Neil wrote this song about the caretaker that “came with” a ranch he bought in 1970. He tells the whole story on the video below. As he’s quoted in wiki page about the song;
About that time when I wrote (“Heart of Gold“), and I was touring, I had also—just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time—I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louis, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darnedest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.
I’ve always enjoyed Neil’s work. Some time ago I read where (but don’t remember exactly where) he was voted as one of the top 10 guitarists. I wouldn’t go quite that far. He is very skilled in his playing, but not top 10, at least not in my opinion. You can make up your own mind about that. And we won’t get into his singing other to ask “Who told him he could sing”?
Mr. Young was elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1982) and twice to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. First in 1995 for his solo work and again in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield.
This song speaks to me in the way it tells the title character that even younger folks have a lot of the same wants and needs. Some things just don’t change over time.
What do you think of this song or Neil Young? Leave a comment!
So the other day I was either talking to Wifey® or texting with my brother about the song “Hasten Down the Wind”. It was written by Warren Zevon (one of my favorite singer/songwriter/musicians of all time. May he rest in peace) but Linda Ronstadt (without a doubt, one my of my “future wives” in my teenage years – I had posters of her on my bedroom walls) had a much bigger hit with the song.
Mr. Zevon included the song on his 1976 album “Warren Zevon”. Not the most original of names, but it’s not like he’s the only artist to name an album after himself. And just in case you’re unclear on this, there is no “White Album” by The Beatles. Its title is “The Beatles” no matter what that stupid cruise ship employee said. We should have won that contest. Ms. Ronstadt covered this song on her 7th solo album, “Hasten Down The Wind”, released also in 1976.
I did not hear of Mr. Zevon’s original until later, as he didn’t come into my stream of conscientiousness until his “Excitable Boy” album in 1978. It was with the help of Jackson Browne (another of my singer/songwriter/musician heroes) as the producer of the self-titled album the Mr. Zevon found a major record contract.
So anyway, here are the two songs for you. First up is Ms. Rondstadt’s cover, since that’s the one I heard first. Then will be Mr. Zevon’s original. And I have to say, I prefer Mr. Zevon’s over my lady Ms. Ronstadt. Yeah, weird I know. But I think Linda’s cover is too smooth. She does have a very sweet voice, but I just don’t hear the raw emotion I hear in Warren’s original.
It’s nice to know that Linda has Don Henley (of The Eagles fame) singing backup, while Warren has Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers on backup vocals and David Lindley on slide guitar).
Listen to them both and give me your impressions;