ESL Video Quiz: Neil Young: Old Man

Quiz by: Sharon Michiko Yoneda
Quiz #: 2863
(ESL Category: listening) Born and raised in Toronto, raised in Winnipeg, Neil Young starts thinking about his early life

Old Man

Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you were
Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you were

Old man look at my life
Twenty-four and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two

Love lost such a cost
Give me things that don't get lost
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you

CHORUS: Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
And you can tell that's true

Lullabies, look in your eyes
Run around the same old town
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you
I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past
But I'm all alone at last
Rolling home to you

CHORUS: Old man take look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through Ah, one look in my eyes
And you can tell that's true

CHORUS: Old man, look at my life
I'm a lot like you were
Old man, look at my life
I'm a lot like you were

songwriter: Neil Young

performed by: Neil Young

date released: 1972 by Neil Young

Neil Percival Young was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1945. His father, Scott Young, was a sports writer who moved his family from Manitoba to Toronto to pursue his career in sport journalism. When the Youngs divorced, Neil's mother moved the children back to Winnipeg where he got his early musical start. Neil Young's literary middle name, "Percival", as one of King Arthur's legendary knights predicted the noblesse oblige in his lifeline.

During high school, Neil Young played in several different rock bands meeting Randy Bachman of The Guess Who along the way. According to anecdotal notes, Bachman tried to teach Young how to play the guitar but was rebuffed for his efforts. Bachman ejected Young from his house and told him to quit the music business and try something else. Nonplussed, Young left Winnipeg and moved to San Francisco where he joined his friend Stephen Stills in his itinerant band, Buffalo Springfield. After the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young and Stephan Stills hitched their musical wagons to one of the superbands of the Woodstock era, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

In the way of many successful bands, CSN&Y parted company, but none of the members found success in solo careers as Neil Young did. With his new band, Crazy Horse, Neil Young released the iconic
album, "Harvest" in 1972 which contained the hit single, "Heart of Gold." The song was written as a result of a back injury where Young was unable to play his electric guitar and returned to his acoustic guitar so he could play sitting down. "Heart of Gold" was a softer, acoustic piece unlike his previous songs of hard-driving rock. In 2005, "Heart of Gold" was named third greatest Canadian song of all time on the CBC Radio One Series, 50 Tracks.

Although many speculated that "Old Man" (1972) was his famous father, Young has since set the record straight. "Old Man" was Louis Avala, the caretaker of his newly-bought ranch in California. In many conversations with his workhand, Young notices that the two had a lot in common, leading to the crucial line: "I'm a lot like you were." During that phase in his life, loneliness was a constant presence and his longing for a companion birthed the line, "That makes me think of two."

In the many iterations of Neil Young, awards and honours were countless. Notably, he was nominated for an Oscar for his song, "Streets of Philadelphia" which was shortened to "Philadelphia" for the film of the same name. When Tom Hanks picked up his Academy Award for Best Actor in 1993, he credited Neil Young's songwriting for the inspiration for his role.

In his career, Juno Awards have visited Young five times as well as the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with two inductions. In 2009, Young was recognized by the Grammy Awards as the 2010 MusiCares person of the year in recognition of his musical accomplishments and philanthropic work.

A poll in music magazines voted Neil Young as ranking Number Nine in "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

Neil Young has received two honourary doctorates from Canadian universities: a Doctorate of Music from Lakehead University in Thunderbay, Ontario, in 1992 and an Honourary Doctorate of Human Letters from San Francisco State University in 2006. These honours undid his early academic failures as a high school dropout.

On a different tangent completely, Neil Young was a part owner in a company that made toy trains and model railroad accessories. With his work with the Lionel company, Young was named co-inventor on seven U.S. Patents related to model trains.

The only honour which has eluded Neil Young to date is investiture into the Order of Canada. Canadian model train enthusiasts would say the Holy Grail is already in the caboose.

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