A look back at Neil Young's most commercially successful Harvest

Both then and now, "Harvest" remains one of the absolute benchmarks of country rock.

A review of Harvest, Neil Young's most commercially successful album

"Harvest." - the most commercially successful album of his career Neil Youngas it was the best-selling LP in the USA in 1972! It was it that made the musician change his trajectory and, in fact, helped him avoid creative stagnation. But it was not a long-awaited success at all, but a happy accident that included some of the best songs of Young's career, such as Heart of Gold and "Old Man.".

Both then and now. "Harvest." (that's how the title of the record is translated) remains one of the absolute benchmarks of country rock.

A little background

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Despite the fact that this was his third solo album, "After the Gold Rush" was Neil's first big success as a solo artist! Thanks in part to his inclusion in the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But selfishness and jealousy killed the quartet, and Young was left alone. In addition, a back injury prevented him from playing much on his feet, which meant that he used his acoustic, the Martin D-45 Stephen Stills gave him, far more often than his electric guitar. But Young quickly began the most creative period of his career, and the songs were pouring out! And they were gems like "Heart of Gold" and the like. Many of them were composed while touring the U.S. in acoustic and solo formats.

At the beginning of the tour, his set list was a journey through his career, with songs from the days of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But gradually Young began to focus on new compositions.

So much so that when Johnny Cash invited him on his TV show, Neil performed a song he hadn't even recorded yet: it was "The Needle and the Damage Done"which later became the highlight of his live performances.

Birth of the Harvest

Neil Young
Neil Young

One day in Nashville he was approached by Elliot Matherwho had a recording studio there, Quadrafonic Sound Studios, and invited him in. Young didn't hesitate to say yes. He liked the studio, and he told the producer that all he needed was musicians. Maser went to town and returned with drummer Kenny Buttrey, bassist Tim Drummond and guitarist Ben Keith. From these impromptu sessions came two of the album's key songs, Heart of Gold and "Old Man."Young was also assisted by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt (they recorded the backing vocals).

Taylor also had a remarkable performance on the banjo In The Old Man.

But still, it's exactly "Golden Heart." was the biggest, most beautiful and successful hit of Young's career! Critics have described it as a beautiful piece of soft-rock with a harmonica sound reminiscent of Bob Dylan.. "Heart of Gold" quickly won over the audience and literally lifted the whole album to the top of the charts.

A little about other tracks

Neil Young
Neil Young

The other tracks were recorded in other sessions. Let's talk about them a little bit more.

"A Man Needs a Maid" and "There's a World" were born in the capital of England! The London Symphony Orchestra took part in their recording: both songs have generous arrangements and terrific lyrics.

In April 1971, Young returned to Nashville to record "Out on the Weekend" and "Harvest.

During the final sessions were born "Are You Ready for the Country?", "Alabama" and "Words." - the only song on the album in which Young felt at ease with his Gretsch White Falcon (semi-acoustic electric guitar)! It was the perfect ending to the record and the beginning of a new - solo journey after Neil was all alone. His road to fame proved to be a winding one, but a pretty short one!


Neil Young
Neil Young

A resounding success "Harvest." took Young by surprise, and he couldn't help but react to it:

"Harvest has made me an acceptable artist to the general public..."

From now on, the music Neil Young became more aggressive, although throughout his career he continued to "flirt" with country rock. But what's really the phenomenon of "Harvest" is that it shows Young's cozier, homier side in all its glory...


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