Neil Young – Handwritten Lyric Manuscript For “Bad Fog of Loneliness”

Neil Young’s handwritten lyric manuscript for his song “Bad Fog of Loneliness”, which appears on his albums Live at Massey Hall 1971, Live at the Cellar Door, the box set Archives, Vol 1: 1963-1972, and his Red Rocks DVD.

On the Massey Hall album Young introduces the song explaining “A while ago I was going to do the Johnny Cash show, and I wrote a song especially for it, when I was going to be doing it.  But then after I wrote the song they cancelled me.  But later on they hired me again, and I’m going to be on the show.  We’re going to tape it on the 4th or 10th of February.  There’s going to be James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.  Anyway, I’m not going to do that song on the show–it’s real old now.  I was going to do it with Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three.

The provenance of this manuscript is exceptional, having come from Neil’s longtime associate Joel Bernstein (who worked with Young as both his and CSNY’s tour photographer, and photographed him for eighteen of his album covers, including After The Gold Rush, Harvest, Time Fades Away, Tonight’s The Night, Decade and Rust Never Sleeps.  On various tours from 1973-1993, he also worked with Neil as his guitar technician; and served as his archivist for 20 years.)

Bernstein’s accompanying letter of authenticity notes this is  Young’s “original first state handwritten lyric manuscript, written with two different pens, at two different times, in both of Neil’s writing styles, all caps (first verse and bridge) and cursive (second verse).”  He explains this song was written to his “then-new-girlfriend, Carrie Snodgrass, at (Neil’s) Broken Arrow Ranch…in November 1970.”  He notes the first known performance was at the Cellar Door on November 30, which appears on the live album; mentions a minor lyric variation, and explains the lyrics were written on the cover for a test pressing of Arlo Guthrie’s Washington County LP.

Bernstein notes “This record sleeve was included with a number of sheets of lyric manuscripts, mostly in legal pads, from this period that Neil gave to Graham Nash, who was already interested in collecting such things at the time.  A few years later, I reviewed those sheets, sleeved them and identified them for him; he was unaware of the song, which I’d identified; and he gave me the sleeve since I knew what it was, and it meant little to him compared to the better-known songs.  Much later, in 1990, I became Neil’s archivist and we were eventually able to include an image of this lyric manuscript, as well as many others from Graham’s collection, in Neil’s Archives Volume 1 release in 2009.”

Neil Young owns most of his original lyric manuscripts and to our knowledge only one other has been offered for sale publicly. A museum-quality Neil Young collectible with exceptional provenance.  (Included is a copy of the Live At Massey Hall 1971 LP, and Bernstein’s letter of authenticity.)

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