Remembering Neil Young’s Stunning ‘Old Man’ Live at the BBC in 1971

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Remembering Neil Young’s Stunning ‘Old Man’ Live at the BBC in 1971

neil young
Neil Young. Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Getty Images. 

We’re remembering one of the finest of Neil Young live performances in the archives with his stunning rendition of Old Man live at the BBC in 1971.  

The stripped-back, in-studio session saw the Young switch between guitar, harmonica and piano as he unveiled a few “new songs” at the time, including Heart of Gold, A Man Needs a Maid and Old Man – which would all feature on his classic 1972 album, Harvest.

Harvest was one of Neil Young’s most beloved cuts, as he solidified his solo singer-songwriter status, haven risen to prominence as a member of both Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with a collection of autobiographical works.

One shining example being Old Man. As Young explains in the video below, he wrote the song for the caretaker of Broken Arrow Ranch who he met upon his first inspection of the Northern California property that he purchased in 1970 and lived in for almost five decades.

As far as Neil Young performances go, it doesn’t get much better than this! Enjoy his heavenly rendition of Old Man for an entirely captivated BBC audience below! 

Neil Young | Old Man [Live at the BBC, 1971]

In a 2005 interview, Young recalled the story of meeting Broken Arrow Ranch caretaker back in 1970. “Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep," Young said. "He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, ‘Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?’ And I said, ‘Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.’ And I wrote this song for him."

The last couple of years have seen Young share a number of unreleased projects from his extensive vault, including 1975’s lost album, Homegrown and a number of live albums. 

Earlier this year, he announced Carnegie Hall 1970, the first of his new Neil Young Official Bootleg Series, will be available on double vinyl, double CD and High Res Digital on Friday, October 1st. Pre-order, here. 

Carnegie Hall 1970 was recorded on December 4th, 1970 and marks the first time Neil ever walked onstage at the iconic venue. It's the first of six albums in the series, to be arriving throughout the year. See below. 


neil young carnegie hall


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