Susan Acevedo was the heart of Topanga Canyon and an important companion for Neil Young and his rise to fame. She had a young daughter named Tia which she looked after but soon found herself caring for another kindred soul.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Laurel Canyon and Topanga Canyon became hubs of Southern California rock ‘n’ roll bohemia. After leaving Buffalo Springfield, Young looked for a place to get away from the chaos of the Sunset Strip.
Using his $17,000 advance from launching his solo career, he bought a property among the redwoods in Topanga Canyon. In his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, he reminisces of those early days.
“Morning on the deck began with coffee overlooking the canyon, watching everything start to move below as the day unfolded. The scene in there was always stimulating, full of the color of the canyon, with the artists and other local characters, rug dealers and beautiful hippie girls, and I really enjoyed my breakfasts.”
Behind those enjoyable breakfasts was his soon to be first wife, Susan Acevedo.
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Susan Acevedo & Neil Young
Young remembers, “I used to go to the Canyon Kitchen every morning for breakfast. Susan Acevedo, the beautiful Sicilian hostess/owner, would bring me a one-eye and bacon. I got to look at Susan Acevedo every day at breakfast!”
It wasn’t long until the pair began a romantic relationship. Guillermo Giachetti, a roadie for Stephen Stills and Young, remembers Susan Acevedo dressing in all black, racing around Los Angeles in Young’s black Mini Cooper. “Susan was a wild one. She didn’t look like a mellow, easy-going person – she was a city chick.”
Jeannie Field, who worked on various film projects with Young at the time recalls meeting Susan Acevedo for the first time. “Susan was painstakingly ironing this white tux shirt will all these ruffles. I couldn’t believe it – I was so non-house making at that point, and here’s this beautiful woman.”
On December 1, 1968, Neil Young married Susan Acevedo at his redwood property overlooking the canyon. Louie Kelly remembers the wedding day, “During the wedding, the whole house shook. I thought it might fall down.”
After the Gold Rush
An interesting fact, Susan Acevedo sewed the patches onto the pair of Neil Young’s jeans he is wearing on the back cover of After the Gold Rush using her hair as thread.
Sadly, their relationship broke down as a result of Neil being constantly on tour or busy with rehearsals and recording. The pair legally parted in 1970. Young remembering his first wife Susan Acevedo…
“Susan was my friend. She was cool. A real ball of fire. I think we loved each other. A great, great lady – very strong. My life is better for having known her… turned me on to Devo. Into Bowie way early.”
“Susan introduced me to people who were artists – George Herms, Wallace Berman – those guys were friends of my wife. She really loved them, she knew all about them. Susan Acevedo introduced me to the concept of art.”