Young Neil is a detailed chronological narrative of the early life of iconic Canadian musician Neil Young. Exploring a time in this
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s life that has yet to be documented with such depth of research, Young Neil is an exhaustive document of his “Sugar Mountain” years, from 1945 to 1966. From his birth in Toronto through his school years in Florida, Ontario, and Manitoba, the book examines the development of Young’s unique talent against a backdrop of shifting postwar values, a turbulent family history, and a musical revolution in the making. Includes many previously unseen photos, memorabilia, and set lists.
A supremely compelling chronicle of Young's first 20 years. Wilson, who painstakingly tracked down childhood friends and early bandmates, recounts Young's often difficult upbringing -- from his parents' divorce to the challenges he faced changing schools as he moved from town to town with his mother -- as he relentlessly pursues his musical dreams and develops his songwriting voice.
Across 400 pages dense with new testimony, this is a fascinating portrait of a life taking shape, a hugely detailed account of the first 20 years of Young's life. . . . Wilson has clearly spent long hours in national and provincial newspaper archives, scoured town and city files, school records and yearbooks, and gleaned much from local historical societies. Wilson also interviewed more than 150 people who knew Neil when he was growing up, and whose memories are often splendidly evocative.
Allan Jones, Uncut
Surely no book has offered more insight and depth regarding Young's formative years as Sharry Wilson's impressive and exhaustive Young Neil. . . . What could so easily be a dry narrative is brought to life by Wilson's impressive access and a novelist's feel for language. Young Neil rips along at a fast pace, and you feel as if you're there as Young struggles with the breakdown of his parents' marriage and finds his musical feet. . . . Eye-witness interviews, accompanied by some superb archive images, help make this a book that's as much essential social history as it is musical biography. For those who pore over Young's career, this is an essential purchase.
Joe Minihane, Record Collector
Wilson's debut work chronicles the formative years of 1945 to 1966 of Toronto-born guitarist singer/songwriter Neil Young. Using first-hand accounts from Young's family and friends, she meticulously recounts Young's childhood and teen years, focusing on the people and events that influenced his musical growth. . . . Enriched with more than 100 photos, this is a book written by a true fan for true fans.
Young Neil is the definitive account of Neil Young's childhood. Meticulous research, fantastic photos, and beautifully told by Sharry Wilson. Clearly this is a labor of love. Had this book been around when I wrote Shakey I would've stolen plenty!
Jimmy McDonough, author of the bestselling biography Shakey
Having covered Neil Young for a good portion of his career, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the man and his music. I was wrong. Sharry Wilson's book, marked by enormous depth of study and research, opens windows into Young's early life and creative development I never knew existed. After absorbing the many unveiled facts and stories, as well as a treasure trove of rare photos, readers will gain a deeper understanding of one of the greatest artists of our time.
Dave Zimmer, author of Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography and editor of 4-Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader
Look out, Mama! Sharry Wilson has an historian's eye for detail and a longtime fan's love for her subject. The result is this exhaustive portrait of a young Neil Young: a gifted but restless child caught in the swirling confusion of postwar conformism, Cold War anxiety, and a 'shakey' family life. Featuring a multitude of tales even this lifelong devotee has never heard, Young Neil reads as a treasure trove for anyone looking to get to know more about the great Canadian trickster in all his pre-ragged glory.
Stuart Henderson, author of Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s
Sharry Wilson's impeccably researched and written, beautifully illustrated Young Neil is the definitive chronicle of a Canadian icon's early years in his home and native land. Essential reading for diehard Neil Young fans, this book offers a lovingly detailed portrait of Canadian life in the middle of the 20th century, and of a sensitive young man who put his music above all else.
Kevin Chong, author of Neil Young Nation and Northern Dancer
A compelling look at the first 20 years of Neil Young's life as he sets out on his journey to find a heart of gold. Sharry Wilson not only takes us on Neil's voyage but also uncovers life in the 40s, 50s, and 60s in Ontario and Manitoba. A wonderful study of one of the world's great artists, written with passion and an obvious love for her subject.
Bernie Finkelstein, author of True North: A Life in the Music Business
Really enjoyed the book -- especially the early years prior to Winnipeg -- fun strolling down memory lane.
Ken Smyth, drummer, The Squires
Young Neil is a must read for any Neil Young fan. This well-researched book is the starting point for any future biographies about Young.
Jonathan Richstein, Sundial Books