Singer-songwriter Neil Percival Young OC OM (born November 12, 1945) hails from both Canada and the United States. Having begun his musical career in Winnipeg in the 1960s, Young relocated to Los Angeles and joined the band Buffalo Springfield alongside Stephen Stills and Richie Furay.
Many of his albums, including Everybody, Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, Harvest, On the Beach, and Rust Never Sleeps, have received widespread critical praise since he first began his solo career with his backing band Crazy Horse. There were times when he performed with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The facts about
1. He Is a Dedicated Model Train Fanatic
The fact that Young is fascinated by model trains comes as the biggest surprise. Young is such a model train fanatic that he became a co-owner of Lionel Trains in the mid-1990s, after saying that trains helped him bond with his son Ben. So that other kids with disabilities could play, too, Young assisted the company in creating cutting-edge, simplified controls. In 2008, Young prevented bankruptcy for Lionel.
The Bridge School benefited from Young’s generosity after he auctioned off some of his model train collection in 2017. The sale brought in nearly $300,000.
2. His Roommate at The Time Was Rick James
It’s no secret that Neil Young and Rick James shared a Toronto flat and played music together in a band. During the middle of the 1960s, the duo was a member of the R&B band Mynah Birds. When asked to recall, Young said:
Back in the day, our lead vocalist was dubbed the “Black Mick Jagger” and his name was Ricky James Matthews. He belted it out till he was hoarse. When I was living with Rick in his basement apartment on Isabella, close to Yorkville Village, I was introduced to a variety of different drugs. At the time, I was experimenting with amphetamines and light hashish use. As I reflect on my past actions, I realize that I could have gotten much more in-depth. Thankfully, I didn’t go too far with the harder substances.
As is his custom, Young will say that he cannot recall much detail from that time period. Later, he told Howard Stern that his time spent in James’s apartment was “very hazy.”
3. He Played Music with Charles Manson Once
Charles Manson started off as a failed musician before becoming a twisted hippie messiah and eventually one of the most infamous criminals in history. However, what if he had been a successful musician instead? To what extent would the infamous Manson Family Murders have still occurred?
While the exact circumstances of Young’s meeting with Manson during the cult leader’s days as a struggling musician remain unknown, they are known to have occurred. After meeting Manson at Dennis Wilson’s house and jamming with him, Young came to the conclusion that Manson was a fairly talented musician. Young advocated for himself with an A&R rep from Reprise Records. Memories that Young recorded in his memoirs include:
I informed Mo Ostin at Reprise about [Charlie] and encouraged the label to listen to his music. During that time period, producer Terry Melcher was responsible for a string of seminal hits. Melcher apparently decided against pursuing Charlie after he had already been checking him out.
Charlie Manson became a household name after the murders of Sharon Tate and her friend, actress and model LaBianca, which took place shortly after. It was hard to believe that we had actually fooled around with him.
4. He Was Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s Backup Singer
The group’s name was a play on Crosby, Stills, Nash, and… Winwood? The likelihood of this occurring is surprising. In fact, CSN’s original choice for a new member was Steve Winwood, the former frontman for the band Traffic. When they found out that Winwood had already agreed to join Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in the supergroup Blind Faith, the guys settled on Neil Young as their second choice.
In the CSN boxed set from 1991, Stills reflected, “My all-time favorite singer is Stevie Winwood, I love his blue-eyed soul sound. From the beginning, it had been our hope that he would decide to become a member of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. A blues-singing organist was top of my wish list. He was always very nice to me, but he was never free when I made the journey across the moors to see him.”
5. His Dad Penned Young Adult Novels With Hockey Plots
The Canadian city of Toronto is the place of Neil Young’s birth. Scott Young Sr. was a journalist, author, and sportswriter who achieved legendary status in North America with the publication of his uplifting children’s book Scrubs on Skates in 1952.
He also penned several other books for young adults with hockey themes, such as A Boy at the Leafs’ Camp and Boy on Defense.
6. He Came Dangerously Close to Dying
Neil Young became a victim of the polio epidemic that swept through Ontario when he was five years old, in 1951. A total of 1,701 cases of polio were reported in that province that year. Fortunately, Young made it through.
“Waging Heavy Peace” is Young’s autobiography from 2012 “I’ve had polio, epilepsy, and a brain aneurysm in my lifetime. Hard as it is to say for sure, I don’t think any of these things have had much of an impact on who I am. Events like these are a regular part of my life. In many ways, they define me. I appreciate them very much. They fill me with dread.”