I’m a happy man.

Neil Young is coming to play. It’s confirmed.

I have listened to Neil Young since I was 12. That’s 35 years long.

I listen alone – Sugar gets so mad if I play Neil Young. Some people just can’t appreciate the beauty of his lyrics, his voice, and his music.

I bought my first album (featuring Neil Young) from Cyril Parker’s music shop in Waipukurau around 1971. I think it cost me 99 cents. It was early enough that decimal currency was still a novelty –  Cyril pressed my one cent change into my hand and said in a very scrooge-style voice: “That’s one centimetre change for you young man…” Funny what you remember.

That album was Dejá Vu – a Crosby Stills Nash and Young collaboration (released in 1970). “Helpless” was the big hit (for me) from that one.

My first solo Neil Young Album was Harvest. “Heart of Gold”, “Old Man”, “The Needle and the Damage Done”…

In my first years of university I’d drink a flagon of beer and dance/stagger around the lounge listening to Rust Never Sleeps at a shattering volume before heading out on the town.

I was so happy when Harvest Moon was released – considered a pseudo sequel to the original Harvest due to the number of “Harvest’ musicians playing on it. The standouts for me: “Dreamin’ Man”, “One of These Days”, and the title track “Harvest Moon”.

It’s fair to say that I’m a fan of the more country tinged albums (of which there are many). But Sleeps With Angels (with Crazy Horse) is a damn fine piece of work too. The title track was written in response to Kurt Cobain‘s suicide where in his final note he quoted a Young lyric: “…it’s better to burn out than fade away…”

Neil Young is considered the “godfather of grunge” more because of his guitar playing techniques. He recorded an album with Pearl Jam (the kings of grunge) – Mirror Ball is the result of that collaboration.

And so the man is coming down under. Apparently he’s a mad keen wind surfer and has made several clandestine visits to New Zealand to catch the winds in the Bay of Plenty.

This time though he’s coming to play. Hallejulah!

I’ll leave with you a You Tube video of one of my favourites: