Neil Young takes you on a trip down memory lane to see what it was like for musicians versus bootleggers in the early 1970's.


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I'm not quite sure why there was a camera "crew" following Young around in 1972. Was he specifically looking for bootleg copies of his work? Did he just want a record of him buying some great music from his peers at local record shops?

Neil Young goes record shopping, finds his own bootlegs 1972


I guess we won't find that out here. What we will see is what happens when an artist finds a bootleg copy of their own work in a record store in 1972 (and I'm sure there have been similar reactions from various musicians throughout the years).



I know the video is almost 15 minutes long, it still holds your attention. If it somehow didn't keep your attention, here's what you missed.

We see a young Young perusing some vinyl at record shop Stereo Cart. He picks up a bootleg copy of a Bob Dylan album and asks the clerk about it. Asking if it's new because he's never seen it before. The clerk then points him to Dylan's newest album (an official release).

Seeing that the clerk didn't pick up on what Young was implying, he goes ahead and grabs two bootlegs and brings them to the counter to question the employee about them. One of them is of Crosby and Nash. The other is Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Young asks the employee where he got them. To which he replies, "I don't know. Miles buys them, I don't buy them." Young asks, "your boss buys them?" The employee nods his head. Then he states, "It's a new Crosby and Nash album," as if he didn't know. The employee says that it's not new, but a recording.


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Young then grabs the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album that he's on, and further questions the employee about what he thinks about bootlegs. He says he doesn't listen to records, strictly tapes. The employee starts to catch on that he's questioning the illegal selling of other people's work, and refuses to give names of the owner.

I'm gonna take it

Then it gets better when Young writes a message and his phone number on a piece of paper for the guys boss to call him, and he takes the record that he's on out of the store. The employee tries to tell him he can't, and if he does he'll call the cops. Young says, "Call the cops," and walks out of the door.

The guy ultimately follows him outside, saying he can't just take the record because he doesn't know exactly what's going on. They chat for a bit more, and settle on Young being able to talk to the owner on the phone.

They go back inside, and the employee is able to get someone else that isn't the owner, but will know what's going on with the bootlegs, on the phone. That person and Young chat and he's given permission to take what's rightfully his.

You break it, you buy it

On his way out from behind the counter, Young knocks over a candle. The employee says he's going to have to pay for that. Young gladly does. If you remember how long a credit card transaction used to take, that's how long he waits, until finally exiting the store.

Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records

A few things to take away

This is pretty amazing to see from 1972. I'm sure it's a trip down memory lane, as there used to be so many record shops that would sell bootleg work.

In the comments section of the YouTube video, it was able to be worked out around when and where this all took place.

User Liam Gillespie says:

This could possibly be December 1971 or Early ‘72 based on the December 9th issue of Rolling Stone magazine with Pete Townshend on the cover at 10:28. The location of this record store was located at 6734 W Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. The original building has been demolished since then. One clue that gave it away was the “Sunset Center Parking” on the sign in the record shop.

It's also pointed out in the comments that the note that Young wrote is probably worth a lot of money! I wonder if the employee or the owner still have it.

Others relive their young adulthoods saying that, "wasn't it so cool that record stores opened at night? Take me back to 1972!" 

Then, of course, people point out the huge problem that bootlegs were up through the 2000's saying "I remember back in the early 90's, bootleg cassettes were a huge issue because they were cheap, while ones that were Originals were expensive then. Record companies, and artists weren't making much money in sales because of bootlegs being sold in swap meets, ore the streets. Then CD's were also being bootlegs in early 2000's. I can imagine how hard it was then."

Do you remember when it was easy to find a bootleg recording of your favorite artists?

In the end, while it might be really cool to hear a live recording from a certain show, ripping off the artist is inherently wrong. It's a morality struggle for sure. It's still amazing that entire stores would function like this just out in the open.

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Neil Young is one of rock's most brilliant, confounding, defiant and frustrating artists.

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