Neil Young – Long May You Run

Neil wrote “Long May You Run” in tribute to Mort, his old 1948 Buck Roadmaster hearse.

Neil Young and his band The Squires posing with his hearse Mort (a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse Neil had nicknamed Mortimer Hearseburg) in Winnipeg, Manitoba in April 1965

“It had rollers for the coffin in the back, so we just rolled our our amps in and out. It was like they built it for us”  The hearse broke down in Blind River in 1965 where Neil refused to abandon the hearse for two days until he finally gave up.

He soon bought another hearse, Mort Two, which Stephen Stills spotted him driving  in Los Angeles in 1966 when Buffalo Springfield was formed.

Neil would later pay tribute to the original Mort in his song Long May You Run, the title track of The Stills-Young Band album. The album was released in 1976 and peaked at #26 in the Billboard Album Charts, #26 in Canada, and #12 in the UK.

Neil and Stephen Stills toured on this album and Mr. Young decided to leave tour abruptly. He did leave Stills a note: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

The song charted in 1993 from MTV’s Unplugged…it peaked at #34 in the Mainstream Rock Song charts and #28 in Canada.

From Songfacts

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

Stills is a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

In addition to Young’s compilation album Decade this also appears on his 1993 album Unplugged

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Neil Young performed this song at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to a rousing ovation of Canadian audience members.

Long May You Run

We’ve been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift on the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys have got you now
With those waves singing “Caroline”
Rollin’ down that empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Neil Young – Long May You Run

Always a favorite Neil Young song of mine. This was the title song on the joint album by Neil Young and Stephen Stills. Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

It was going to be a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young album but Crosby and Nash to leave for a while for commitments. Stills and Young scrubbed the tapes clean of any contributions made by their bandmates and resolved to keep the album a Stills-Young release. It would end up being credited to the Stills-Young Band.

Stills and Young toured on the album but after a few dates…Neil Young abruptly left the tour and sent a telegram to Stills…“Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

The song did chart in the UK at #71 in 1976.

 

From Songfacts

Neil’s beloved Pontiac hearse, “Mort” (a.k.a. “Mortimer Hearseburg”), was the inspiration for this song. Neil drove “Mort” from Toronto to Los Angeles, where he met Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield.

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills is a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

In addition to Young’s compilation album Decade this also appears on his 1993 album Unplugged

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Neil Young performed this song at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to a rousing ovation of Canadian audience members. 

 

 

Long May You Run

We’ve been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift on the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys have got you now
With those waves singing “Caroline”
Rollin’ down that empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.