I had resolved not to read it, but clinical curiosity caused me to skim Bill Wyman’s “100 Greatest Moments in Rock History” [Hitsville, September 29]. Sixty-ninth on the list is: “Bruce Berry was a workin’ man / He used to love [sic] that Econoline van.” I can only assume this is a reference to Neil Young’s 1975 LP Tonight’s the Night. The lyrics, as sung in each of four instances on that recording, are: “Bruce Berry was a working man / He used to load that Econoline van.”
If this moment is so great, one wonders why its champion cannot transcribe it accurately. Were I in a more bilious mood, I might take issue not only with the error, but with the “I’ll sit with anybody” condescension that Wyman’s misapprehension implies. (Is this Wyman’s picture, and with which he identifies: rock star Young smiling and shaking his head in fond remembrance of his roadie, dead from an overdose but formerly in love with a car?)
Fortunately for this record’s greatness, its tone, as well as its literal content, is different.
Bill Wyman replies:
A number of people mentioned this to me. I had the Tonight’s the Night sheet music years ago–the album was and is one of my all-time favorites–and naturally assumed that I absorbed the words correctly. I’ve tried to find another copy of the lyrics recently but haven’t been successful; you may be right.