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Book Review: Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History by Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz

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One of the most compelling figures in the history of rock music is chronicled in Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History. It's a fascinating look at the life and career of a musician who blazed his own trail and challenged fans and peers to keep up with his whims and desires.

The book naturally begins with Neil's birth in Toronto in 1945 to Scott and Edna Young. Readers are presented portraits of the artist as a young man as far back as when he was two years old. Family and school photos reveal a kid no different from any other. Though there is one prophetic picture, of course impossible to know at the time, associated with his junior high school graduation that finds Neil more focused on the guitar in his hands than the woman on his lap.

Neil ages before our eyes as the pages are flipped through, telling not only his story but also a good portion of rock 'n' roll's as well. Shortly after making the acquaintance of American Stephen Stills in Fort William, Ontario, Neil headed to Los Angeles. With Stills he was in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He was a critical and commercial success through the 1970s. He dabbled in different genres from electronic music (Trans) to rockabilly (Everybody's Rockin') through the '80s, creating albums that baffled many waiting for him to replicate 1972's Harvest, including his label Geffen Records, which sued him in part making music that was "uncharacteristic of Young's previous recordings." His resurgence began in 1989 with Freedom and the mutual admiration with musicians from the Seattle grunge scene appears on the 1994 Cobain-influenced Sleeps with Angels and 1995's Mirror Ball, the latter featuring Pearl Jam as his backing band. The following 15 years finds Neil revisiting his past and reacting to the present.

Neil's story is told in words as well. Authors Durcholz and Graff do a brilliant job writing a biography of Neil interwoven with many interviews from the man himself, associates that worked with him, and fellow musicians impressed by his talents and drive. Also on display are a number of other interests and endeavors from Lionel trains and films he directed to his ample charity work.

The latest picture comes from 2008 with Neil revealing another passion as he presents the Linc/Volt, a prototype vehicle that combines fuel efficiency with America's love of big cars. The last entry involves the 2009 release of the massive Archives Volume 1, 1963-1972. While that's where the book comes to an end, Neil's story continues. Long may he run.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS
  • http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/ thrasher

    Nice review. Nice book. Nice subject.

    Keep on rockin’!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    It was nice of you to comment