“Well, the problems with celebrity and rock’n’roll start with the fact that nowadays it gets way too big too fast. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, rock’n’roll was ‘big’ but it was only ‘big’ to people who cared about it. Now it’s big to people who don’t care about it. So they can’t begin to understand it. They just make ill-informed judgements on performers without first comprehending why or what it was that made the person famous in the first place. In the ’60s there was a bond between the artists and the audience. It’s harder to see now because so much these days is simply down to image projection. But today’s pessimistic bands have a vision and an attitude that’s unified their generation just like the ‘peace and love’ groups helped unify the ’60s generation.”Neil Young (916)

I’m The Ocean

“[The line “people my age don’t do the things I do/They go somewhere whilst I run away with you”. The ‘you’ is your audience, the people who listen to your music – Ed]. I think so. Definitely. I’m referring to the people who listen to music – they don’t have to be there with me but they’re still out there listening. We’re together because we’re both escaping through the music. It’s like that line “I’m a drug that makes you dream.” That’s me trying to define the power of music.”Neil Young (916)

Prairie Wind (The Album)

“The songs are about my family, my family history, life in general, what’s going at the moment.”Neil Young (926)

When God Made Me

“It’s not a peaceful song but a song about my feelings about government manipulation and people’s faith being used as a weapon…”Neil Young (926)
“That song is about the self-righteousness that makes certain people think God created man in his own image. What a conceited idea! What about the squirrel? What happened to him? We’re all here together, we’re all nature. One big thing.”Neil Young (927)

Far From Home

“When I first started playing guitar – I was a chicken farmer at the time – I was about seven or eight years old or something and (maybe a little older than that) my daddy brought me an Arthur Godfrey ukulele, a little plastic one, and, now, I didn’t know what to do with it or anything but he said, “You might need this.” And then he sang me a song, which I never heard him sing before or anything, and then he got this funny grin on his face and he was looking at me. And I was watching him. Then I had to go feed the chickens.”Neil Young (928)

Prairie Wind

“It’s getting to be about that time, some of us are starting to lose our parents and stuff. My daddy passed away a couple of months ago and in the last part of his life, he had dementia. And that’s, I know some of you know what that’s like and it’s something else to see your loved ones living in the moment. But, when he passed, we had a nice service for him.”Neil Young (928)

Here For You

“You know, I got a beautiful young girl. She’s just turned 21. She’s going back for her last year of college pretty soon. She’d probably be embarrassed if I said anything more about her. You know how that is? Can’t say much. Anyway, there was a time I used to write these kind of songs for girls my own age. So this is what you might call kind of an empty-nester song. It’s a new genre, and they might even have a new kind of radio station for them.”Neil Young (928)

This Old Guitar

“One of my favorite guitars in the world is Willie Nelson’s guitar and the way it looks. And this guitar here [the one he’s playing – Ed], my friend Grant, Grant Boatwright, found this guitar for me about 30 years ago and I bought it from Tuck Taylor. And this is Hank’s old guitar. It was here in 1951 [at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville – Ed], I think, and that was Hank’s last show here. Maybe, I think it was. Maybe he got back. He got fired, I know that. So I’m glad to see it back here.”Neil Young (928)

Let’s Roll

“‘Let’s Roll’ is a song about a hero on an airplane [9/11 hijack hero Todd Beamer – Ed], it’s not a song about a country responding to anything, It’s not saying let’s go to war in Iraq. It’s not about weapons of mass destruction.”Neil Young (929)

Old Man

“This is a song I wrote about my ranch. I live on a ranch in California.I just bought it a while ago from two lawyers. There was an old man living on it [a foreman – Ed] so I wrote this song for him.”Neil Young (930)
“About that time that I wrote that song [Heart Of Gold – Ed] and I was touring, I had also, just being a rich hippie for the first time, purchased a ranch. I still live there today. There was a couple living on it that were the caretakers  – old gentleman named Louis Avela and his wife, Clara. There was this old blue jeep there and Louis took me for a ride  and 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, I’m just lucky, Louis. Just real lucky.” He said, “Well, that’s the darnedest thing I ever heard.” And then I wrote this song for him.”Neil Young (928)

Journey Through The Past

“It’s another song I wrote about my ranch.”Neil Young (1127)

Living With War (The Album)

“I was in a  little hotel in Gambier, Ohio for my daughters graduation and I went downstairs for coffee. I saw USA Today sitting there and there was a color picture of one of these hospital airplanes that flies to Germany from Iraq and there were these guys – the vibe from the picture was very serious – these guys were in danger of not making it and everybody was very focused. There were three soldiers in there on tables and staff all around them and professionals doing their best to try and take care of them. I’m looking at that picture and thinking how awful that must be and I hadn’t really looked at anything else and I thought, “I really hate this, I really do.” And then I scan down and I see [a headline – Ed] ‘War in Iraq is Responsible for Many Medical Breakthroughs’ [not verbatim – Ed]. It’s all upbeat about all the technical breakthroughs we’re having. I just looked at it and for some reason that’s what did it to me. I went upstairs after that, I wrote this song ‘Families.’ I started writing another song ‘Restless Consumer.’ I had like four songs going at once. I finished ‘Families,’ which is a very emotional song for me, and I’m sitting in the room crying by myself. It just hit me so hard. All of this suffering. I was looking at it not so much as a…for some reason I got really far back from it, I was looking at it from a distance and seeing how futile it was and that these families were being torn up and people were dying and it really bothered me. When I started writing about it I kind of transcended myself into being a soldier that was dying in one of these airplanes or on the battlefield and not being able to write just thinking in their minds what did they want their families to know. Just knowing that life was ending and trying to organize the thoughts and send it spiritually to the family.”Neil Young (614)