Here are two interviews with Neil Young that were made fifteen years ago but apparently have just been released by the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville. Both videos are noted as having been “recorded in the Masterlink Studio in Nashville, TN on June 29, 2005.”
In this first interview (it doesn’t really “reveal the secrets to hit records”), Neil gives credit to musicians who are often seen as less important than the “front men” in bands, including studio groups and arrangers. Listen to why he thought Jimi Hendrix was the greatest guitar innovator of the era. And he gives huge credit to the underappreciated J. J. Cale. Young obviously has a percipient take on rock music, able to suss out influences that the rest of us can’t. I have to say that he’s a lot more articulate than I thought given his reputation as a wild man.
If you want to hear the first fuzz tone in rock mentioned by Neil, the relevant Marty Robbins song, “Don’t Worry” is here, and the fuzz tone appears at 1:27.
And here’s the second part about what instruments and accoutrements Young uses. There’s a lot of technical stuff here, but I still find it interesting, especially how the musicians swapped guitars.