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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April 2005, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Rock music's Young superstar
Neil Young
Young suffered a brain aneurysm last month
Neil Young - who is recovering from a brain aneurysm - is one of the most influential songwriters of his generation.

A prolific and durable artist, Young has experimented with a wide range of musical styles, from rock 'n' roll, to rockabilly and alternative rock, in the four decades of his career.

The chameleon-like approach to his music has ensured Young an army of new fans over the years and a continuing credibility.

Young was born in November 1945, in Toronto, Canada, but moved to Winnipeg with his mother when his parents divorced.

During high school, Young began playing the banjo and guitar and, like many teenagers of his era, was heavily influenced by Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

Folk roots

His first band, The Squires, released one song, but by the mid-1960s, Young decided to move to Toronto where folk music was beginning to attract interest.

There he joined a rhythm-and-blues group, the Mynah Birds, with US singer-guitarist Ricky James Matthews - who later became funk star Rick James.

neil Young
Young's craggy style has endured over the years

In 1965, the band recorded an album for the Motown label, but it was never released as the band split up when Matthews was charged with desertion from the US Navy.

Young moved to Los Angeles with the Mynah Birds' bassist, Bruce Palmer and formed Buffalo Springfield with guitarists Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and the drummer Dewey Martin.

The band went on to release four influential albums in the two years they were together.

In 1969 Young released his first solo album - the self-titled Neil Young - but it flopped critically and commercially.

Number one

He joined up with a garage-rock band, who he renamed Crazy Horse, for his next album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.

His collaboration with Crazy Horse made up some of Young's most memorable achievements throughout the 1970s.

After the Gold Rush became one of the group's most critically acclaimed albums. Other albums included Zuma (1975) and American Stars 'n' Bars (1977).

Young's fourth solo album, Harvest, with the Stray Gators, went on the become the best-selling record of 1972. One song from the album - Heart of Gold - remains his only number-one hit.

Concert film

Young also rejoined his former Buffalo Springfield bandmate, Stephen Stills. He had teamed up with David Crosby of the Byrds, and Graham Nash of the Hollies, to form Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

He collaborated with them on a number of projects, including their debut album, Deja Vu in 1970, Four-Way Street (1971), So Far (1974), and American Dream (1988) - and on several tours.

Heavily influenced by the punk and new-wave sound that was sweeping the UK, Young took Crazy Horse on the road in 1978 for the successful Rust Never Sleeps tour, from which he produced an album and a film.

However, the 1980s were not to prove as kind to Young.

Neil Young (right) with Crosby, Stills and Nash
Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash on a US tour in 2000

His album Hawks and Doves (1980), was not well received and his punk-influenced follow up with Crazy Horse, Re*ac*tor (1981), did not change his fortunes.

Young's 1982 effort Trans, with its synthesizers and processed vocals, also confused many of his fans, while his next two albums also sold poorly.

But the 1980s did end on a high for Young when some of the most popular acts of the period - including Sonic Youth, Soul Asylum, and the Pixies - recorded cover versions of his songs for the album The Bridge (1989).

The resulting resurgence in Young's career led to a number well-received Crazy Horse-backed albums and his 1994 effort, Sleeps With Angels, was nominated for a Grammy Award.

The following year Young recorded the guitar-heavy Mirror Ball with Pearl Jam, attracting many new younger fans.

As the new millennium dawned, Young made a triumphant return to the world's music stage with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, with their first US tour in more than 25 years.




SEE ALSO
Awards pay homage to absent Young
04 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Neil Young treated for aneurysm
02 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
U2 stars enter rock Hall of Fame
15 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
Neil Young sued by writer
02 May 00 |  Entertainment
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunited
25 Jan 00 |  Entertainment

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