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Biography & Autobiography Composers & Musicians

Neil and Me

by (author) Scott Young

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Oct 2009
Composers & Musicians, Individual Composer & Musician, Rock
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2006
    List Price

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SCOTT YOUNG chronicles his son’s early years in and around Toronto and Winnipeg and his rise from journeyman, musician to superstar in the 1960s and 1970s. The frequent occasions when Scott and Neil’s paths have crossed – from backstage meetings and family get-togethers to a sold-out appearance at Carnegie Hall – give a fascinating portrait of an enigmatic star.

About the author

One of Canada’s most beloved journalists, Scott Young wrote more than forty-five books in his lifetime. Known primarily for his sports journalism, Young also wrote mysteries, young adult fiction and non-fiction during the course of his career. Born in Cypress River, Manitoba in 1918, Scott Young died in 2005.

Scott Young's profile page

Excerpt: Neil and Me (by (author) Scott Young)

Astrid and I dined after my walk and then walked up the street from our hotel through the crowds outside Carnegie Hall who were imploring passers-by for tickets. One young man offered me a hundred dollars each for our five-dollar seats.

Inside, it was the classic youth scene of the time: blue jeans patched, tight sweaters over young bosoms. We sat, I guess, like visitors from another world. But once the place was dark, we all could see this dark form approaching the front of the stage and then the spotlight came on him: tall and thin, blue jeans, checked shirt, work boots, dark straight hair to his shoulders or beyond, two acoustic guitars on a rack beside a plain wooden chair, a concert piano at his left. Moving gingerly as if his back was bothering him. No music to play except the songs in his head, all his own.

He sings in a way that twists my heart. It is a strange feeling to be on one’s feet participating and then watching quietly a standing ovation for one’s own son, as happened several times to me that night. It was all new to my experience, but when I thought of certain incidents later there was some connection with the old feeling Neil had about Buffalo Springfield: that the people who loved them really owned part of them and had a right to assert that ownership. Once he introduced a new song as being one that he would do in a week or so for a Johnny Cash show in Nashville, and there was a single loud argumentative voice from the audience, “Why? Why with Cash, man?” When he played a piano introduction, people applauded as if they knew from the opening notes which song was to follow. After about the third time this happened he stopped after a few bars and said, “Y’know, about these piano intros — I don’t play so good. They’re all the same intro.... I just wanted to let you know that I know.” Laughter. Applause. Once he was applauded for rolling up his sleeve.

Maybe as part of his near-reverence for this hall where he was playing, he didn’t hesitate to instruct the audience on manners. At the end of each song there would be shouted (or screamed) requests for this song or that. He told the audience to hold it, “You don’t think I’d come to Carnegie Hall without planning? You're going to get all the songs you want to hear.”

Editorial Reviews

“A gem in the library of rock.”
Edmonton Journal
“[Scott Young] is a wonderfully graceful writer and a skilled reporter…. Neil and Me is a universal book about fathers and sons and the pains and joys they bring to each other.”
Vancouver Sun

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