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"Sugar Mountain" is a song by Canadian folk rock singer and composer Neil Young, who composed the song on November 12, 1964—his 19th birthday—at the Victoria Hotel in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay), where he had been touring with his Winnipeg band the Squires. Its lyrics are reminiscences about his youth in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Young first recorded the song on November 10, 1968, as part of a live performance at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In a concert at the Albert Hall in London on October 29, 1970, Joni Mitchell, who was already friends with Neil Young by the time he wrote this song, opened her song "Circle Game" with this speech: "In 1965 I was up in Canada, and there was a friend of mine up there who had just left a rock'n'roll band (...) he had just newly turned 21, and that meant he was no longer allowed into his favourite haunt, which was kind of a teeny-bopper club and once you're over 21 you couldn't get back in there anymore; so he was really feeling terrible because his girlfriends and everybody that he wanted to hang out with, his band could still go there, you know, but it's one of the things that drove him to become a folk singer was that he couldn't play in this club anymore. 'Cause he was over the hill. (...) So he wrote this song that was called "Oh to live on sugar mountain" which was a lament for his lost youth. (...) And I thought, God, you know, if we get to 21 and there's nothing after that, that's a pretty bleak future, so I wrote a song for him, and for myself just to give me some hope. It's called The Circle Game."