onstage at the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The annual benefit raises critical funds for MusiCares' Emergency Financial Assistance and Addiction Recovery programs.

Old Man ~ Neil Young

neil-youngNeil Young, OC OM  is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician. He began performing in a group covering Shadows instrumentals in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield together with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. He released his first album in 1968 and has since forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, spanning over 45 years and 35 studio albums, with a continuous and uncompromising exploration of musical styles. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as “one of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers”.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.

Young’s music is characterized by his distinctive guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and characteristic alto or high tenor singing voice. Although he accompanies himself on several different instruments, including piano and harmonica, his idiosyncratic electric and acoustic guitar playing are the defining characteristics of a varyingly ragged and melodic sound.

While Young has experimented with differing music styles throughout a varied career, including electronic music, most of his best known work is either acoustic folk-rock and country rock or electric, amplified hard rock (most often in collaboration with the band Crazy Horse). Musical styles such as alternative rock and grunge also adopted elements from Young. His influence has caused some to dub him the “Godfather of Grunge”.

Young has directed (or co-directed) a number of films using the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, including Journey Through the Past (1973), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Human Highway (1982), Greendale (2003), and CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008). He has also contributed to the soundtracks of films including Philadelphia (1993) and Dead Man (1995).

Young is an environmentalist and outspoken advocate for the welfare of small farmers, having co-founded in 1985 the benefit concert Farm Aid. He is currently working on a documentary about electric car technology, tentatively titled LincVolt. The project involves his 1959 Lincoln Continental converted to hybrid technology as an environmentalist statement.  In 1986, Young 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). Young has three children: sons Zeke (born during his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress) and Ben, who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and daughter Amber Jean who, like Young, has epilepsy. Young lives on his ranch near La Honda, California. Although he has lived in northern California since the 1970s and sings as frequently about U.S. themes and subjects as he does about his native country, he has retained his Canadian citizenship.  On July 14, 2006, Young was awarded the Order of Manitoba, and on December 30, 2009, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Old Man

“Old Man” is a song written and performed by Neil Young on his 1972 album Harvest. “Old Man” was released as a single onReprise Records in the spring of 1972, and reached # 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending June 3.

The song was written for the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970. The song compares a young man’s life to an old man’s and shows that the young man has, to some extent, the same needs as the old one. James Taylor played six-string banjo (tuned like a guitar) and sang on the song, and Linda Ronstadt also contributed vocals.  In the movie Heart of Gold, Young introduces the song as follows:

About that time when I wrote (“Heart of Gold”), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.

He tells a similar story when introducing the song at a February 23, 1971 performance broadcast by the BBC (in which he says that he purchased the ranch from “two lawyers”).

The Song in Popular Culture

  • In 1988, the song is heard in the film Running on Empty.
  • In 1998, N’Dea Davenport recorded the song for her 1998 debut album, N’Dea Davenport.
  • In 2000, the song is heard in the film Wonder Boys.
  • In 2001, the song is heard in the documentary film Dogtown and Z-Boys.
  • Bob Dylan regularly covered this song at a number of concerts on his 2002 tour, including one at Madison Square Garden.
  • In 2004 the song was covered by Canadian folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys for their debut full length album, 40 Days, and by Wilson Phillips for their covers album,California.
  • In 2005, Lizz Wright covered it on her live album Dreaming Wide Awake, recorded at Allaire, Shokan, New York the year before. It also appears in the film Lords of Dogtown.
  • On December 5, 2006, the song was played at St. Louis Blues player Brett Hull’s jersey retirement ceremony, as the jersey rose to the rafters.
  • In 2007, Grand National covered the song on their album A Drink and a Quick Decision as a live bonus track.
  • In 2008, during the memorial service for Heath Ledger, the song was chosen to be played with a slideshow of pictures from Ledger’s life.  Liam Finn (Neil Finn’s son) & EJ Barnes (Jimmy Barnes’s daughter) covered the song on the TV show RocKwiz.
  • In 2010, the live version of the song from Live at Massey Hall 1971 was used briefly in the film Due Date. Donna Loren covered the song on her album Love It Away, and James McCartney (Paul McCartney’s son) covered the song on his EP Available Light. This version was featured in the second episode of season five of the TV series Californication.
  • In 2011 Dallas Green, of City and Colour and Alexisonfire, covered the song at The 2011 Juno Awards, and post-grunge band Puddle of Mudd covered it on their covers album Re:(disc)overed. That same year Redlight King sampled “Old Man” on the album Something for the Pain. It was the first time Young had sanctioned a sample of this song.
  • In 2013, The Voice Australia contestant Danny Ross covered it in the Live Finals 2.
  • In 2014, the song appears in the film The Expendables 3.
  • In 2015, Neil Young appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and performed the song with Fallon as his Neil Young character.



Old Man – Neil Young
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

  • Audio from the 1972 album, Harvest:

Harvest-album

Play Old Man - by Neil Young