Time Fades Away: My Life’s Soundtrack

Recently a reader, and a friend, asked me, “What’s your favorite Neil Young album?” Because we were talking music. Something we like to do. However, we’re 36 years apart in age. That fact doesn’t matter though, because he’s really into Rock music and its cultural influence on America. Moreover, I was there from its inception, being born in 1949.

I could, maybe should, write a whole book about me and Neil Young’s music – which is my life’s soundtrack. Instead, I think I’ll just go back to the beginning and list some songs of Mr. Young’s that were really important to me. At the time. Which does fade away.

So this will be a record.

I still have a few (not all) of the 33's I'd bought from the early years.
Two early albums. 1973 & 1978.

The answer

to my friend’s question is not easy. Maybe impossible? Because at the time Neil would release them, their impact on me was profound. Sometimes to the point I would nearly wear out the grooves on the vinyl. One, After The Gold Rush (1970), both the song and the album, inspired a paper I wrote in college. Subsequently, I sent a copy to then president Richard Nixon. (He didn’t respond. Unlike Mr. Trump, whom 45 years later did.)

Furthermore, many of Young’s works I mention in reviews and books I write:

  • Cowgirl in the Sand
  • All along the Watchtower
  • She’s a Healer
  • Like a Hurricane
  • Cortez the Killer

The first novel I wrote,  Attachment, Neil Young’s words serve as epigraph.

The List.

The early years (1969 – 1979):

  • Mr. Soul
  • I Am a Child
  • The Loner
  • The Old Laughing Lady
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Cowgirl In the Sand
  • After The Gold Rush
  • Don’t Let it Bring You Down
  • Sugar Mountain
  • Birds
  • A Man Needs a Maid
  • Heart of Gold
  • Love in Mind
  • On the Beach
  • Motorcycle Mama
  • Pardon My Heart
  • Stupid Girl
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Like a Hurricane
  • Ohio
  • Come a Time
  • Powerfinger
  • Hey Hey, My, My

The Next Decade

  • Lost in Space
  • Hold On To Your Love
  • Computer Man
  • People On The Street
  • This Note’s for You
  • Rockin’ in the Free World
  • Crime in the City

The 21st Century

  • The Great Divide
  • Silver & Gold
  • Razor Love
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • She’s a Healer
  • Leave the Driving
  • Sun Green
  • Prairie Wind
  • Hitchhiker
  • Hawaii
  • Campaigner
  • Green Is Blue

The Old Laughing Lady

is maybe laughing at me now, and Neil. Time is fading away for both of us. But, “Everything is alright.”

I’m (semi) retired; and so is Neil. His song Hey, Hey, My, My has the lyric, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away“. That has some resonance. But what does it mean?

Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World

on the porch maybe.

Thanks Neil, for being the soundtrack of my life.


Only Love Can Break Your Heart





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