Neil Young and Dean Stockwell Collaborated on the Bizarre 1982 Film 'Human Highway' -
Dean Stockwell (right) in Human Highway

Dean Stockwell (right) in Human Highway

Neil Young and Dean Stockwell Collaborated on the Bizarre 1982 Film ‘Human Highway’

by Paul Cashmere on November 10, 2021

in News

‘Human Highway’, Neil Young’s bizarre collaboration with his friend Dean Stockwell, is one of the most bizarre movies you will ever see.

Veteran actor Dean Stockwell died this week in New Mexico at age 85 leaving behind a film legacy dating back to his first movie ‘The Valley of Decision’ in 1945 at age nine.

Stockwell is best known as Al Calavicci in the TV series ‘Quantum Leap’ (1989-1993) but one of his movies to check out is ‘Human Highway’, made with his old friend Neil Young.

Stockwell and Young met in 1969 when they used to hang out together in Topanga Canyon. Stockwell, already an established name in film, decided to drop out of the business. Neil was on his way up having recently broken up with Buffalo Springfield and starting his solo career. They were hippy-buddies.

Stockwell was lured back to movies and stayed one of Young’s best friends. In the early 1970s, Dean Stockwell wrote a screenplay for his unproduced ‘After The Gold Rush’. Young used the title as the name of his next album ‘After The Gold Rush’. His song ‘Southern Man’, off the ‘After The Gold Rush’ album, was inspired by the Stockwell movie plot. Stockwell also designed the cover for Neil Young’s 1977 album ‘American Stars ‘n Bars’, the album featuring ‘Like A Hurricane’.

Dean Stockwell (right) in Human Highway Dean Stockwell (right) in Human Highway

Neil Young American Stars n Bars

In 1982 Young and Stockwell collaborated on the screenplay, direction and acted in the movie ‘Human Highway’. For Young fans, the movie is a lost treasure. It paired Devo with Young on a version of ‘Hey Hey My My (Into The Black). It had an incredible cast including Devo, Young, Stockwell and their pal Dennis Hopper. Young played a character called Lionel Switch. The name was a clever play on Young’s obsession with model trains. He is now an 20% owner of Lionel LLC, one of the world’s biggest model train companies.

Devo’s Mark Motherbaugh composed his first soundtrack music for ‘Human Highway’. He has composed hundreds of pieces of film and television including the music for the kid’s TV show ‘Rugrats’ and the movies ‘Happy Gilmore’ and ‘Last Vegas’.

Young and Stockwell’s, ‘Human Highway’ is often paired with the word ‘bizarre’ and received poor reviews in its day. However, for Neil Young fans it is worth checking out as a tribute to Dean.

Dean Stockwell 5 March 1936 – 7 November 2021.

Neil Young Human Highway Directors Cut

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