Neil Young (born November 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has become one of the most respected and influential musicians of his generation.
Young is recognizable for his high-pitched, nasal voice and for his deeply personal lyrics. Musically, most of Young’s work falls into two distinct styles; the first is an acoustic, country-tinged folk rock, heard on such songs as "Heart of Gold," "Old Man" and "Long May You Run." The other style is a grinding, lumbering form of hard rock, heard on songs like "Cinnamon Girl," "Southern Man" and "Rockin' in the Free World" and often recorded with the backing band Crazy Horse. He has also experimented with soul, swing, jazz and electronica in his widely varied career.
Young came to prominence with folk rock band Buffalo Springfield in the mid-1960s. He reached his commercial peak during the singer-songwriter boom of the early 1970s with the albums After the Gold Rush and Harvest and his role in the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. He has since fiercely refused commercial stardom, which has led him to create both durable, uncompromising music and outlandish experiments that have left critics, audiences and – in one notable case – his record label baffled.
Despite a lack of consistency, though some will say just because of it, Young is a widely influential and acclaimed performer. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the cable music channel VH1's 2000 list of the top 100 artists of rock and roll, he ranked number 30. He was also ranked number 30 on VH1's list of top 100 hard rock artists.
Under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, Young has directed four films, the documentary Journey Through the Past (1974) the concert film Rust Never Sleeps (1979) the fictional Human Highway (1982) and Greendale (2003). He’s also an outspoken advocate for environmental issues and small farmers, has co-founded the benefit concert Farm Aid.