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If you, like me, were a member of Team Coco, then you were there when Neil Young serenaded young Conan with a stirring rendition of "Long May You Run" as a part of Conan's final Tonight Show. (I would love to link to a video, but NBC has taken down all videos relating to Conan. They will reap what they sow.) My dad and I are two of the worlds biggest Neil Young fans, and when we each saw that performance, even though we were separated by two state lines and 202 miles, we both thought, "I wonder who Neil Young originally wrote that song for?" and "Is the original release on dad's shelf?"

And of course Dad had the record, although it was pretty dust-free; almost untouched. I was very excited to see it, since I had never even heard of the Stills-Young band, instantly removing me from the echelon of 'world's biggest Neil Young fan,' and placing me among 'Neil Young Enthusiasts.'

Well, as my dad explained to me, the song Long May You Run actually debuted as the lead-off track to the only album from the short lived Stills-Young Band, an ephemeral union of Stephen Stills and Neil Young pragmatically thrown together in response to the success of Wind on the Water, an album by former CSN&Y'ers David Crosby and Graham Nash. While the album did make some dough (it went gold), Long May You Run is kind of uneven. Mainly because the two split it right down the middle - it's a Young song, then a Stills song, then another Young song...ad infinitum. And those Stills songs can get pretty mind-numbing. Check out track two:

[ mp3 ]: Stephen Stills - Make Love to You

Um, gross. I'll stick with Barry White if I'm looking for that kind of music, especially these days.

Neil's songs are not great, barring the title track. But songs like Midnight On the Bay still have some charm, while the Stills tunes kind of ruin the album. It's like filling a cup with half Pepsi and half Diet Pepsi; it will taste kind of weird, and you're going to get diabetes and have all the calcium sucked from your bones. (I think that's what PepsiMax is trying to accomplish anyway.)

[ mp3 ]: Neil Young - Long May You Run
[ mp3 ]: Neil Young - Midnight On the Bay

Long May You Run is a classic, undeniably bright eyed yet nostalgic, the perfect send-off to any old friend.  Midnight On the Bay is uncharacteristically funky for Neil, dare I say it's his version of Rupert Holmes' Escape (The Pina Colada Song.) Fun.

Oh yeah - so who did Neil write the song Long May You Run for? Was Conan's plight similar to an old friend, lover, or historical character? Turns out, it was written as an ode to his 1948 Buick Roadmaster, which, as I'm sure you know, is a hearse.

-N.W.

PS - lala has mis-credited this record as a Neil Young solo joint. They are mistaken.
2/18/2010 06:22:51 am

I actually think you were upwards of 200 miles away from your data at the time. Didn't you watch that DVRed at our house?

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2/18/2010 07:14:24 am

That's right! I totally forgot. I guess it's because i consider your place a second home...I'll update the post...and hope to see you guys this weekend (i may be headed down to DC again)

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2/18/2010 07:23:06 am

UPDATED! Good looking out! (we are sticklers for journalistic integrity here at dadsrecords.net and apologize for the mis-informed post. The author has been released from his contract)

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