An iconic figure in the history of rock and pop culture (inducted not once but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Neil Young has written his eagerly awaited memoir: "I felt that writing books fit me like a glove; I just started and I just kept going."
Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical career, spanning his time in bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse; moving from the snows of Ontario through the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today. Candid, witty and revealing, this book takes its place beside the classic memoirs of Bob Dylan and Keith Richards.
©2012 Neil Young (P)2012 Penguin Audio
I recently read Clapton's autobiography and found it a complete bore. Almost the entirety of the book was about his failed relationships and lifelong addictions - who cares. Neil Young, on the other hand, is a fascinating well rounded personality. Not only does he get into the music and musicians of the most musically influential period of our time, but we find out about his obsessions with model trains, electric cars, and a new high resolution digital music delivery system as well as his battle with epilepsy.
Neil Young obviously wrote this book without any help and it shows. The story wanders from subject to subject and jumps around in time like a sci-fi movie, but somehow it all works. I never got lost and never lost interest, however, I doubt that non-fans would find this book worthwhile.
You know, I was never a huge Neil fan of his music, I really liked it of course but not like some people I know, but I admired him, his longevity, his talent being undeniable, a few stories I've heard and we were just at a farm near his place. Somehow I became intrigued by him and when I read that he'd written a book I thought I'd check it out. Not sure what I was expecting but his take on music, music production, the state of music actually wowed me. Being a musician also I was so happy to hear what he was saying about all that. I was braced for a good story sure, but it is a great story and I'm so glad he put it all in writing. His life has been amazing, his mind behind the song writing and decisions he's made in his life so wonderful to discover. After listening to this book I now want to listen to all his music again, in a new way, like he's someone I know now, like I'd met him and really liked him and wanted to know all about his art. I feel this is the best autobiography I've ever read (listened to). How great that we have people in the music industry have something to say that is interesting, thoughtful, inspiring - people making art not just people who want fame and to make money. I do hope though that Neil makes money from this and all his ventures for himself and that he also does good things with it. I have a new warm heart for Neil Young.
Neil Young's take on music production. Talking about getting back to good music 'sound'. Inspiring. I also loved the way he spoke of his family, his father, his daughter with such love and respect. It made me research his daughter too also a wonderful artist.
I like Keith Carradine's voice. I liked that it felt respectful and was easy to listen to and not distracting from the story but felt more like Neil was speaking.
It surprised me and delighted me.
Thank you Neil Young for being the eternal entertainer with something solid to say.
truth, clarity, heavy
This is a work of art in itself .... Neil wonders if he can write anymore since he has stopped getting high first .... for me his songs have always been about truth and getting to the heart of the matter ... he has done it here
The performance was okay dispite the fact that some Canadian place names were given distinctive new pronunciations.
I am a fan of Neil Young's songs for 45 years or so. He knows how to get a reaction from people whether it be the words or the musical notes and this book is no different. This book is for his fans and he has given a context for his lifelong body of work. I have read numerous other autobiographies and this one is like no other. This book is about life, personal demons and passion and not about ego and fame.
I pray that it is not his way of saying good bye.
I love the fact that it is Neil talking in his own singular voice about his passions. Neil Young has been my favorite rock star for many years because he does things in his own way and his songs speak the truth regardless of what anyone else thinks. He is one of the few of his generation who hasn't sold out his music and is still vital in trying to make the world a better place. The book comes across as Neil talking to you as a friend,;not a dictation of the facts.
Neil' son Ben who's bravery is incredibly inspirational. He has lived a full life in spite of his severe disabilities and has helped a lot of people in similar circumstances.
I have not listened to an audio book read by Mr. Carradine before, but he did justice to the book-great job.
WE have the power to change things for a better world.
Neil thanks many people who have touched his life in this book-thank you Neil, for reminding me to be grateful!
Michael Ruhlman, writer, cook
And excellent maybe if you're not. While there's a lot of stuff that is meaningful to the artist/musician alone (his obsession with cars, with creating bringing back better sound in our music devices), there are enough moments of genuine passion, cool rock history, behind-the-scenes stories of his fellow musicians, to make this a book to recommend to anyone who loves audible memoir.
I almost wish I'd bought hard copy because many of the things he writes are better than his songs and I wanted to underline them for further reflection, which I don't normally do. Young is a good prose writer, so good in fact, that I, who have written more than a dozen of my own books, including a memoir, have to work not to imitate his unique cadences. Some of the prose is pedestrian stoner rock icon grooviness. But the guy can really write, and not just songs.
If you want to know what it's like to be in Neil Young's head, this takes you there. It was a real pleasure to be inside the head of such a thoughtful, kind, and grateful man and a true artist. What an inspiration for doing what you care about and f--k it if people like it.
I wish he'd read it, but as he shows, he has better things to do with his time and I'm glad he does. Keith Carradine does an excellent job filling in. Young could have at least recorded the preface, it's one of the main things the guy does, record, after all.
Hey, Neil Young, if you read this, here's a vote that you keep on writing books. Your dad would be proud.
Neil Young Rocks
I'm a Neil Young fan so.... I may be biased but I loved this book. I saw a review that commented negatively on the narrator but I enjoyed the narrator. I thought he sounded a lot like Neil Young and would frequently forget it wasn't Neil reading his own book to me. Neil is certainly eccentric and obsessive / compulsive but he's also honest to a fault about his vices and accepts himself for who he is as much as he can. He expresses his regrets in a way that reminds you of your own regrets and how maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge. He is very scattered in his thoughts and never keeps a chronological timeline but that's easily forgiven because...he's Neil Young.
I have read several biographies and auto-biographies of musicians (Miles Davis, Janis Ian, Jimi Hendrix, etc.) recently, and, content-wise, this one is probably the least moving and dramatic. And yet, I still liked what Neil Young had to say. As he mentioned in this book, for a hippie-type, he is materialistic. He writes a lot about cars (old ones, mostly). He cares a lot about sound quality. He went trough a lot in terms of his illness and his children's conditions. But he does not make a big deal out of them. The events in the book are not organized chronologically and are somewhat disorganized, which reflects his spontaneity style (a former pothead?). He is a peculiar nerd who happened to experience the 1960s and 1970s and thus was influenced by the attitude of the period. But he keeps up with the technology, knows what he wants, and intends to be around for awhile (and thus gave up drinking and smoking, for now anyway). Often, the book read like a diary, but I still enjoyed it.
I give this 4 stars for performance but Keith Carradine was a great choice and he did a great job - particularly in the second half of the book when he really seems more emotionally connected. But I would only give 5 stars if Neil Young had narrated this himself. But give it up for Mr. Carradine. As the book moved on I was not only hearing his voice but I was picturing him as if he was reading stuff he saw for himself.
On at least one occasion I was at a hockey game with Neil Young sitting beside me. That only happened because we each have a son with cerebral palsy so we were in the handicapped section. During intermissions some people would come up behind where we were sitting and just kind of stand there awestruck. Neil Young has a lot of fans. Me too although I had a slight worry that someone might mistake me for David Crosby. I mention this only to illustrate that I know Neil Young as a real person besides being a rock icon. And also to note that my favorite scenes were often about "Ben Young". He almost always referred to his son that way (and there is one scene that illustrates the confusion that might occur otherwise) yet he is just as likely to refer to Bob Dylan as "Bob" even if he hasn't mentioned him in the previous half-hour.I also found myself fitting into this story at various other places. I completely understand the love of model trains, going on road trips, getting the most out of music as a listener, building electric cars. I bet a lot of people will find connections to his story. The ones likely to be disappointed are the ones who expect a lot of chapters (and he tends to write many, small chapters) to start with "I was so wasted that I ...".
This book is not even close to being in chronological order. And maybe that would take spirit out of the author if you made him cut/paste it into something resembling a narrative. But I think he wrote this book as if it was a phase of his life between two other phases and he didn't have the time (or the inclination) to futz with it.
Overall I liked this a bit better than the Heart memoir even though I tend to like to hear about women's lives more than men's. I also think it is interesting how people will write about their drug history and say "it wasn't so bad" and I'm thinking "oh, you were lucky". And they write about their sex lives and they seem to say "I guess I got around" and I'm thinking "that's it - where's the rest of the stories". I'm very glad I read this book but I think I'm temporarily done with Rock bios and Actor bios and Comedian bios. Might go looking for Science or Philosophy bios.
I had high hopes for this book, and had considered buying it for my son for Christmas, but didn't get around to it. So I picked up the audio version. But I hard as I tried and as much as I wanted to like this book, there just wasn't a lot of substance, at least in the first third, after which I just gave up. A recounting of my everyday activities would have been just about the same as this, so...
On the positive side, I must say that if you are a Neil Young fan, this book might interest you. He sounds sincere, and gives lots of little details about his life that perhaps his mother and his fan club members are interested about.
For the rest of us, the book is big disappointment. It has no storyline, no flow, it is just a collection of disconnected ramblings and stories, much like any blog. However, since he is Neil Young, he can put it in a book format and sell it. Some of the chapters are outrageous in their banality, like the one where he spends pages talking about the time his car broke down and he had to wait for a tow truck on the road. Or his passion for toy trains. Or the dozens of commercials he does about his sound software company/project. I almost quit reading the book three times, but wanted to finish just to write a fair review.
I am a enthusiast for the 1968-1973 golden era of rock and folk music, and I expected to find interesting facts about CSNY and other singers of the time. There is almost nothing about it. I mean, the guy lived in the most interesting time in rock and roll history but instead of writing great stories he spends his time talking about the decoration on the walls of his ranch house. I expect to learn something when I finish a book, but in this case I am in the same place I was on the music business or the musical community of Young's time.
I wonder what happens with these great rock stars when they age. He reminds me of Sammy Haggar and his boring deals with vodka and mountain bikes. Their lives become much like the ones of successful retired accountants or Wall Street business men, full of super expensive and futile hobbies and no real intelectual or artistic pursuits. Hey, come and see my $10 million dollar wall display of baseball memorabilia (in his case a car collection). More often than not, they also change into super beta types, drooling over their second wives who seem to dominate them with their strong personalities (think about Sinatra). It is like a curse, the curse of the old bourgeois. I wonder if they ever were visionaries at all, or if they were just lucky to strike a few good songs.
PS: I listened to the audio book, and Keith Carradine does a superb job of narration. It is a shame it was wasted on this book.
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