, and ask her to name just one Neil Young song and she would not have an answer.
However, some time in 1992, I got a call from her. She used to listen to one of the local radio stations where she lived, mostly with the radio on to provide music during the day, and to listen to the news every hour or so. She telephoned me and said that the radio station had played this song she really liked and she hadn’t caught the name of the song or the name of the artist, but from years of hearing Neil Young songs from when I would play them, either on my guitar, or the tapes I would play when on leave, she knew the voice, and she told me the song was by Neil Young, and the lyrics mentioned ‘Harley Davidson’ in them. Straight away, I knew the song, and that’s the featured clip I have for today, Unknown Legend.
It’s funny how you can listen to songs from one particular artist over the years, and although you hear them it doesn’t really register until you hear something from that same artist that for some obscure reason, all of a sudden you like that song.
That’s what happened with this Neil Young song and my Mother. She still loves that song, and when I asked her about it, she can’t really explain why she likes it so much, and I mean, it’s not like the song is really from her era of music, as at the time, she was well into her 60′s when she heard it.
This song is from Neil’s 1992 album Harvest Moon. Neil has always been a singer songwriter never content to stay with the one formula that most artists sty with throughout their careers. Neil has always experimented with different genres with his music, form acoustic to electric, Country to solid rock, solo, or with different bands, and Neil has had two main bands he has been with during his very long career, Crazy Horse, and The Stray Gators.
This album with this song on it was at a time when he went back to acoustic music, and back to a time when he was almost all acoustic, and as a reminder of that, Neil even referred the album back to that smash from 1972, Harvest, calling this new album Harvest Moon.
This album was with his acoustic backing band The Stray Gators, well, the core of that band anyway, Kenny Buttrey, Tim Drummond and Ben Keith. In this almost reprise of Harvest, Neil also called on some of the backing artists who appeared on that original 1972 album, foremost among them James Taylor, and Linda Ronstatdt. Nicolette Larson also added her vocals to this new album as well, and even Jack Nitzsche, one of those original Stray Gators arranged one of the songs on the album, arranging the large Strings section for that song.
The big hit from this new album was in fact the title track, Harvest Moon, a beautiful song with a wonderful melody, but as is often the case, I always prefer another song from the album, and in this case, it is this song featured today, Unknown Legend, and that song is also my Mothers favourite song from Neil Young, even though she only knows it as ‘that Harley Davidson song’.
This next clip is of Neil doing the song at a live ‘Unplugged’ concert.
This video was posted to You Tube by kk9911