ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms
Books and Music and Musings31 Dec 2007

It turns out I have a blind spot in my pop-culture vision that is the size and shape of Neil Young.

For Christmas, my mom gave me a big coffee-table book called The Top 100 Canadian Albums, as chosen by a panel of 500 musicians and music lovers. The chosen albums are ranked by vote and not sales, and span all genres and periods from the 1950s to present day, so the book is reflects a nice slice of the Canadian music scene.

The #1 album is “Harvest” by Neil Young. This, I am somewhat ashamed to report, didn’t really ring any bells for me. “Neil Young is Canadian?” I asked aloud on Christmas morning. And then, “Neil Young is who, exactly?”.

As I flipped through the book it began to dawn on me that this Neil guy was a bit of a big deal. He had the #1 album in Canadian history, and appeared a few other times on the list.

Specifically, Neil is #1, #3, #16, #22, #30, #31, #40, and #47.

Clearly I’ve not been paying attention.

In my defense, in order to answer my next question, “What does Neil Young sound like?”, my parents dug into their collection of vinyl records. So his peak was slightly before my time.

I listened to “Harvest” on the turntable, and while it wasn’t an epiphany moment, I did start to understand why he might be thought of so highly.

Since then I’ve been keeping an eye out for Mr. Young. k.d. lang covered some of his songs on her “Hymns of the 49th Parallel” album (#59 in the Canadian pantheon) and I’ve been listening to that. On the airplane today I listened to a Neil Young live album via the in-flight entertainment system. I’m getting to rather like him.

Unsurprisingly, there’s lots of Neil Young on YouTube. Here he is with The Band. (“The Band is who, exactly?” led to more records being dusted off…)

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