For 36 years, Pegi Young was the wife of rocker Neil Young until the “Like A Hurricane” singer filed for divorce in 2014, something she says she didn’t see coming.
“We were having a rough patch,” she tells Rolling Stone. “But I never would’ve thought in a million years we would be getting divorced. So, yeah, there was a bit of a shock value there.”
Young, 63, channelled the pain and heartbreak of the end of her marriage into a new album, “Raw”, which more than lives up to its title. In fact, emotion courses through every track on the album, with songs featuring such titles as “Gave My Best to You,” “Too Little Too Late,” “Lonely” and “Why”, in which she sings the refrain, “Why’d you have to ruin my life?”
“We looked at all the songs we had and I just put together this initial sequence and, you know, it was perfect,” Young says of the way the songs came together. “It told a story. I kind of look at it as a soundtrack to the seven stages of grief. You’ve got anger, then shock and disbelief. As we go through the album, the later songs show my growth and … I can’t say total acceptance, but I think the last song, that wonderful Don Henley song [“The Heart of the Matter”], talks about forgiveness. That’s really where it’s at, you know?”
Finding that forgiveness, she admits, has not been easy, especially after Neil immediately began dating “Splash” actress Daryl Hannah and their once-private lives played out in the tabloids. “It was tough on all of us, for my kids and me,” she says. “Everybody knew what was going on in my family. So we were as ready as we could be for all that. But it was just kind of awful to have it be all over, everywhere.”
And while she says she can’t bring herself to listen to any of her ex-husband’s recent music, written during his relationship with Hannah, she notes that her daughter has taken that one step further.
“My daughter has said she is currently equal-opportunity,” Young says. “She said, ‘No offense, mom, but I’m not listening to any of dad’s stuff and I’m not listening to any of your stuff.’ I think that’s fair enough.”
“Raw” is slated to be released in February 2017; in the meantime, you can preview to one of the tracks, “Too Little Too Late”, right here: