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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review and Contest - Long May You Run: The Illustrated History of Neil Young

Neil Young cover image.jpg

A new book on Neil Young arrived a few weeks ago and we would like to share our impressions.

Long May You Run: The Illustrated History of Neil Young by veteran rock journalists Daniel Durchholz (Rolling Stone) and Gary Graff (New York Times) is -- without a doubt -- pretty much of an essential item for the Neil Young library.

Los Angles, CA - 11/4/76
Photo by Doug Allsop

The first impression one gets from leafing through the pages is the high quality of the printing and presentation by the publisher Voyageur Press. It's a coffee table type of book with 224 large pages, nice grade paper stock, and fine reproductions of photos and memorabilia.

It would seem that for even those Neil fans who've read everything from Jimmy McDonough's Shakey: A Neil Young Biography to the Neil Young Archives Journal book will find something new and eye catching in The Illustrated History.

Everybody's Rockin' - August, 1983

Young's long, storied career is lovingly assembled in this tome which covers five decades with accurate research and many never-before-seen photos. There are numerous photographs from the 1960s to the present, with concert posters, memorabilia and other assorted intriguing oddities and one-offs.

Also, there's an extensive discography, filmography, sideman listing, and many other resource indexes.

The book is organized into 8 chapters covering various segments of Neil's career, such as "Tired Eyes, 1972-1975" and "Freedom, 1988-1997". There are several other organizing themes which are put together quite nicely -- one of which we find to be particularly interesting surrounding Neil's focus on the "muse". The fact that the authors are able to recognize, distill, and capture this trait is noteworthy in that so much of what is written on Young often fails to coherently address this key distinguishing trait.

International Harvesters Tour, Costa Mesa, CA - 10/24/84
Photo by Robert Matheu

Another nice feature are the various sub-chapters on key events and themes. There's a nice little section titled "Cowgirls in the Sand" that details Young's music with Emmylou Harris, Nicolette Larson, Linda Ronstadt, Astrid Young and Pegi Young.

Other sub-chapters include "The Crazy Horse Story", "The Making of Ohio", and our favorite subject "Southern Man - Neil Young's Feud with Lynyrd Skynyrd".

Regular readers of Thrasher's Wheat have read about our analysis of Ronnie and Neil probably more than they ever care to. However, we are here to report that we found what has to be some of the most startlingly new information in the book. According to Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist) Ronnie Van Zant was actually buried in a "Tonight's The Night" t-shirt which Young had given to him prior to the band's fatal plane crash.

We have always been highly skeptical of the rumors that Van Zant was buried in a TTN t-shirt and it just seemed to be a myth to perpetuate a tragic legend. And maybe it still is just a myth but a mighty fine one indeed.

CSNY Tour, Oakland, CA - 7/13 or 14/74
Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot

Which brings us to a criticism of the book, which is that it lacks footnotes, endnotes and other detailed documentation of such assertions as the TTN t-shirt legend.

Which is not to say that the book lacks factual integrity which it clearly does indicate it was written by authors with keen knowledge of Young's music. From an interview with author Daniel Durchholz in St. Louis Today BY KEVIN C. JOHNSON who asked what was the most challenging part of the book:
Durchholz: I think the main thing is we wanted to cram everything in there. There was so much material to deal with. What was cool about this is normally in my life as a freelancer, I'm writing about two or three different things every day. The ability to take a break from that and dive into one artist's catalog is a luxury, even when it's the rough parts, like his movies like "Journey Through the Past," which makes no sense whatsoever, or "Human Highway," a train wreck of a movie.

Being able to do that was really fun, but we still had to make sure we had all the bases covered, and that's a tall order.

Neil Young's got fans who are fans of every period he has done. He's got fans of just early Neil Young, just his acoustic music, and just the electric Neil. We wanted to pay attention to all of that.

Nevertheless, the book will certainly hold a lot of surprises and revelations for the more casual fan. In fact this is the type of book you hand someone who says "I just don't get Neil Young".

Ragged Glory Tour, Los Angeles, CA - 4/26/91
Photo by Robert Matheu

In the book's introduction authors Durchholz and Graff capture the essence of Neil Young and his music:
But what's certain is that almost no other popular musician--of Young's vintage or before or since--is as fascinating and fun to track. He's on a marathon of unpredictable terrain that seems far from over as of this writing. The story is ongoing, and it's still a great one to tell.

That tantalizing little morsel only serves to whet the appetite for what is about to unfold in the long run yet to come.

To view more page samples, see Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History on

CONTEST: Win a free copy of Long May You Run: The Illustrated History of Neil Young

Thanks to the publisher Voyageur Press, we are pleased to be able to announce that we have five (5) copies to give away in a contest.

To enter the contest for a free copy of Long May You Run: The Illustrated History of Neil Young, you must correctly provide the answer to following question: What albums comprise Neil Young's "Ditch Trilogy"?

As a bonus tie breaker, answer to following question: What is the specific derivation of the phrase "Ditch Trilogy"?

Entries must be emailed to: with SUBJECT line: Contest - Long May You Run: The Illustrated History of Neil Young

Include name, postal mailing address with country.

Voyageur Press and Thrasher's Wheat have agreed that winners will be selected from the entire planet earth including Canada, Europe, and countries other than the U.S.A. (CLARIFICATION: That last rule was not intended to mean that USA entries are ineligible. USA entries are eligible.)

Deadline: June 10, 2010


At 5/16/2010 11:19:00 PM, Anonymous Marc C said...

I recently found the book at a local CHapters Book store and, after leafing through the pages, I realized that I had already seen many of the images within it. I'll admit I did find quite a few images I had never seen before (a particular favorite is a photo taken during the Tonight's The Night tour of Neil Young wearing beard, shades and all playing an acoustic guitar next to Nils Lofgren playing an accordian). However, the amount of pictures I had seen before deffinately outnumber any unseen images (unless you want to count images of misc. items such as backstage passes, posters, tour books, etc.)

But putting the Neil-addict inside of me aside, the book is rather impressive and would be a lovely addition to any other coffee table books you may already have. Deffinately on my must buy!

-Marc C

P.S. A few months ago I found one of the pictures in the above blog (the one taken of Neil's shades wearing visage in 1974 by Gijsbert Hanekroot as a poster and must admit it looks AWESOME on my room wall hehe)

At 5/16/2010 11:32:00 PM, Blogger TomCrac said...

LESS THAN 7 DAYS TILL NEIL @ OAKDALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 5/17/2010 01:21:00 AM, Anonymous ShittyHorse said...

hell yeah Tom Cant wait!

I purchased this book a few weeks ago, and I think it beautifully made, bound and printed. I will call it a must for the Neil fanatic. The pics are great (includes photos taken at gigs I attended) I think there are a few misprints, or poor fact checking in there though. I noticed a few just casually leafing through and I'm sure others will too, but I did enjoy the book and I'm glad I purchased it.

By the way, Pearl Jam was awesome last night. Eddie called Neil like the greatest songwriter and Human being ever to walk the Earth, before launching into "I got id" They also played a note-perfect "Ain't talkin' bout Love" which was AWESOME and closed with "all along the watchtower" very interesting.
Up next NEIL!!!!
Fuckn' A!
I haven't decided if I want to check the set lists from the shows before the Oakdale or if I want to be completely surprised.
What do you all think?

At 5/17/2010 04:13:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Be totally surprised Shitty!...

It's the only way to see Neil!!


Set list?..What's that at a Neil Young concert?!

At 5/17/2010 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Pastelred said...

Neil will be in Dallas in two weeks. A picnic is planned, tickets tucked away. The excitment grows...always, robin

At 5/17/2010 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Pastelred said...

Pardon! I meant 3 weeks....was only wishing two. Have a wonderful day. R

At 5/17/2010 06:16:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

BTW,Thanks for the positive review on the book Shitty..sounds innaresting!..should sit well on the coffee table next to Shakey!


At 5/17/2010 10:23:00 PM, Anonymous Aftrthegldrsh88 said...

The book was really good. I'm 22 only been into Neil four years but am hardcore into everything Neil Young. I've read Shakey, read his half sister Astrid's book "Being Young" and have basically everything he's ever released (including an original TFA LP). I loved "Long May You Run" but i saw a couple mistakes. A Japanese 45 cover was mislabeled (page 78) and on page 83 in talks about the 74 CSNY Tour then picks up on page 91 halfway through the split between him and Carrie Snodgrass. Other than those mistakes the book was great... Anyone else going to the May 24th show in DC?

At 5/18/2010 06:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and a child shall lead them.

5/18/10 - Tonight's the Night!

At 5/18/2010 09:03:00 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Less than a week now until DC! Second row!

At 5/19/2010 08:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The introduction is amazing -- it describes the scene at Pine Knob (Clarkston, MI), in September 1983 when Neil really pissed off the audience. I had come expecting to see the "Shocking Pinks" and was grateful for the first set of standard NY acoustic fare - but then, nothing, he just decided the crowd didn't need or wouldn't appreciate the Shocking Pinks, so, he just cut the concert short - 45 minutes total, I think... the story in the book is pretty innaresting...and brought back to like (for me) a side of Neil I wasn't particularly thrilled with (at the time). Gratefully, Neil charges plenty for tix these days so he can't just decide not to play. :-)
Keep 'em hopping..


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