Harvest – Neil Young Side 1 – Marcello Cicchini
Harvest is the fourth album by the Canadian musician Neil Young, released on February 14, 1972 on Reprise Records, catalogue MS 2032. It featured the London Symphony Orchestra on two tracks and vocals by the noted guests David Crosby, Graham Nash, Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills, and James Taylor. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks, and spawned two hit singles, “Old Man”, which peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Heart of Gold”, which reached #1. It was the best-selling album of 1972 in the United States.
After Neil Young left Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, he recruited a group of country session musicians (which he christened The Stray Gators) and recorded a country rock record, Harvest. The record was a massive hit, producing a US number one single in “Heart of Gold”. Other songs returned to some usual Young themes: “Alabama” was “an unblushing rehash of ‘Southern Man'”; and “The Needle and the Damage Done” was a lament for great artists who had died of heroin addiction. The album’s success caught Young off guard and his first instinct was to back away from stardom. He would later write that the record “put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there.”
“Words (Between the Lines of Age)”, the last song on the album, featured a lengthy guitar workout with the band. It has a typical Neil Young structure consisting of four chords during the multiple improvised solos. The song is notable for alternating between a standard 4/4 time signature for verses and choruses and an unusual 11(3+3+3+2)/8 for interludes.
According to the Neil Young Archives, the actual release date for Harvest was February 25, 1972.
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