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Thanks for that. I knew Bowie would be in there. Here is what Neil said in MOJO 1994:

"I loved Hunky Dory. It was a real songwriter's record. I love the sound of that record still. Quicksand was a particularly big one for me. I liked the fact that his lyrics were more abstract than any I'd heard before. There was a real mystery to it and also he was slightly gender-challenging. I found that deeply mysterious, because I hadn't experienced anything like that in my home town Te Awamutu."
I want to point out that this list is Neil's list of his favorites, but not perhaps inclusive to the song writers who have influenced him the most MUSICALLY.

I can see L&M and Bowie. Notice that Neil says Marley's lyrics have given him "comfort in his dark hours."

But Neil Young??????? Surely NF lists him in paying respect to the great song writer, yet I have never seen much of Young's influence in any of Finn's songs. And I am not too sure that the acoustic guitar part of "Silent House" live is not more Natalie Maines than it is Neil's. (Her writing IS heavily influenced by Neil Young and THAT guitar part got scraped for the version on TOE.)

While I don't see the musical connection between NF and NY, there is one important philosophical and artistic connection that needs to be pointed out: TOE resembles NY's "Tonight's The Night" in that they both celebrate and mourn the passing of a band mate who was a creative influence.

In that respect I can now so totally understand why Neil got CH back together. If you have ever heard TTN and know the story then you know that NY's mourning could only be released with Crazy Horse as NF's could only be with CH. (TTN IMHO is one of the strongest statements that has ever been created in pop music and is also one of the strongest "concept albums" ever.)

If you want to name a musical connection that NF has with another songwriter that seems to be consistently overlooked then that name would be Justin Hayward!
quote:
But Neil Young??????? Surely NF lists him in paying respect to the great song writer, yet I have never seen much of Young's influence in any of Finn's songs. And I am not too sure that the acoustic guitar part of "Silent House" live is not more Natalie Maines than it is Neil's. (Her writing IS heavily influenced by Neil Young and THAT guitar part got scraped for the version on TOE.)


Hey Songwriter,
I have to disagree about the Neils. I think the influence of Neil Young's work on Neil Finn is pretty strong actually. A few things jump to mind:
1. the release created by minor-key verse transition to major-key chorus (NY examples: "Like A Hurricane"; "Old Man"... NF examples: "I Got You"; "Nails In My Feet", "Hole In The Ice")
2. innovative, truly memorable melodies (so many examples for both Neils)
3. the way NF plays electric guitar - such a NY influence to my ears (check out "In My Command"; "You Can Touch"; and yeah "Silent House")
Thoughts?
quote:
Hey Songwriter,
I have to disagree about the Neils. I think the influence of Neil Young's work on Neil Finn is pretty strong actually. A few things jump to mind:
1. the release created by minor-key verse transition to major-key chorus (NY examples: "Like A Hurricane"; "Old Man"... NF examples: "I Got You"; "Nails In My Feet", "Hole In The Ice")
2. innovative, truly memorable melodies (so many examples for both Neils)
3. the way NF plays electric guitar - such a NY influence to my ears (check out "In My Command"; "You Can Touch"; and yeah "Silent House")
Thoughts?



1. Too commmon of an idea to say that it came JUST from Neil Young. The list of songs that uses this technique would include many great song writers.
2. L&M&H write MUCH more memorable melodies than NY. I see an influence there as has been noted for years.
3. "Silent House" Stowe School version I have already discussed. That version didn't make it to the album. So NF can sound like NY on guitar for one song? That to me is not much of an influence.

Let's comment on some differences shall we.

A. Other than "Silent House" (Natalie Maines) I see no acoustic guitar work by NF that echoes NY's playing style.

B. NY has written tons of acoustic songs that are country folk or folk country. I can't name any song of NF's that is in that vein. (A NF song being played in Nashville? "I don't think so Tim.")

C. NY is a literal writer of lyrics - you always have an idea what he is talking about. NF by his own admission in many interviews likes to take you somewhere else - like "holding my platic gun" in a song about faithful love"????? Or, just look at the stream of conscience style in DDIO. What are the topics NF is talking about:

Freedom - inside and out
Battles
Eternal love
Towing a car
Indifference to what is happening to others in the world
Eternal love again
Shadows getting release?

I can't name a NY stream of conscience song. His lyrics are LITERAL. You KNOW what he is talking about in "Expecting to Fly", or "I am a Child," or "Ohio" or "From Hank to Hendrix", or "Cortez the Killer". Contrast that to a couple of tunes on TOE that no one can seem to make out what the heck NF is talking about. (And I still don't believe the "accepted" forum translation for "Never be the Same".)

D. Choice of intruments: (I add this here because what you play influences what you write and this is much greater than non song writers understand.) NF's Vox is a definite Beatles influence. He plays Maton acoustics in contrast to NY's love of Martins which is well known (D-18, Hank Williams' D-28). While they both play Les Pauls, the sound is VERY different, with NY's "Old Black" being as responsible for grunge as NY is.

E. NY uses guitar tunings in a much greater frequencey than NF does. (NY has recorded probably 70 songs in alternative tunings.)


I could go on, but that's a rough start to their differences. I see much more influence of L&M&H, Justin Hayward, and Bowie on Neil than I do Neil Young.
Thanks for the reply Songwriter; knew I could count on you. Wink

I find this quite interesting. I agree with most of what you've said here. For example, Lennon/McCartney are clearly huge influences on Neil; more so than Neil Young perhaps. I can't comment on Justin Hayward as I haven't yet heard his stuff. But I'm willing to take your word on that one.

But you haven't convinced me I'm wrong about Neil Young's influence.

Let's see:

Regarding the minor-key verse to major-key chorus you said:
"1. Too commmon of an idea to say that it came JUST from Neil Young. The list of songs that uses this technique would include many great song writers."
You're right - a common technique. L/M used it well and often, as did Harrison, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Ray Davies, Sting, etc. You could come up with a better list than me.
But my point about it was how both Neil's use this transition to create an emotional release. Sometimes pairing it with a transition in the lyric.
To wit, Neil Young's "Like A Hurricane": the minor-key verses filled with dreamers, dreams, and hazy bars... transition to major-key chorus and a big powerful moment:
"You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eyes"
So while he didn't invent this technique, he uses it to augment an already powerful transition moment. LAH is just one example.
And Neil Finn takes advantage of that technique - pairing minor to major shifts with lyrical 180's. A great example is "Nails In My Feet". Minor verses filled with uncomfortable, slightly sinister imagery: "strange hypnotic state"; "no connection"; "savage review". And then the moment of crystalization - the major chorus:
"Who is that calling?
You my companion
Run through the water on a burning beach
And it brings me relief."
...relief indeed!

There are many such moments in the catalogues of both Neils. And I just see it as a unique influence.

I'll try to respond to your other points too. Gotta go!!

-RB
hey Romer, hey Rox,

come to think of it, the song "Roxanne" is an example of a minor-key verse to major-key chorus transition. on average how many times a week do people sing that song to you? i feel i could make an educated guess.

well i had to settle my daughter down - and check the forum. now then: a slowly cooling beach just after sunset awaits in my dreams.

bye.

RB
Songwriter I'd always thought Neil Young might be an influence on NF, even before I'd read it anywhere. I don't agree with you - I think there are definitely similarities/evidence of said influence.

Take for example 'After The Gold Rush', as an album - the melodies and harmonies sound very 'Finn Brother-esque', I think 'Tell Me Why' has a very Woodface feel to it. I think some of NF's piano ballads also owe something to Neil Young – for example actual song 'After The Gold Rush'.

These two songs also offer good examples of 'stream of consciousness' lyrics. NY was by no means always literal or direct.

And as for Neil Finn never writing country tinged songs? What about ‘Time Immemorial’ (Afterglow) or 'Land Torments The Sea' (EIH Vissconti Sessions), or 'Boat Joyride' ('Rain' Soundtrack). A friend of heard this latter song and his exclamation was 'Is this Neil Young'?
Welsh Dan,

I am sorry, I just don’t see it.

When someone says that there is an influence of a certain artist on another, it should be something that most people can recognize and agree on. There are many people in this forum, and many music critics as well who have commented on the Beatlesque style of CH.

http://frenzforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/7601061171/m/6...611040204#6611040204

I have never read any review of anyone saying that NF stuff sounds like Neil Young.

In your examples let’s take “Tell Me Why”. There is nothing in NF’s repertoire that even resembles the playing styles of the dueling Martins of Young and Stills in that song. Nor do I hear any of NY VERY unique style of playing acoustic guitar in any of NF’s songs.

In addition, many, many folks have commented on how Beatlesque “Weather With You” and “It’s Only Natural” are especially the guitar part in the latter tune. I don’t hear NY in that album at all.

Lyrics?


Well I don’t see that either. In early Bob Dylan, you can hear Woody Gutherie in his lyrics and music. In latter Dylan he was heavily influenced by Verlaine and Rimbaud and once again you can see that. I don’t know what is so different about NY’s lyrics that make him stand out stylistically, but NF is VERY different by his own admission that he takes you somewhere else not expected in his lyrics.

“After the Gold Rush” may be stream of conscience style writing although I have never heard of NY refer to it as such. It seems a very LITERAL story in that song.

Contrast that with DDIO or TAR. In DDIO NF is all over the place with imagery that doesn’t seem related to other imagery in the song. In TAR what does “holding my plastic gun” have to do with a song that is about eternal love? NF's style is to juxtapose ideas and imagery that contrast with each other. I don't see that same juxtaposition in NY lyrics.

As for the three songs that are country in NF’s repertoire that you cite, these are three most obscure songs, hardly known by finnatics much less by the other population of music lovers that may know of NF’s work. I bet you dollars to euros that you won’t hear them played in Nashville, either in club or airwave. I hardly think that three obscure songs is an “influence”.

In very broad terms, both men write songs with deep emotional value – but gee, I could name a dozen other great song writers who do so too. None of that is enough to say that NY has influenced NF directly.

If you think you see this influence, fine, but I’ll be waiting for the music reviewer who says, “The latest work by Neil Finn is influenced by Neil Young” and this influence is clear for all to see.
On the Neil Young thing, I have this great book by Debbie Kruger called "Songwriters Speak," which is just a huge compendium of various songwriters talking about the muse of their songs - how, when and why they wrote certain things. And for what it's worth, Neil Finn is one of the interviewees and the article states that a teenaged Neil Finn was "transfixed by the guitar-playing singer-songwriters of the early seventies such as Neil Young, Carole King, James Taylor and Donovan." So while he doesn't sound anything like Neil Young (as he doesn't sound anything like any of the other artists listed above), maybe he was influenced by the "idea" and/or approach to songwriting of Neil Young? The singer-songwriter laying it all bare with just his trusty guitar. Just my $0.02.
quote:
Originally posted by Welsh Dan:
Songwriter, there's no need to get so wound up, man! So we disagree as to whether Neil Young is an influence on our beloved NF! I clearly think he is, you clearly think he isn't, well I guess we'll just have to 'agree to disagree'.

(Retires into the gloom to listen to both artsist, muttering..)


Welsh Dan,

I am not "so wound up" - merely laying out my case as logically as I can make it. I think Hexed has hit the nail on the head, you can be influenced in a general overall way without being directly influenced by a particular artist.

Neil Young, Paul Simon, Justin Hayward, Robert Zimmerman, The Beatles, and many others have influenced me, but you would be hard pressed to see that influence in one of my songs. Yet, the Beatlesque sound of CH is very well known and recognized by many. I struggle to see a like influence by NY on NF that one can see that is apparent as say NY's influence on Natalie Maines.

I think NF respects NY. Remember, the list that started this whole thread was a list of NF's "favorite" songwriters, not a list of those who have influenced him the most.
I'm going to chime in again. what the hay!

My second point was about melodies - both Neils choose unpredictable ear-catching melodies... i.e., don't settle on what might seem to fit over a series of changes.

NY: "Needle And The Damage Done" (tell me that's an ordinary melody); "Harvest"; "After The Gold Rush" ("all in a dream, all in a dream, the loading had begun") "The Loner"; ""Harvest Moon"; "Razor Love"; "Lotta Love"; "Mellow My Mind", and on and on.

NF: "Wherever You Are"; "Four Seasons In One Day"; "Walking On The Spot"; "She Called Up"; "Don't Dream Its Over"; "Nails In My Feet"; "I Feel Possessed"; "Faster Than Light", and on and on.

Melody is king. The Neils never take the easy road; they respect its nobility, and our ears.
quote:
Originally posted by Songwriter:
Neil Young, Paul Simon, Justin Hayward, Robert Zimmerman, The Beatles, and many others have influenced me, but you would be hard pressed to see that influence in one of my songs.


Aren't you contradicting yourself there? The fact is that these artists have influenced you, and you said so yourself. Whether it is all that obvious in that you sound like them or not, is besides the point. You are still, by your own admission, influenced by these artists.

Similarly, Neil Finn would have been influenced by Neil Young. He doesn't sound like him though, but that doesn't mean you could claim that Young had little musical influence.

I think you're stuck on the technical idea of what "musical influence" is, believing it is a certain method of chord progressions, or a certain vocal singing method or what not. For me, it would be simply an approach to making music, be it singing or recording, or writing. Neil (Finn) has admitted many times that he relies on his subconscious when writing, and doesn't sound like he approach things with all the methodic attention of which "adding a minor third here", etc (which they have previously attributed to be Froom's approach, and had been all mightily impressed). When someone works in that method, then surely a "musical influence" would also be along those lines of subconscious influence, as opposed to a methodic, "school of rock", "this chord follows that chord", "sing like this and not that" influence.

Afterall, how many people would claim to be musically influenced by Dylan? Just about all of them. And how many can you say truly sound anything like him?
Akijook,

So if you had heard something that I wrote, and I did not tell you that Young, Simon, Zimmerman and the Beatles influenced me - how would you know??????????? If you cannot hear the influence in the music and or words you cannot ASSUME that someone has been influenced by another writer.


Remember, the ORIGINAL thread start was Neil's favorite song writers. Not the ones who have influenced him.
Songwriter - I would know when you tell me that they are some of your favourite songwriters. As Neil has.

We're influenced by everything around us, and especially so by people that you admire. When these people are in your same field of work, you would bet your bottom dollar that you are influenced in one way or another. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to sound like them. Influence does not mean imitation.

Neil (Finn) has covered "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" on his webcast. And that song sounded quite fitting of him. Why is that?

And he recently did "Old Man" too. I haven't heard that, but I can imagine it sounding quite natural for him.

Look, I agree that musically, Neil and Neil are very different. I'm just trying to express the idea that your biggest "musical influence" does not necessarily mean who you sound the most like.

For example, you mentioned Justin Hayward. I don't know if you are claiming this, but it seems like you're suggesting that he is likely to have influenced Neil. Or that you can only claim someone is an influence if they sound like them. Has Neil mentioned Hayward before? (genuine question, I don't know). Or are you assuming that there is an influence simply because they write melodies and lyrics in a similar way? Is that any wiser than judging who has "influenced" an artist by who he/she considers to be his favourite songwriters?
"Musical influences" has always meant influences that you can hear or influences that the artist says that they have.

ANYTHING ELSE IS CONJECTURE AT BEST.

Was the early Bob Dylan influenced by Woody Guthrie? Ab so lute ly. You can HEAR IT. AND he said that Woody was an influence.

Has Neil Finn been inluenced by the Beatles? Ab so lute ly! You can hear it, and once again, Neil has stated that he and Tim grew up playing Beatles music.

If you want to say that everyone has been influenced by everyone else, then fine, but that is not the usage of "musical influences" that is common practice. If you want to make that claim, then I could claim that MOST POP WRITERS OF THE LAST 50 years OWE A HUGE DEBT to John Dowland and the English school of song writers and lutenists.

But since most pop writers have never heard of Dowland making such a claim is absurd.
It's funny about influences. I don't know much Damien Rice, but my nephew and I were playing some acoustic guitar together, and he started playing the song "Cannonball". I didn't know it but the changes and melody are SO Neil Young - Em, G, Csus, D/F#, Am7, D etc. Pure Neil.

Then I thought of Neil Young singing it. Interesting. Then I thought what Neil Finn song could Neil Young throw into his set? Interesting. Kind of turning the tables a bit.

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