Today, November 12, is the birthday of one Neil Young, gifted songwriter, whiny singer, killer guitar player, and longtime Bay Area resident. In celebration of the man's 67th, we rounded up some of the best tributes to him available in the wilds of YouTube. Featuring solo pianos, another titan of songwriting, and some moody almost-electronica, here are five great covers to celebrate Neil Young's birthday.
"After the Gold Rush" -- Thom Yorke
Something about Thom Yorke's nasal warble makes it a perfect instrument to render lyrics meant for Neil Young's own high-pitched snarl. This solo piano cover from Bridge School 2002 is a melancholy gem.
"Old Man" - Bob Dylan
The greatest folk-rock singer-songwriter ever plays tribute to the only man who could give him a run for his money. In this clip from 2002, Dylan and his live band showed Young's classic a muscular airing -- and you can even understand most of what Dylan's singing!
"Into the Black" -- Chromatics
Earlier this year, Chromatics released this excellent cover of "Into the Black," which manages to be faithful to the original yet striking on its own. Glass shards of synth and acres of atmosphere replace the original's in-your-face guitars, but there's more than enough of the mournfulness of Young's version to make it work.
"Cortez the Killer" -- Slint
If anyone in 1989 was going to an incredible cover of this Young classic, it was these progressive indie boys from Louisville. Recorded live in Chicago, this is a testament to both artists' greatness. We miss ya, Slint.
"On the Beach" -- Radiohead
We didn't want to put Yorke on here twice, but we just couldn't help it -- he sings Young better than almost anyone, including Young himself sometimes. That, and "On the Beach" is a classic song from one of Young's best but under-appreciated albums.