Oh, Neil Young.
It’s the name on everyone’s lips in 2022. The musical icon made a major statement this year when he posed an ultimatum to the popular streaming platform Spotify saying it was either him or podcaster Joe Rogan, who, Young claimed, was giving out harmful misinformation on his show.
In the wake of that ultimatum, many artists have followed in Young’s footsteps, demanding that their music be taken down from Spotify, including Joni Mitchell and India.Arie.
Young, whose catalog is celebrated for songs like “Heart of Gold,” “My My, Hey Hey” and “Harvest Moon,” is one of the great American musicians. But what did the artist have to say about life and love, the craft of music, and his hopes for the future?
In other words, what did he have to say that was non-Spotify-related? That’s the subject of this inquiry here. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best 29 quotes from Neil Young.
1. “I’m not into organized religion. I’m into believing in a higher source of creation, realizing we’re all just part of nature.”
2. “As you go through life, you’ve got to see the valleys as well as the peaks.”
3. “Rock and roll is here to stay.”
4. “When you’re young, you don’t have any experience—you’re charged up, but you’re out of control. And if you’re old and you’re not charged up, then all you have is memories. But if you’re charged and stimulated by what’s going on around you, and you also have experience, you know what to appreciate and what to pass by.”
5. “If you follow every dream, you might get lost.”
6. “As I get older, I get smaller. I see other parts of the world I didn’t see before. Other points of view. I see outside myself more.”
7. “I’ll never be Bob Dylan. He’s the master.”
8. “One new feature or fresh take can change everything.”
9. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
10. “The ’60s was one of the first times the power of music was used by a generation to bind them together.”
11. “The rockets and the satellites, spaceships that we’re creating now, we’re pollinating the universe.”
12. “Earth is a flower and it’s pollinating.”
13. “It’s cool to go places where working people are happy.”
14. “My music isn’t anything but me. It has jazz in it and rock’n’roll, and it has an urgency to it.”
15. “I can get away with saying a lot of ideas that are young and naive. I’m liberated.”
16. “I’m not into this judgmental, religious-right kind of thing.”
17. “I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started. I just started writing songs. After two songs I just continued to explore it.”
18. “Live music is better.”
19. “The thing about my music is, there really is no point.”
20. “I have so many opinions about everything it just comes out during my music. It’s a battle for me. I try not to be preachy. That’s a real danger.”
21. “When people start asking you to do the same thing over and over again, that’s when you know you’re way too close to something that you don’t want to be near.”
22. “Back then people closed their eyes and listened to music. Today there’s a lot of images that go with the music. A lot of music is crap and it’s all commercial and the images are all trying to sell the record.”
23. “I don’t think I’m a thorn in the industry, I’m just another part of it.”
24. “Commitments are one of the worst things to have in the music business. They’re very annoying.”
25. “I just wrote one song at a time. Kinda like an alcoholic. One day at a time.”
26. “I don’t like to be labeled, to be anything. I’ve made the mistake before myself of labeling my music, but it’s counter-productive.”
27. “Something comes along and you have to jump on and do it. You can’t stop until it’s done.”
28. “I don’t think that one day really relates to the next day in life.”
29. “When the punk thing came along and I heard my friends saying, I hate these people with the pins in their ears. I said, Thank God, something got their attention.”
Photo: Daryl Hannah / Warner Records