Showing posts with label Neil Young. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neil Young. Show all posts

Neil Young - Heart of Gold (1972)

Neil Young - Heart of Gold (1972)




"Heart of Gold" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young. Released from the 1972 album Harvest, it is so far Young's only U.S. No. 1 single. In Canada, it reached No. 1 on the RPM national singles chart for the first time on April 8, 1972, on which date Young held the top spot on both the singles and albums charts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 17 song for 1972. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 297 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

The song, which features backup vocals of 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.

"Heart of Gold" was taped during the initial sessions for Harvest in early 1971 at Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Ronstadt (who herself would later cover Young's song "Love is a Rose") and Taylor were in Nashville at the time for an appearance on Johnny Cash's television program, and the album's producer Elliot Mazer arranged for them to sing backup for Young in the studio.

Young played this song in 1971 solo shows before recording it. At first he played it on piano, starting with "A Man Needs a Maid" and then segueing into this song. An example of the segued version appears on Young's 2007 release Live at Massey Hall 1971. Midway through the tour--at least by the time of his BBC concert--he separated the two songs and played "Heart of Gold" on guitar and harmonica, much like it later appeared on record.
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