Photo by Daniel Root
Today, Neil Young delivers Official Release Series #4 as a box set.
And there's an East Village connection to this four-LP/CD collection of Young's music from the 1980s.
Gracing the cover is a photo of Young that East Village-based photographer Daniel Root shot in 1988 at the long-gone venue The World on Avenue C and Second Street. (Read more about The World in this article.)
How did this selection happen?
"Neil picked it from their files," Root told me. "I suggested alternatives, but they said once he picked it, that was it."
I asked Root a few questions about all this, starting with the night he took the photos.
What I remember about the night was the packed house and the decrepit state of the place. It looked like the balcony and/or the chandelier could come down at any minute. Don’t remember much about the music except for the taping horn section and Neil’s wonderfully unhinged solos, but that’s usual for me when I shoot live shows and music videos. I’m listening for the "form of the music" more than the music itself. When I say form I mean I listening for "here comes a solo, here comes the big finish, group interaction, last song of the encore is about done and get ready for the big group hug/wave/smile."
And on the selection process...
The amount of luck and happenstance that got all this together is somewhat amazing. Shot in 1988, the stock photo house that represented my music photos sent them to him. They sent back most of them but kept some. The Neil Young Archives found them in the drawer when they decided to put out a 1980s collection and he picked that one.Thankfully the slide was still stamped with my name and phone, and thankfully none of that had changed. They had to clean it because it was in a drawer for 35 years but they did a great job.The release date was pushed back three times over two years. I started thinking it wasn't going to happen.
Previously on EV Grieve: