I have to admit, I did not know that much about Mr. Neil Young. This attribute to my age, when he was “Rockin’ the Free World,” I was too young to know it. He is a prolific song writer of important topics, and overall a really cool dude.
Neil Young was born in Toronto Canada in 1945. He lived the majority of his life in Winnipeg after living in the US for a brief period of time, and moving several times in Canada. He was heavily influenced by the rock and roll and folk music heroes of the day and formed a bad while in junior high. Mr Young dropped out of high school and toured around Canada as a member of several bands, first The Squires, and then the Myrnah Birds. When Myrnah Birds disbanded, he left for the US in 1966, and formed the band Buffalo Springfield. Buffalo Springfield released 2 albums; Buffalo Springfield ( to critical acclaim) and Buffalo Springfield Again, but the band had strained relationships especially with management, and split up in 1968. This band helped form folk rock and country rock sound. He eventually joined the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash in 1969. He made records as a member of the band, but also continued releasing solo albums. The band played Woodstock that same year, with Young refusing to be recorded on camera.
Young was able to buy a ranch in rural northern California where he resides today. Throughout the 70s Young collaborated with many different bands, formed another band, and joined back up with CSNY for a reunion. His music is very heavily influenced by what he experienced in life from his friends drug overdosing, the loss of the 1960s folk ideals his generation had, his breakup with his first wife Carrie Snodgrass, the downside of success, and the underbelly of the California Lifestyle. Mr Young also has used his music as a voice for political activism.
In the 1980s Mr Young formed a couple more bands experimenting with different types of music. The first type was a very electronic/synthesized sound Young was trying in order to communicate with his first son, Ben, who has severe Cerebral Palsy and cannot speak. The second major genre of music Neil Young was trying out was country rock.
In late 198s-1990s Neil released an album that featured distortion and feedback, and he is credited with being the Godfather of Grunge. He continued to collaborate with many artists from different genres during this time, and he continued to produce music with an activism and political unrest theme. In the 2000s, Young released albums in a rapid fire manner. Still continuing with themes of activism and toured heavily.
Young is active in his beliefs, he helped start Farm Aid with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, and he remains on the board. Farm Aid annual benefit concerts to raise funds and provide grants to family farms and prevent foreclosures, provide a crisis hotline, and create and promote home grown farm food in the United States (source Wikipedia).
He also helped found The Bridge School an educational organization for children with severe verbal and physical disabilities, and its annual supporting Bridge School Benefit concerts, together with his ex-wife Pegi Young (née Morton)(source Wikipedia).
Lastly, Mr Young has also been environmentally active by rebuilding his Lincoln Continental into a hybrid engine. He fueled his tour buses on the Greendale Album tour with bio-diesel fuel. He is a vocal proponent of Monsanto (behemoth pesticide corporation), and the Keystone XL pipeline which may pipe oil sands from Canada down to Texas for processing.