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Music

The musician Neil Young called "the master"

@josephtaysom

Neil Young has been making an indelible mark on music ever since he hit the road for California in his hearse with nothing but a guitar and a suitcase full of clothes. Whether through his one-man mission to take down the industry, or his sheer magic with the pen, Young remains an inescapable presence.

When the Canadian first broke free from the shackles of CSNY after going solo, he suddenly found himself anointed as the next Bob Dylan. This tag is impossible to live up to, but anybody who showed a glimmering of folk influence had it thrust upon them. However, Young deftly dealt with this praise and announced himself as an original.

He’s been an immovable force and an inspiration to millions, but even Young admits that he’s not “the master” of his artform. Instead, he credits that accolade to the man he was formerly likened to when trying to establish himself.

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It’s hard to come up with any logical reason to deny Dylan remains the pinnacle. However, his stock had fallen in 1988 when he began his ‘Never Ending Tour’, and Young was there to join him on the debut date of the run to offer him a helping hand when his confidence was in a thousand shattered pieces.

Perhaps Dylan’s superhuman ability to beat adversity is another reason he remains “the master” and an artist that Young holds in the highest regard, not solely in a musical sense. Young made the glowing admission during an interview with Time in 2005 when the troubadour’s name cropped up in conversation. “He’s the master. If I’d like to be anyone, it’s him. And he’s a great writer, true to his music and done what he feels is the right thing to do for years and years and years,” he praised.

He continued: “The guy has written some of the greatest poetry and put it to music in a way that it touched me, and other people have done that, but not so consistently or as intensely.”

Meanwhile, Dylan speaks in equally favourable terms about his peer and once said there is “nobody in his category”. Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2007, the singer-songwriter positively remarked: “He’s sincere, and he’s got a God-given talent, with that voice of his, and the melodic strain that runs through absolutely everything he does.”

He continued: “He could be at his most thrashy, but it’s still going to be elevated by some melody. Neil’s the only one who does that. There’s nobody in his category.”

In light of this love-fest, listen below to when these two gargantuan figures performed together for the first time in 1975 at the Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, which helped their friendship beautifully bloom.