Randy Newman and Neil Young
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."
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.