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‘Like a Hurricane’: Neil Young, The Crazy Horse and a wind machine, live 1977
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Neil Young
‘Like a Hurricane’: Neil Young, The Crazy Horse and a wind machine, live 1977

Sublime performance clip of Neil Young and Crazy Horse doing one of Young’s greatest numbers, “Like a Hurricane,” on a French TV show called Jukebox in 1977.

Young wrote “Like a Hurricane” for a girl named Gail that he’d met in a bar after his break-up up with actress Carrie Snodgrass.

In Jimmy McDonough’s Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography it quotes Young’s neighbor, Taylor Phelps talking about the song:

Neil had this amazing intense attraction to this particular woman named Gail – it didn’t happen, he didn’t go home with her. We go back to the ranch and Neil started playing. Young was completely possessed, pacing around the room, hunched over a Stringman keyboard pounding out the song.

In 1975, when Neil Young wrote “Like a Hurricane” he was unable to sing, or even speak, due to a recent operation on his throat. His friend, artist James Mazzeo, recalls Young handing him an envelope with just two lines: “You are like a hurricane. There’s a calm in your eyes.” Crazy Horse messed around on the song for ten days before hitting on the inspired take on 1977’s American Stars N Bars album.

Note that Young—one of the greatest guitar players ever born, as this song ably demonstrates—is seen playing his highly customized 1953 Les Paul Goldtop, “Old Black.” I guess the wind machine was meant to stand-in for an actual hurricane or something…

Posted by Richard Metzger
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