Plus bonus clip below: Old Man
Heart of Gold peaked at no 15 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 3 June 1972.
The song, which features backup vocals by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, is one of a series of soft acoustic pieces which were written partly as a result of a back injury. Unable to stand for long periods of time, Young could not play his electric guitar and so returned to his acoustic guitar, which he could play sitting down. He also played his harmonica during the three instrumental portions, including the introduction to the song.
Read more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Gold_(Neil_Young_song)
With a straightforward metaphor and complete lack of pathos, this is not a typical Neil Young song. It finds him mining for a “heart of gold,” which depending on your perspective, is either a touching and heartfelt sentiment, or a mawkish platitude. Rolling Stone took the churlish view, complaining that the album evoked “superstardom’s weariest clichés.” The listening public and Young’s fans were far more accepting, and the song became his biggest hit.
Read more: www.songfacts.com/facts/neil-young/heart-of-gold
BONUS CLIP – OLD MAN
Along with Heart of Gold, another single from Neil’s Harvest album was Old Man. Although the song didn’t make the Go-Set National Top 40 in Australia, it’s worth adding here.
‘Old Man’ was written for the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970. The song compares a young man’s life to an old man’s and shows that the young man has, to some extent, the same needs as the old one. James Taylor played six-string banjo (tuned like a guitar) and sang on the song, and Linda Ronstadt also contributed vocals.
Read more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Man_(song)
Heart of Gold and Old Man are both on our Spotify playlist.
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