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Friday, March 25, 2022

LOVE AND WAR: An Open Letter to Neil Young

Neil Young:
"Just singing a song won't change the world"
2008 Berlin Film Festival
Photo by Markus Schreiber

As we posted yesterday, Neil Young is "sad" per his latest batch of Letters on Times-Contrarian | NYA.

"i have been overcome with sadness."

While there is no specific reason given for Neil's sadness, it is assumed that the weight of the world is bearing down on him.  Whether this is related to the recent SPOTIFY debacle , ongoing environmental degradation, lack of touring, the loss of his guitar tech Kurt,  or the ominous war drums that are beating or a combination of all can be debated.

Regardless, many fans feel Neil's pain -- viscerally in their hearts and souls.

Admittedly, we here at TW piled onto Neil over the SPOTIFY debacle and suggested this would NEVER have happened if the steady hand of Elliot Roberts were still on the scene. And we do sincerely apologize for anything said here on this blog which may have contributed to Neil's sadness.

Which brings us to a comment of atonement by Brother Alan in Seattle (or being down on a frown when the messenger brought you a letter and being raised by the praise of a fan...)

I hate to think Neil is hurting, and we can only guess what is driving it. 

I hope he still has the best things in his life. The world is in trouble, no doubt. Neil Young has tried to literally force the world to be a better place. All the benefit shows, all the Bridge shows, the songs, like Ohio, Southern Man, Love & War, Who’s Gonna Stand Up? (Love Crazy Horse!).

I say that Neil Young HAS made the world a much better place. So many hearts have been encouraged by his powerful music. He has saved some lives. Some he could not save.

He was not censoring when he put Spotify on notice. He got a lot of negative attention from that, of course. Many people cheered him on!

Neil, don’t let sadness overwhelm you. An old African legend is that good battles evil, and in the end, goodness wins.

I know it’s hard to watch 1963 echo in Ukraine right now. And what else ails you. I have two children myself, now grown. I am quite concerned with the perils they will face in a climate gone haywire.

And social media is so very divisive and negative.

We love you, old friend! You have shape shifted your way down the musical Highways. You kind of invented Grunge. You can blow things up with your playing. I have felt the icy chill up my neck as you raged with Booker T & MG’s in LA ‘93. Ice water in my veins. So powerful. All those punk rock shows and Grateful Dead shows I hit didn’t get me all the way to where I wanted to be. 

It took a huge Neil Young song catalog to complete my lifelong musical quest. To feel the music! You have inspired us, blown us away. You have cracked open the Heavans above with Old Black and shaken the Halls of Valhalla. You fought your way through to this moment. Neil, the Aggressive Pacifist (a term I jokingly use to describe myself).

Neil, after 18 shows, and hundreds of other shows, I want to tell you that you rocked it harder than anyone else. But it’s the many sides, acoustic, piano, Harp. You can do it all: write, sing, and Play! A Triple Threat. And yet, a mere mortal(?!).

It has been my honor to share air with you in concert venues in 3 states (even sober!).

I must go to sleep. Be well. You have earned some rest! 

Your brother Alan in Seattle

Thank you brother Alan in Seattle so much.  Very comforting words that hopefully reach Neil to let him know he is never alone.  From your lips to Neil's ears.

As we mentioned in a comment recently, Neil has gone quiet for awhile now. Historically that indicated he was writing/recording.  And while we all hope for the best, it is these situations where Neil has written and recorded some of his best works.

by Neil Young

When I sing about love and war
I don't really know what I'm saying

I've been in love and I've seen a lot of war
Seen a lot of people prayin'

They pray to Allah and the pray to the Lord
And mostly they pray about love and war
Pray about love and war
Pray about love and war

Seen a lot of young men go to war
And leave a lot of young brides waiting
I've watched them try to explain it to their kids
Seen a lot of them failing
They try to tell them and they try to explain
Why daddy won't ever come home again

Daddy won't ever come home
Daddy won't ever come home

Said a lot of things I can't take back
But I don't really know if I wanna
I sang songs about love, I sang songs about war
Since the backstreets of Toronto
I sang for justice and I hit a bad chord
But I'll still try to sing about love and war

Saddest thing in the whole wide world
Is to break the heart of your lover
I made a mistake and I did it again
And we struggled to recover
I sang in anger hit another bad chord
But I still try to sing about love and war

Sing about love and war
Sing about love and war

Love and war

While "Just singing a song won't change the world", it certainly has proven to be a good starting point.

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At 3/25/2022 04:53:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Please note that comments on bootlegs on this thread have been bumped to post


Post a Comment

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