Although Jimmy McDonough's semi-official biography Shakey isn't in any danger of losing its position as the definitive account on the life and career of Neil Young anytime soon, there's a new arrival in the neighborhood that may be ready to challenge that classic for bragging rights.
Daniel Durchholz and Gary Graff's Long May You Run: The Illustrated History may not break any new ground in terms of telling the actual Neil Young story. But it does tell it well, and is often an easier, or at least more compact read than the opus that is Shakey.
Where McDonough's nearly 800 page book goes into painstaking detail about virtually every aspect of Neil Young's life from his childhood in Canada right up to about the time of that book's 2003 publish date, Long May You Run instead compresses most of these same points into a quicker, more easily digested 200 or so pages. Yet, even with the significant reduction in length, little is missed here.
But the thing which really sets this book apart from Shakey — or any other Neil Young book for that matter — are the pictures. In boasting that it is the first fully illustrated Neil Young biography, Long May You Run lives up to that claim, and then some.
Beautiful, full-color photographs from every phase of Neil Young's five-decade career — many of them never before seen — leap off of every single page. In between the actual story, there are also hundreds of photos of ticket stubs, concert posters, rare foreign singles and albums, and other memorabilia. This package is just beautifully put together, and the sort of collectible in itself that any fan is sure to recognize as an instant keeper.
Neil Young's story has of course been told many times before, probably most successfully in the aforementioned Shakey. But in both condensing that story, and telling it in simpler, easier to read language here, the authors bring a fresh perspective to it that makes this book seem like reading it all for the first time.