When Neil introduced this song in a live BBC session in the 70's, he mentions an "old man" that he came acroos upon purchasing a ranch property in California. He said the old man was...
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I'm all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.


Lyrics submitted by H-bomb

Old Man song meanings
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62 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis song means so much to me right now. As I am writing this, It's been about 20 hours since my dad died. I'm hurting so bad right now. He struggled with alchoholism for so long and whenever this song came on the radio we would both cry. My father's gone forever now but this song will always make me remember him. Dad, I will never forget you...
    toolmusikon December 22, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentbanjo played by James Taylor...

    Yeah, i read about how Young stayed at this farm one time and wrote this song inspired be the old man who owned it...don't quote me on this though...
    jehosefaton April 06, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song makes me think about my dad.
    my mom always calls me little Philip (which is my dad's name). i think it is about a man who is repeating his father's mistakes, and then is calling his dad a hypocrite when he gets pissed about it. it's also a statement of proof that they really are a lot the same, thus removing justification for his anger... hueoh, too many big words.
    ataraxia37on June 10, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's about the janitor/custodian guy on his ranch. Sad character, and a real sad, melancholic number. Haunting.
    headlessparroton June 28, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Commentneil youngs dad was acutally a very popular sports writer for the Toronto Star, a very well known and well admired writer in this area. Thus, I always thought that "old man, im alot like you" coulda meant hey look, im famous too.
    ZepJimiFloydon March 31, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAccording to the decade book, in Neils own hand:
    "I wrote this for the caretaker of my ranch after I purchased it in 1970. Special thanks to James Taylor for his banjo playing."
    xdvron September 29, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment Upon hearing this song I imagine a scene where the young man walks in a local pub after a bad day and sees a drunk old man sitting at the bar and at first he passes judgement, scoffing and thinking how he will never be anything like the old man but deep down actually he is just worried that he will become him. Well eventually they start conversing over drinks.
    The younger man is saying, "Hey you might be older and wiser now but you were my age at one time and we wanted the same things.
    The older man replies saying, "Buddy it doesn't matter what age we are we will always want those things.

    Speechless the young man gets up to use the bathroom and while washing his hands, he looks in the mirror and realizes he doesn't have to worry about BECOMING the old man because he IS the old man.

    Young/Old we all want happiness that we can share with a loved one.

    *And we understand that the song is inspired/about the Caretaker of Neils Ranch but it's the meaning/interperation of the song people are still interested in.
    whatdupdohon September 25, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is indeed about an old man who lived with him on the ranch he purchased in California, however whenever I listen to this song I can't help but be reminded of my father and I, and how similar our lives have turned out to be. It can mean whatever you want it to. They don't call people like Mr. Young music ARTISTS for no reason. A picture or painting says a thousand words, a song can say millions. I'm 23 and have been fortunate enough to grow up with great music like this. Like a famous painting, this song will never grow old.
    FunkyJunk88on January 07, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"it doesn't meant hat much to me to mean that much to you??"

    I love how Neil Young just doesn't GIVE A F and still rocks so hard.
    rae4212002on March 13, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's a young man talking to his father. He feels like his old man has set his expectations too high for him. This is one of my favorite songs.
    CeeJaion May 04, 2003   Link

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