Neil Young on songwriting and his favourite songs

He discussed being "petrified" while appearing on The Johnny Cash Show in 1971

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Neil Young has given an extensive new interview with Conan O’Brien, in which he reveals his favourite songs and discusses songwriting.

Young sat down for a two-hour chat for Team Coco Radio, also discussing appearing on TV in the 1960s.

On appearing on The Johnny Cash Show in 1971, he told O’Brien: “You gotta realise, I’m 23-years-old, and I’m going on a television show.


“I was petrified. I was thinking about the song I was going to sing and whether I was going to screw up or not. That’s all I thought about. I don’t really remember much else about it.”

He also discussed appearing as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 1989 where O’Brien was a cast member, with Conan saying: “Lorne Michaels has a saying that ‘television is the worst way to experience music’.

“I think he’s usually right, except something happened that night. It was transcendent and punched through the television. I’m on the floor at 8-H. I’m a kid. I’m in my twenties. I’m watching you do that. The place, you just melted it. I think there was structural damage to 30 Rock. It’s never been quite repaired.”

Listen to the full two-hour interview here and watch segments below.


Late last year, Young said that he will only go on tour again in the future if it can be done completely sustainably.

Earlier this year the singer indicated that he’s not yet ready to play concerts, saying that he doesn’t think it is safe amid the ongoing COVID pandemic.

In a new interview with The New Yorker, Young also said that he’s “not sure I want to” tour again full stop but if he were to change his mind it would have to be a with a completely environmentally sustainable plan.

“I have a plan,” Young said. “I’ve been working on it with a couple of my friends for about seven or eight months. We’re trying to figure out how to do a self-sustaining, renewable tour. Everything that moves our vehicles around, the stage, the lights, the sound, everything that powers it is clean. Nothing dirty with us. We set it up; we do this everywhere we go.

“This is something that’s very important to me, if I’m ever going to go out again… and I’m not sure I want to, I’m still feeling that out. But if I’m ever going to do it, I want to make sure that everything is clean.”

Originally published on NME

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