Neil Young: A Musical Legacy



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Neil Young: A Musical Legacy

Neil Young, the Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, has made a significant impact in the music industry. His longevity in the industry, and ability to maintain an authentic and raw sound, has caught the attention of many, including talk show host Conan O’Brien.

Recently, O’Brien sat down with Young for a one-hour conversation on SiriusXM’s Team Coco Radio, where they discussed Young’s memorable TV performances, starting with Buffalo Springfield’s appearance on a 1967 episode of the CBS detective series Mannix.

In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Stephen Stills, the singer of Buffalo Springfield, described the Mannix appearance as “The best sound we ever got”. Young, on the other hand, stated that the appearance on Mannix was “just another opportunity” for them.

He went on to mention other memorable TV performances, such as his appearance on The Johnny Cash Show in 1971, where he sang “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Journey Through the Past”. Young mentioned that he was 23 years old at the time, and was petrified of making a mistake on the show.

SNL appearance

When Young appeared on Saturday Night Live in September 1989, it became one of his most recognizable TV appearances. He performed a fiery version of "Rockin' in the Free World" with Crazy Horse guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro, drummer Steve Jordan, and bassist Charlie Drayton.

Conan O'Brien recalled how that night, as a young SNL writer, Young "melted" the stage and even caused structural damage to 30 Rock. Despite his numerous performances, Young has not played any concerts since 2019. He has stated in several recent interviews that he does not want to play shows unless venues change their food sourcing at the concession stands.

He believes that these venues are fed by factory farms, which he is not willing to endorse. However, he has expressed optimism about future concerts and has even hinted that they are looking for venues for next summer. Young has continued to put out recordings, including two albums by Crazy Horse and a continuous stream of archive releases since the pandemic's beginning. He still has a strong commitment to both his music and his environmental message of respect and love.