Neil Young’s brother Bob debuts his first song at 78

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Neil Young’s older brother, Bob, has released his debut single, Hey America, inspired by watching Donald Trump on television several years ago.

The song arrived ahead of next week’s election day (3 November), encouraging Americans “give love a chance” and “set [their] liberty free”. Backing up Bob Young was his brother Neil on harmonica and vocals, as well as backing band The Peterboroughs.

Take a listen below.

In a press release for the song, the elder Young explained that he “didn’t set out to become a songwriter and singer at 78 years of age” but that the song instead came out as “an organic event”.

“I was watching Donald Trump on TV a couple of years ago and wrote down a few lines. When I got home, I found I could play those lines on guitar,” he explained. “Gradually, it became what it is now.”

Although his younger brother Neil is a celebrated folk icon – with 40 studio albums and several Grammy awards under his belt – the experience of writing and recording is very new to Bob Young.

“I had never done that either,” he admitted. “It was a band performance that had spontaneity.”

“In another session, some vocal harmony was added, and Neil played harmonica. My perspective is simultaneously that of a participant and spectator. I am watching myself do this.”

Bob ended his statement with a message to all the “ageing baby boomers out there” like himself.

“Give it a shot,” he encouraged. “As Yogi Berra put it, ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over, and even then it ain’t over.’ I agree. I have more songs, all from the same creative spark.”

The music video for Hey America was put together by Neil Young’s wife, actress Daryl Hannah and filmmaker CK Vollick. Post-production methods – implemented to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines – were used to make it appear as though three people were singing side-by-side.

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