Writers: Neil Young
Producers: Elliot Mazer, Henry Lewy, Jack Nitzsche
Recorded: Late 1971
|Neil Young – guitar, vocals
Ben Keith – pedal steel
Jack Nitzche – piano, guitar
Tim Drummond – bass
Kenny Buttrey – drums
James Taylor – backing vocals
Linda Rondstadt – backing vocals
|Harvest (Reprise, 1972)
“Heart Of Gold,” Neil Young's first big hit single, brought the singer mainstream success as well as international stardom. The song “put me in the middle of the road” as Young recalls.
At the time of its release, many critics felt Harvest was too lightweight and sentimental, a dip in Neil Young's standards.
While most of his earlier known songs like “Mr. Soul”, “Down By The River,” and “Cinnamon Girl” were quirky and dark, enhanced by Young's high-pitched wavering vocals, “Heart Of Gold” was distinctly laid back and warm in contrast. The overall mellow mood of the song, and the album in general, played a large role gaining a wider audience for Young.
In order to ensure the good vibes in the song, Young brought James Taylor and Linda Rondstadt along to provide back-up vocals.
Released in March 1971, “Heart Of Gold” was certified gold one month later.
A bad back makes for easy-going rock. While Young may have been shooting for a more central commercial breakthrough, he also had a back injury at the time, which prevented him from going through strenuous electric guitar rave-ups.
Harvest was the first album Young worked on with the Stray Gators, a group he was to work with again with great success.