Glasgow in the seventies: Remembering when Neil Young went busking on the streets of Glasgow

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Neil Young in Glasgow really was one of those things you had to be there to believe - for those that weren't there here's the next best thing!

Neil Young has always been a man of the people, but a little known fact about him is that when he arrived in Glasgow on his 1976 tour of Japan and Europe, he went out busking on the streets.

Before appearing at The Apollo with his band Crazy Horse later that evening, Young took to the streets with his banjo and harmonica to meet locals and entertain them with a couple of tunes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Director Murray Grigor, cinematographer David Peat, and a local film crew had been hired by Young to document his headline show with it also being the perfect time to capture the spirit of Glaswegians and the city during the mid-seventies.

Supplied

Speaking about the experience of documenting Young's visit to Glasgow, David Peat told Online Culture: “The irony is that neither Murray or myself were particularly knowledgeable about the rock world, and we knew little of this guy Neil Young. So we turned up at the airport in sports jackets and ties to meet him.” When Young eventually arrived in Glasgow after missing flights from London to Glasgow, he instructed the film crew that he wanted some "funky s*** footage.” He was interested in closing himself away in a hotel room, but instead wanted to fully embrace Glasgow and its people. After Young and the band arrived at the Albany Hotel on Bothwell Street which was a hotspot for stars back in the sixties and seventies, the film crew didn't get off to best start as one of the band members set fire to the paper table decorations in the penthouse of the hotel.

Young then headed out on to the streets and politely asked a local for directions saying: “Excuse me, could you tell me where the Bank of Scotland is?” before he headed for Glasgow Central Station to see if anybody would recognise him as he performed "The Old Laughing Lady" sitting down on Gordon Street with his deerstalker hat on.

The reaction from Glaswegians was a bit mixed however with one commenting, "They're a lot of rubbish! They should get done, they should get the jail!"

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With not a single smartphone in sight, another said: "That's him there. It's not bad, but he'd be better with a PA system!"

Later that evening, the Canadian singer would open his set at The Apollo with the song sung on Gordon Street as he performed a 19-song setlist that featured songs such as "After the Gold Rush", "Heart of Gold" and "Cinnamon Girl".

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.