Neil Young (Nov. 12, 1945 -)
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Neil was born in Toronto but moved to Winnipeg as a teenager when his parents divorced. His mother was a panelist on a Canadian quiz show and his father was a sports writer for the Toronto Sun. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
In 1982, Geffen Records signed Young and gave him complete creative control. Young made some experimental albums that flopped, and Geffen sued him, claiming he was intentionally making commercially unsuccessful albums. He settled the suit and went back to his old label, Reprise, in 1988.
He formed the influential band Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills in 1966. When Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1997, Young boycotted the presentation because he felt the event was too commercial. Seats at the dinner cost $1,200 each.
He worked as a solo artist while touring and recording with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
In 1979, he released a concert movie called Rust Never Sleeps. Young directed it using the name Bernard Shakey.
New York magazine The Village Voice named him '70s Artist Of The Decade.
At age 5, he contracted polio. The disease damaged the left side of his body and may have contributed to seizures he would experience for years to come.
When he formed his first band, The Squires, and traveled to gigs, they did so in Neil's hearse, which he named Mortimer. He loved that hearse.
His son Ben was born with cerebral palsy, as was his second son Zeke (born with a milder case). This led Neil's involvement with The Bridge School, which serves special-needs children. Neil holds a benefit concert for the school every year.
Young is the first artist to record two MTV Unpluggeds. He was so upset about the quality of the first one he showed up again three months later to record another one. R.E.M. also recorded two. (thanks, Dan - West Hartford, CT)
Young has indulged in marijuana and cocaine, but very rarely. In the movie The Last Waltz, you can see a huge ball of coke in Neil's nose; for the 2002 theatrical and DVD release, MGM digitally erased the ball. Young has never touched heroin or acid, and has never been in rehab.
He is a part owner of the Lionel train company. And holds patents on model railroad controls he uses with his son Ben. (thanks, Chris - Philadelphia, PA)
One of his first bands was The Mynah Birds, which featured Rick James on lead vocals. They signed with Motown, but the deal (and the band) fell apart when James was busted for dodging the draft.
In 1995, Pearl Jam recorded an album with Young called Mirror Ball. Because of record company restrictions, the name Pearl Jam could not appear anywhere on the album, but each member is named individually. (thanks, Elliot - St. Louis, MO)
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