I’m gonna have to tip the Honesty Box here and admit I knew the Pixies version of Winterlong before I knew it was a Neil Young song. Sorry Dad.
In my defense. That searing guitar line could be all Joey Santiago’s own work if you’re familiar with early Pixies records. It takes Frank and Kimmy to harmonize to get close to Neil’s own *ahem* inimitable* vocal style and it works so well as a duet I didn’t smell a rat back in the days of knowing this as a Pixies B-Side first and a Classic Rock Song second.
When I think of songs I’ve discovered as covers and how they’ve been a gateway to me understanding the work of artist who has gone before, the two biggies for me are Dylan and Young. I couldn’t get past their voices as a youth. That put me off listening to them seriously.
Then all the bands I did like kept paying them dues. With Dylan it’s impossible to avoid his songs. Mainstream artists, metal bands and every variant of alternative you can think of has brought you some Bob songs over the years. There’s always someone on hand to tell you all about it too. Usually a guy like me who spends more time talking about music than just listening to it. Running around parties, offices and at large in the real world laying out their encyclopedic knowledge of music trivia like a cloak in a puddle of ditty based ignorance. Wankers.
With Neil Young though. He’s almost just as prevalent. He’s been covered by heartfelt minstrels with their acoustic guitars, by coy Lolita’s with berets and synth back beats, by Grunge titans and by jobbing buskers looking to turn a few coins into a fire for the evening.
“I waited for you, Winterlong you seem to be where I belong. It’s all illusion anyway. If things should ever turn out wrong. And all the love we have is gone, It won’t be easy on that day. Waiting to follow. Through the dreamlight of your way. Is not so easy for me now. Half the time has passed away”