Rare Photo: Neil Young - Hammersmith Odeon, March 1976
Neil Young - Hammersmith Odeon, March 1976
Photo by Tony Fahy
Well, here's an interesting little story behind the photo of the nearly revolutionary "Like a Hurricane" video.
"Like a Hurricane" was written by Neil Young in July 1975 with friend and La Honda neighbor Taylor Phelps in the back of his car, when he was unable to sing due to an operation on his vocal cords. The song was first released on the album American Stars 'N Bars in 1977. Driven by Young's trademark fierce guitars, the song has been a concert staple over the years.
There are a number of factors which make the film extraordinary. Besides the near 10 minute length, the film/video is a single take performance filmed during a 4 night run at London's Hammersmith Odeon March 1976. This is not a lip synch performance as is now standard. Also, this was in the pre-MTV age when performance videos were virtually unheard of marketing tools. Then, of course, there was "The Fan" -- which brings us to the story behind the photo.
We recently posted the "Like a Hurricane" video on our Facebook wall where -- somewhat unexpectedly -- it had one of the largest reactions of any of our FB posts in terms of impressions and feedback. Unexpected in that this video has been floating around for over 30 years and it would seem that any interested Neil fan would've seen a few dozen times or so by now.
What follows are memories from Tony Fahy who was at all 4 of the Hammersmith gigs. Here are Tony's memories as FB blogged:
Tony Fahy: I was at this gig in Hammersmith. All four in fact! 3 on the last three days of March and the fourth on the 1st April 1976. Best set of gigs I was ever at.
It's amazing to find this, just posted!
Sebastien R.: Where the fuck is that wind coming from?
Tony Fahy: Sebastian, there was a huge fan to the side of the stage, that Neil would just lean into when he played lead. He actually balanced against this 'hurricane\'. If the fan had been turned off, he would have fallen on his face! The fan was about 5 feet in circumference...if my memory isn't fooling me. I took a pic, which is still the best I've ever seen of Neil leaning in...
Thrasher's Wheat @Tony - you gotta find that photo! Very cool that you were at all 4 gigs. You must tell us more.
Tony Fahy:I have the photo, but I've always resisted putting it out there. Let me think about it...I wasn't the only one there the four nights. There was another guy who was there the first three nights he shouted out for Neil to sing: "I am a child'. Finally on the last night a very loud 'I AM A CHILD' was heard all over the theatre....Neil said dryily into the michrophone: "Me too man!".
In those days, there were no bouncers and immediately after the last gig, I waited till the crowd had gone...climbed up on the stage only to run straight into Neil! Had a long chat with him and somehow had the nerve to ask him why he had never played Ireland. He said to me that they had considered it back in Hamburg, but because of what they were reading in the paper about what was going on in Ireland, that they wouldn't play there!
I said to him: (wherever I got the nerve from): 'Neil, you should listen to your own songs more!'...' I guess you're right at that' he said. The next European tour, he did play Ireland. I often wondered if I'd played a part!
Thanks Tony for sharing the great memories! Very cool that you saw 4 consecutive shows in 1976.
Neil Young - "Like a Hurricane": Hammersmith Odeon March 1976