♫ Heart of Gold ♫

While this one is not in my top ten list of favourites, I do like the song, and it was Neil Young’s biggest solo hit, released in 1972 and reaching #1 in the U.S. and Canada, and #10 in the UK.

According to SongFacts …

Young wrote this in 1971 after he suffered a back injury that made it difficult for him to play the electric guitar, so on the Harvest tracks he played acoustic. Despite the injury, Young was in good spirits (possibly thanks to the painkillers), which is reflected in this song.

This song was recorded at the first sessions for the Harvest album, which took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 and were set up the night before.

Neil Young was in Nashville to record a performance for The Johnny Cash Show along with Tony Joe White, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Elliot Mazer, a producer who owned nearby Quadrafonic Studios, set up a dinner party on February 5, inviting the show’s guests and about 50 other people. Mazer was friends with Young’s manager Elliot Roberts, who introduced the two at the gathering. Young and Mazer quickly hit it off when Neil learned that Elliot has produced a band called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could set up a session the next day, and Mazer complied.

Nashville has an abundance of studio musicians, but getting them to work on a Saturday could be a challenge. Mazur was able to get one member of Area Code 615: Drummer Kenny Buttrey. The other musicians he found were guitarist Teddy Irwin, bass player Tim Drummond, and pedal steel player Ben Keith. All were seasoned pros.

Keith, who had never heard of Neil Young, recalls showing up late and sitting down to play right away. He says they recorded five songs before they stopped for introductions.

James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt sang backup; they don’t come in until the end of the song. Like Young, Taylor and Ronstadt were in town to appear on The Johnny Cash Show (the song’s producer Elliot Mazer had produced Ronstadt’s 1970 Silk Purse album). Young convinced them to lend their voices to this track, and they came in on Sunday, February 7, 1971, the day after the rest of the song was completed.

When it was their turn to add harmonies, the task proved rather arduous. Ronstadt recalled to Mojo: “We were sat on the couch in the control room, but I had to get up on my knees to be on the same level as James because he’s so tall. Then we sang all night, the highest notes I could sing. It was so hard, but nobody minded. It was dawn when we walked out of the studio.”

Heart Of Gold
Neil Young

I want to live
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
For a heart of gold
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
For a heart of gold
And I’m getting old
Keep me searching
For a heart of gold
And I’m getting old

I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean
For a heart of gold
I’ve been in my mind
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching
For a heart of gold
And I’m getting old
Keeps me searching
For a heart of gold
And I’m getting old

Keep me searching
For a heart of gold
You keep me searching
And I’m growing old
Keep me searching
For a heart of gold
I’ve been a miner
For a heart of gold

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Neil Young
Heart Of Gold lyrics © Silver Fiddle

17 thoughts on “♫ Heart of Gold ♫

  1. I think After the Goldrush is probably my favourite by Mr Young. I like this one but never sure I really understand it. I;m looking at it in a new light knowing JAMES TAYLOR sang on it. I’ll be trying to distinguish his voice from now on.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, now you have reached a new height. Neil Young is a very underrated songwriter and guitarist. He has written so many meaningful songs, like this one. Others I adore are “After the gold rush,” “Cinnamon girl,” “Helpless,” “Ohio,” “Southern man,” “Old man,” and many more. Thanks for dipping your toe into Neil Young’s work. Keith

    Like

    • PS – If you ever get a chance, there is a PBS documentary that covers the musicians that flocked to be on the Johnny Cash show. They all admired him as a person and a musician. Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Linda Rondstadt, Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), etc. all performed. Keith

      Like

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