Shoppin' in the Free World 

Neil Young stops by Plan 9, buys several albums.

  • Emaleigh Franzak

Three guys walk into a record store on International Record Store Day. One is Neil Young and, well … who cares who the other two are.

On Saturday, April 16 at around 4:45 p.m., rock legend Neil Young walked into Plan 9 Carytown with his tour manager Eric Johnson and manager Elliott Roberts to do a little shopping. By then the store wasn’t slammed, it was rainy out and it had already been a heavy shopping day full of live music and record fanatics. Few customers recognized the graying hippie behind such enduring FM hits as “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man”—dressed in a black hoodie and black trucker’s cap.

Assistant manager Emaleigh Franzak snapped a photo of Young looking at a used copy of an old '60s album by San Francisco group It’s A Beautiful Day, which the men eventually purchased along with several other records after shopping roughly 40 minutes. The photo was soon making ripples around the online world -- running on RollingStone.com and on the Neil Young news page, Thrasher’s Wheat.

“I told him thanks for coming in, that I thought it was really cool and he smiled and said it was ‘good to be there,’” Franzak says, adding that the store just happened to be playing Young’s new Grammy winning album “Le Noise” right when he walked in.

“Believe me, I don’t get starstruck by celebrities but …,” says longtime fan and Plan 9 employee, Rob Sheley. “I think my hand shook a little seeing him in there.”

Young may have known about Plan 9 because they had officially contacted him earlier to see if he would like to perform there on his day off (Young’s show at the Landmark was Sunday, April 17). Not surprisingly for a rock 'n' roll Hall of Famer who usually gets between $75 and $250 a ticket, he turned them down.

But they got some of his money. Winning.


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