In 1971, Neil Young took the stage and delivered an amazing rendition of ‘Old Man’. Written as a young man, Neil sounds like a young man trying to make an old man remember what it was like to be young and carefree, with the same desire for success and love [1].

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…

One of the most prolific songwriters since Bob Dylan, Young writes content that speaks to the heart of the human condition. His song, “Old Man” serves as a reminder that we are all human, regardless of not only race but also religion, age, gender, or whatever other subtle differences that might be used to pit people against one another.

At the May edition of Young’s tour, he hit every pitch perfectly and put on a show like he did 48 years ago, but this time, it comes full circle, like the old man finally fully understands who he was in his youth and seeks to remind the young to enjoy being young [2].

The crowd reverberated with emotional recognition before murmuring along.

Inspiration

Inspired by Louis Avila, the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970, ‘Old Man’ is one of the biggest hits of Young’s entire career, second only to ‘Heart Of Gold’.

It compares the life of a young man to an old man’s and shows that the young man has, to some extent, similar needs as the old one. The song features the talents of both Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor on banjo and backing vocals [3].

More on Neil Young

Young is a strong advocate for environmental and disability issues, as demonstrated by his co-founding of the Bridge School Benefit Concerts and the Benefit for Farm Aid.

On the 29th of January, 2010, Young was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year, two nights prior to the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. He was also nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “Fork in the Road” and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package for Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 (1963–1972). Young won the latter Grammy Award [4].

References:

  1. 26 Year Old Neil Young Performs “Old Man”- This Is What Meaningful Music Sounds Like“, Society Of Rock.
  2. Neil Young Debuts 4 Songs In Vancouver“, JamBase. May, 2019.
  3. Old Man – Neil Young“, Living is easy with eyes closed. July, 2015.
  4. Neil Young Biography“, biography.com.
Related Articles: