Paul McCartney and Neil Young
Paul McCartney and Neil Young
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
Bridge School Benefit Concert - October 23, 2004
Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA
Photo by Kim Komenich of San Francisco Chronicle
Paul McCartney and Neil Young have had quite a few interesting musical encounters over the years.
As with so many things, it's hard to say when and where Paul McCartney and Neil Young became acquainted and developed a musical friendship. It turns out that even many Beatles fans are often surprised by the depth and endurance of the relationship.
We consider Linda Eastman to be the key link between Paul McCartney and Neil Young.
Linda Eastman -- who went on to become Ms. Paul McCartney -- photographed Neil Young in 1967. A photo from the session was used for the cover of Young's Sugar Mountain, a live recording from the Canterbury House, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 9th & 10th November 1968.
While very little is known of the photo session in 1967, it was understood that Linda had a great appreciation for Young's music until her death in 1998.
Paul McCartney & Neil Young at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
In March 1999, Neil Young inducted former Beatle Paul McCartney into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. During Neil's induction speech he said:
"The first song I learned to play was a Beatles song -- "Give Me Money, That's What I Want". Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters ever. He'll be remembered hundreds of years from now."
After Neil handed Paul the Hall of Fame statue, Paul commented: "Thank you all. I love Neil!"
At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, Neil Young's display contains a telegram that he received from Paul and Linda McCartney in 1979. It read:
Linda and I have been listening to Live Rust over and over, side four kicks ass.
(Thanks Larry B.!)
On October 16, 2004, Neil and Paul joined forces to benefit Adopt-A-Minefield which raises awareness of land mines. Held in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel, Neil Young played an acoustic set of "Pocahontas," "Harvest Moon," "Heart of Gold," "On The Way Home," "Human Highway," "Old King," and "Four Strong Winds". Pegi joined on vocals.
Later, Paul McCartney brought Neil onstage for "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and the show closing "Hey Jude."
"We have a bit of fun but, as you can see, we do a lot of good along the way. That's one of the magic things ... When you've worked hard and you've had a lot of luck, you get to a position, where Neil and I are at, you can do a little bit more. It's a magic thing."
A week later, Paul returned the favor by performing at Neil's annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, which educates children with severe speech and physical impairments.
The 2 day benefit concerts in October 2004, with Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Neil Young and many other artists, was received enthusiastically by both fans and critics.
From Contra Costa Times review by Tony Hicks:
"Though his voice was a bit rusty, McCartney was his old self, throwing arms in the air after nearly every song and hamming it up whenever possible. He brought out Young for "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," which was a bit bumpy as McCartney tried keeping up with a tune with which he wasn't completely familiar. He went back to his strengths, through "Yesterday," "Get Back," "Let it Be," "Lady Madonna" and show-closer "Hey Jude."
Unlike recent years, nearly all the musicians hung around for the obligatory ending. You could see the excitement, even on the faces of veterans, in sharing the stage with McCartney, making it one of the rare all-star jams worth the wait."
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" - Paul McCartney with Neil Young
Paul McCartney and Neil Young
Photo by Barry Brecheisen
(More photos of Paul McCartney and Neil Young on Getty Images.)
On June 27, 2009, Neil Young performed the final show of a three year tour in Hyde Park, London, England for the Hard Rock Calling 2009 Festival.
During the last year of the tour, Young would conclude each concert with an absolutely over the top cover of the Beatles "A Day in the Life" which left his guitar in shreds in a wall of feedback at the song's conclusion.
About half way through "A Day in the Life", out walked Paul McCartney onstage to the astonishment of the 50,000 in the crowd. Those who attended, remarked that when McCartney's image first appeared on the giant video screens, a jolt of electricity went thru the crowd in anticipation of witnessing history.
Photos by crris b on Photobucket
What's interesting to note in the photos above and video below, is who is in awe of who. It would seem that McCartney's bows to Young in a "we are not worthy" pose indicate who is in the presence of the master.
From concert review in Uncut.co.uk | Uncut Editor's Diary - Post details: Neil Young – Hard Rock Calling, London Hyde Park, Saturday June 27, 2009 by Allan Jones:
"What follows is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen Neil Young play, a full-on sonic rupture, two hours of unforgiving and unforgettable guitar distortion, seismic upheaval, deafening detonations, feedback rapture, wave after wave after crashing wave of noise, uplifting and triumphant, the kind of thing that tears vents in the atmosphere, disarranging the senses, wholly transcendent, an often savage aural maelstrom out of which emerges finally a charred beauty, that old ragged glory that is oft-mentioned in talk of Neil, his music and the way he plays it.
Tonight it reaches climax after teasing climax, ecstatic and deranged and after a while just exhilaratingly hilarious, Neil grinning madly as he comes back for one more chorus, and then another and another after that, no one by now wanting the thing to be put to bed, the delirium palpable.
And he’s not done yet and tops even this with what’s become a formidable version of “A Day In The Life”, a song long-regarded by many as something no one in their right mind would think of playing live, including you might think Paul McCartney, who’s been standing at the side of the stage, but is within minutes at the microphone with Neil, arm around Neil’s shoulder, clearly euphoric, the crowd a-roaring. McCartney, now that things have moved on to a guitar-shredding instrumental section seems at a bit of a loss, not sure quite what to do, a problem he solves by waving his arms in the air, grinning wildly, dancing like someone who’s just been introduced to his feet and having a grand old time and then clawing at the strings of Neil’s guitar.
It’s an amazing moment, and an amazing end to an amazing show.
Photo by crris b on Photobucket
Here's a sample of some the tweets that rolled in as events unfolded.
- Twitter / Bex Heyes: "Paul fuckin McCartney just came an sung day in the life with with Neil fuckin Young!!! Unbelievable. Just un-fuckin-believable!"
- Twitter / Jamie Tidy: "Okay Neil Young and Paul McCartney on the same stage! Un-fricking-believable, I can die happy."
- Twitter / James Poole: "Genuinely can't believe that I just saw Paul McCartney singing A Day in The Life with Neil Young. It was jaw dropping."
Paul McCartney and Neil Young encore for "A Day in the Life".
More on Paul McCartney encore w/ Neil Young on "A Day in the Life" at Hyde Park, London, England Hard Rock Calling 2009 Festival: 6/27/09.
Also see more on Neil Young inspirations, influences and collaborations.