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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day! Neil Young,"Old Man" & The Story Behind The Song

Happy Father's Day!

Neil Young's "Old Man" seems an appropriate song for the day.

From BBC 1971.... back when Neil was a young man ...

look at how time flies past....

i'm a lot like you were...

From his 1972 album Harvest, "Old Man" is definitely one of Mr Young's most enduring songs of all time with brilliant banjo and steel guitar. James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt provide backing vocals.

The song was inspired by the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970 when he was just 25 years old.

The song has themes of loneliness and lost love: "Live alone in a paradise that makes me think of two" recalled with a certain pain "love lost/such a cost/give me things that don't get lost."

Yet Neil searches on for that oh-so elusive heart of gold:

"I need someone to love me the whole day through
Oh one look in my eyes and you can tell that's true."

In the film "Heart of Gold", Young introduces the song as follows:
About that time when I wrote (Heart of Gold), and I was touring, I had also -- just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time -- I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today.

And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avala and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there's this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, 'Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?'

And I said, 'Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.' And he said, 'Well, that's the darndest thing I ever heard.'

And I wrote this song for him.

The "Old Man" Louis Avala & Neil Young
1970 Dutch documentary film by Wim Van der Linden

So happy father's Dad ... from a not so young man to our old man...

The "Old Man" Louis Avala
YouTube - Neil Young - Old Man - Live at Massey Hall

Also, watch & listen to why Neil Young will never sing "Old Man" with a band again.

And here are a few more appropriate Neil Young Father's Day songs...
(Thanks Ralf B.!)

- "Daddy Went Walking"
- "Far From Home" ("Daddy took an old guitar and sang ...")
- Sixty To Zero (talk to my daddy On the telephone ...")
- Don't Be Denied ("daddy's leavin' home today ...")
- Prairie Wind ("Tryin' to remember what my Daddy said ..."
‎- This Old House ("thinking 'bout daddy, And how he always made things work ...")

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At 6/19/2011 05:20:00 AM, Blogger Sloqqi said...

Why is it that the whole documentary "Swing in mit Neil Young" cant be found anywhere? Neil himself have used material from it on the Massey Hall DVD. I was hoping that the whole thing would be on the the Archives Vol 1. But alas.

At 6/19/2011 02:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 6/20/2011 09:01:00 AM, Blogger Sloqqi said...


At 10/12/2014 11:40:00 AM, Anonymous MAvila said...

The "Old Man" in the picture was misspelled. It's Avila not Avala. He was my great uncle. My grandfathers brother and that was my uncle Louie and aunt Clara.
As a kid, my family would visit them on that La Honda ranch before Neil bought it.


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