The simple man
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to write a few words for The Independent newspaper about my favourite Neil Young song . It’s always hard to do this as different songs do different things for me at different times & a choice one day usually isn’t the same the next. Or from one minute to the next. But, that said, “The needle & the damage done” has to be up there among the best of many great tracks Neil has written, and the tune sits, insistently, on my I-Pod, demanding a regular outing. Like most of Neil’s work , the words are confessionally honest ; written in the first person, it’s the great man himself, talking about himself. Maybe the things he describes really happened. They probably did. Neil's tone of voice convinces you that he’s not a lifelong millionaire rockstar , spoiled by fate’s vomited generosities, but a simple guy , trying to tell it like it is, a plain talking man who might spill out his life to you over a beer and a game of pool. I see him in checked shirt and jeans, a Schlitz neon blinking blue-white over the bar, not wanting to head home, to a lonely bed. Now that the sad story’s told, I’m not sure I want to stay; things could, I feel, kick off at any point. I make my excuses and leave.