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Monday, November 16, 2009

Randy Newman and Neil Young

Randy Newman

Randy Newman -- one of the leading song writers of the late 20th century -- has made some interesting comments about Neil Young over the years.

From Powell's Books , Randy Newman on Neil Young in 2002:
Newman: "Most people did their best work when they were younger. Neil Young is as good as he ever was, which is quite an accomplishment ... It seems like there's no tricks to him. I don't know if you could name anybody better who came out of rock and roll."

From Jimmy McDonough's Neil Young biography 'Shakey', Newman is quoted on the song "After the Goldrush" (p. 340):
"I can't believe I liked 'After the Goldrush', because it doesn't hold up to analysis. I can't stand that sort of 'mellow rock' thing - Neil's doing it, and writing about a big issue in a simplistic way, but I still like it. I love it. It just sounds good.

There's a kind of alchemy going on. It's an artless type of thing - not to imply that Neil's some kind of idiot savant, he's certainly shrewder than that - but you have to listen to the records to realize how really great he is. You can't put those lyrics down on the page and say 'look! this guy's great! They lay there like a turd.

If you look at it close, his song writing seems so artless. It's very simple - 'bad' rhymes with 'sad', 'mad', and 'glad', and he'll do it again in the third verse - it's like a child grabbing around and picking the first things he finds.

But between those grabs there's a high IQ at work, making it all turn out. 'After the Goldrush' is very evocative - 'thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie'. That's great - Neil doesn't tell you what the friend said, you don't know what it is, you never know what it is - it has nothing to do with anything, but I like it."

(Thanks pieceofcrap!)

Commenting on his album Roman Holiday, Randy Newman blogs:
"When I write songs again, to a greater extent than you might ever believe, it will be for you. I'm glad so many of you seem to like each other and if I've been the agency by which some of you have been brought together, that makes me greater than I already am. If the public only knew. Neil Young doesn't do stuff like that. I have nothing against epileptics but come on. Neil Young once drew 80,000 people in Italy and he doesn't speak a word of Italian."

More on what other musicians think of Neil Young's music.

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At 11/19/2009 12:58:00 PM, Blogger The Loner said...

Beeing a Randy Newman fan I read an interview by him in "Musician" about 20 years ago. Unfortunately I cant't remember excatly what he said about Neil's music, but I think it was something like: "I listen to a record by Neil Young a while ago and went out to buy all his records". I think that says a lot.
Another fan of Neils was the late great Warren Zevon. Warren called Neil the best guitar player in the world at a concert in Oslo in the early nineties. He also had a lot of nice things to say about Neil and his wife Pegy in his diaries (I'll sleep when I'm dead: The dirty life and times of Warren Zevon). However, Warren Zevon did not like Randy Newman, according to the same book.

At 11/19/2009 11:42:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Ya know, I really get the impression that Randy had/has a really healthy ego...and I thought his only claim to fame was...
"Short People" lol

At 11/27/2009 06:58:00 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Randy Newman's album "Roman Holiday"? WTF? That quote from him isn't going to make any sense to anyone without some context, and some fiction about nonexistent album ain't it.


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