In September of 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were one of the hottest groups in the country. The original trio of CSN had released their mega-selling debut a few months earlier, and Neil Young had just joined up with them for their inaugural tour. Woodstock was their second show. So it was no surprise that Tom Jones’ show, This Is Tom Jones. attempted to book them – what is surprising is that Neil Young was not only talked into it, but that they agreed to perform a number with Jones himself. Just a couple of years earlier, Neil Young quit Buffalo Springfield the night before they were booked to play on the Johnny Carson show. “I thought it was belittling what the Buffalo Springfield was doing,” Young later explained. “The audience wouldn’t have understood us. We’d have been just a fucking curiosity to them.”
Apparently Young felt that Jones had a more enlightened audience than Carson, or by that point he had learned the value of being a team player. However it happened, this is a pretty amazing video. To the great credit of Tom Jones, he sings the hell out of “Long Time Gone.” The band (particularly David Crosby) seems to be looking on with a mixture of amusement and pleasant surprise.
In Jimmy McDonough’s excellent Neil Young biography, Shakey, Young’s manager Elliott Roberts recounted the bizarre appearance. “It was very highly rated, sold a lotta records, but in retrospect it was embarrassing, just a bad call,” he said. “Neil went, “The Tom Jones Show! What possessed you?’ Neil never forgave me for that. He ripped me about it for a very, very long time. Years.”