Neil Young: Godfather of Grunge

Neil Young an Crazy Horse – with a really great new album

The water in Canada must be pretty damned great – so many fantastic artists have “crossed over to the dark side” into the USA over the years. Hell – I seriously have wondered about “heading north” myself – more on that later.

Anyway, as a guitarist and songwriter, one of the best rock / pop / folk / “Americana” albums ever – was Harvest by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. It maybe (and unfairly) is the album I always judge all subsequent albums from Neil Young from. I was actually not a fan of Crosby Nash Stills and Young – hard to say why. Too poppy I guess.

One of the best albums ever . . .

The song “Words” on Harvest was the song where I could say that I saw the first inklings of “Grunge”. I love the “dirty”, “muddy” take on folk and rock. There is peddle steel guitar, piano, slide guitar, noodling bluesy sort of guitar- man, everything – and it gets into a cacophony of sound that I love. There is that extended break – and it has a guitar line that Television totally “co-opted”:

Listen to Marquee Moon – the Song – and tell me you don’t hear some Harvest Influence there . . .

I loved that late 70’s – and was right there (I graduated High School in 1977 and my parents moved to California in 1979) – when Punk hit and saved us from the terrible Freebird bullshit that the lamestream radio was playing. I’m glad Neil Young was hated by Lynyrd Skynyd – hahahahaha. But late 70’s folk rock and punk was a passing fancy – “New Wave” a la Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, took over shortly. But I have to say – when bands like Uncle Tupelo and then other “Americana” and Grunge bands took center stage in the 90’s – that’s when it all came full circle for me. It was like a mish mash of country, blues, punk. rock. pop, holy shit – everything that is most excellent.

These days I listen to Americana mostly. Look up Kurt Cobain singing “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” by Leadbelly. Yeah – that’s the shit. Turned me on to Leadbelly . . . .

Oh man – listen to Bob Dylan “Absolutely Sweet Marie” – and tell me The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed weren’t influenced by that. I love finding these connections. I guess one thing that is always great in the USA is The Arts . . .

Maybe I won’t move to Canada – but it sure has looked like a nicer place since Trump Made America What it is Today . . .

It’s just a passing phase (I hope).

2 Comments on “Neil Young: Godfather of Grunge

    • Hello Mike! Canada is a beautiful country, and the people are just super. My neighbors were from Quebec back in New Jersey, I lived in Rochester, NY and know Toronto is awesome, and have travelled quite a few times to Vancouver.

      My wife has cycled up in the Yukon, and now I want to as well.

      Oh – there was that train trip across the “shield”. I wonder if that still runs.


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