Neil Young: Long May You Run – The Illustrated History

January 01, 1970

(Voyageur Press)




There were those who complained – and rightfully so – that
after years of waiting and eager anticipation, Neil Young’s much trumpeted Archives Vol. 1 failed to deliver on its
promise of unearthing its holy grail of all things Neil. Given its hefty cost
and duplication of several volumes that had been given a sneak preview prior to
its release, its wealth of riches seemed severely truncated in comparison to
what had been hoped for.


Happily then, Long May
You Run – The Illustrated History
should provide some consolation to the
“Rusties” — as Young’s faithful legions are known – and to all the other true
believers as well. Priced at a mere $30, it’s only a fraction of the cost of
the box set and chock full of its own treasures to boot. Granted, it’s a book
that boasts no music (a bonus disc would have been a nice touch), but the
wealth of archival photos, notes, quotes and memorabilia make it a compelling
journey through the past just the same. Tracing his trajectory from his
childhood in the Canadian heartland and his early attempts at forming his own
bands, through his momentous breakthrough and fractured relationship with the
Buffalo Springfield, and Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and ultimately on to his
longstanding stint with Crazy Horse and a prodigious if unpredictable solo
career, the book manages to survey it all in its picture-packed 224 pages.


Granted, the text isn’t nearly as revelatory as that
ultimate Young biography, Shakey (published in 2003 by Jimmy McDonough, and done partly with Young’s
cooperation), and true, it occasionally glances over the more tantalizing
trivia. As an example, the Springfield’s legendary “lost” album, duly dubbed Stampede, is pictured but otherwise
ignored. Even so, the basic narrative is informative and at times,
illuminating, and a wealth of sidebars on different subjects – Young’s supposed
feud with Lynyrd Skynyrd, a rundown of his many studio collaborators, the
recording of “Ohio” — are equally intriguing and make for great bathroom
reading as well. Not surprising, the various comments about the subject as
offered from the mouths of other musicians are universally fawning, but
skeptics would be reminded they befit a musician of Young’s history and


Still, Long May You
is best viewed as a coffee table tome, one that provides ample rewards
merely by thumbing through its pages and reading various sections at random.
Indeed, authors Durchholz and Graff have done an excellent job of retelling
Neil’s saga and peppering it with posters, record sleeves, rare photos, a
reasonable discography of his commercial releases and the kind of minutiae that
can make a devoted fan gawk and gaze for hours at a time. Both men have lengthy
resumes that make them well suited to the task — Durchholz by virtue of his
editorial stints at Request and Replay magazines and frequent contributions
to Rolling Stone, Billboard, the Chicago
and the Washington Post, and Graff via his work with Billboard,
the New York Times Features Syndicate and the volumes he helped pen on Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen.


Nevertheless, this is a stunning accomplishment, not so much
for its editorial inclinations, but rather for the fact it’s a genuine fan
offering, one that not only celebrates its subject, but also allows for further
fascination. It can’t be lauded enough. LEE ZIMMERMAN



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