When Neil Young Left Stephen Stills In The Lurch

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The 1976 studio album “Long May You Run” by The Stills-Young Band was a special project that brought two artists, Neil Young, and Stephen Stills, together. It was a remarkable partnership, but it also gave rise to a great deal of conflict between the two. The project’s history was fascinating, with several variables at work that contributed to its musical output.

The only time these singers collaborated as a pair was on this record. Despite having played in bands like Buffalo Springfield and CSNY in the past, they didn’t duplicate this two-member band composition in their subsequent ventures. As a result, the record stands out in their discography as a unique collaboration.

In actuality, the CD was about to evolve into a new band endeavor. After the band broke up in 1974, David Crosby and Graham Nash focused on their careers as a pair instead of joining Stills and Young for the production. The other members of the band eventually removed their comrades’ contributions out of annoyance when they had to leave midway through to concentrate on their record, “Whistling Down the Wire.”

After Crosby and Nash left, Neil and Stephen carried on the project and contributed their own tunes. While they both performed lead vocals on the record, they both also contributed some guitar licks that they swapped, however, they lacked the same ferocity as their earlier guitar battles.

In June 1976, the pair wrapped up the ‘Long May You Run’ recording process, and soon after, they embarked on a pre-release tour. The Stills-Young performances, however, were cut short when Young unexpectedly left the band after nine appearances, citing a sore throat as the reason for his departure. He left his pal a brief telegram that he wanted him to read.

It was written in the message: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach, Neil.”

Neil Young subsequently acknowledged that he ended their joint tour because it wasn’t going well. Stephen Stills was unduly preoccupied with critiques of their performances despite his counsel and cautions, to the point that he accused the tour staff of purposefully sabotaging his performance.

Stephen continued the tour until the album’s September 1976 release. Both reviewers and listeners liked “Long May You Run,” which became a gold hit. Fortunately, their conflict eased with time, even though they never again worked together.


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