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Yes, Neil Young Was Once Signed to Motown

Neil Young
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Over the last 50-plus years, the only constant in Neil Young‘s career has been change — he’s dabbled in a dizzying array of genres, frequently swapping personnel along the way. It’s happened so often, in fact, that one of Young’s oddest forays is also one of his least well-known: his early stint as the guitarist in the Mynah Birds, a Canadian band featuring funk star Rick ‘Superfreak’ James.

In an impressively in-depth post at the Young fansite Thrasher’s Wheat, author Nick Warburton retraces how it all went down, and how the Birds went from just another rock band to holding the honor of being the first Canadian group to be signed to Detroit’s legendary Motown Records.

Of course, as diehard Young fans are aware, the band’s brush with fame was short-lived; James was wanted by the FBI after going AWOL from the U.S. Navy, and his surrender brought a premature end to sessions for what was to be the Mynah Birds’ Motown debut. Young headed for L.A. with bassist Bruce Palmer, the duo went on to found Buffalo Springfield together, and the rest is history.

But that isn’t the whole story — not even close. To read the rest of Warburton’s detailed rundown of the Mynah Birds’ history — including what the rest of the band did after losing James, Young, and Palmer — head over to Thrasher’s Wheat!

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