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Neil Young After The Gold Rush

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After The Gold Rush Review

Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (Live at Farm Aid 1998)

In the 15 months between the release of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, Neil Young issued a series of recordings in different styles that could have prepared his listeners for the differences between the two LPs. His two compositions on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, “Helpless” and “Country Girl,” returned him to the folk and country styles he had pursued before delving into the hard rock of Everybody Knows two other singles, “Sugar Mountain” and “Oh, Lonesome Me,” also emphasized those roots. But “Ohio,” a CSNY single, rocked as hard as anything on the second album. After the Gold Rush was recorded with the aid of Nils Lofgren, a 17-year-old unknown whose piano was a major instrument, turning one of the few real rockers, “Southern Man” , into a more stately effort than anything on the previous album and giving a classic tone to the title track, a mystical ballad that featured some of Young’s most imaginative lyrics and became one of his most memorable songs. But much of After the Gold Rush consisted of country-folk love songs, which consolidated the audience Young had earned through his tours and recordings with CSNY its dark yet hopeful tone matched the tenor of the times in 1970, making it one of the definitive singer/songwriter albums, and it has remained among Young’s major achievements.

The Story Behind The Song: Neil Young

Influenced by an end-of-the-world screenplay and feverishly crafted while on tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, it was a leap of faith that became one of Neil Young’s most enduring songs

Neil Youngs most mysterious song has its beginnings in the wilds of Peru in 1969, where an out-of-control Dennis Hopper was directing The Last Movie, his follow-up to Easy Rider. With Hopper was his friend Dean Stockwell, a minor child and teen star of the 1940s and 50s, later famous for the 90s time-travel TV hit Quantum Leap.

In Peru, Dennis very strongly urged me to write a screenplay, Stockwell recalls, and he would get it produced. I came back home to Topanga Canyon and wrote After The Gold Rush. Neil was living in Topanga then too, and a copy of it somehow got to him. He had had writers block for months, and his record company was after him. And after he read this screenplay, he wrote the After The Gold Rush album in three weeks.

Stockwells screenplay is long lost. Youngs biographer Jimmy McDonough was told that it was an end-of-the-world movie, which ended with a tidal wave crashing towards its hero as he stood in the parking lot of the Topanga hippies favourite hang-out, the Corral, whose regulars included Young and Joni Mitchell. Stockwells friend Russ Tamblyn was set to play a rocker recluse living in a castle, and wild-haired local artist George Herms was meant to haul a tree of life, like Christ with his crucifix, across the Canyon.

The Beatles And The British Invasion

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“They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. You could only do that with other musicians. Even if you’re playing your own chords you had to have other people playing with you. That was obvious. And it started me thinking about other people.”

Bob Dylan reflecting on how the Beatles influenced his decision to record with an electric backing band

Beginning in 1964 and lasting until roughly 1966, a wave of British groups, including , , , , , and amongst others, dominated the U.S. music charts. These groups were all heavily influenced by American , , and musical genres they had been introduced to via homegrown British rock ‘n’ roll singers, imported American , and the music of the craze. These UK groups, known collectively as the , reintroduced American youth culture to the broad potential of rock and as a creative medium and to the wealth of musical culture to be found within the United States.

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Electric Twelve-String Guitar in Folk Music

Ron Elliott of The Beau Brummels on the origins of the band’s folk-flavored sound

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The Story Of Neil Young After The Gold Rush

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Washington D.C. Sunday May 19th

Youngs dogged self-determination, despite its interpersonal downfalls, was a major artistic virtue that fed directly into what was perhaps his first true masterpiece. After The Gold Rush had its beginnings in an unlikely place. Dean Stockwell, a former child star of the 40s and 50s, had been encouraged by his friend Dennis Hopper to write a screenplay whilst the pair were in the jungles of Peru producing a film entitled The Last Movie. Hopper assured Stockwell that he had the relevant connections to help get the film made, and once back in the US the latter retreated to his home at Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles Mountains to commence the writing process.

Listen: Neil Young After The Gold Rush Musical Lead-Up Playlist

The basements make-shift setup influenced the stark and plaintive sound of After The Gold Rush. Young featured solo on piano throughout the album, most notably on the title track which is often praised as the centrepiece of the album. Charting a surreal and fantastical course through three verses, the song starts in a medieval era of knights and peasants and ends in outer space with the remnants of humanity, after the world has descended into apocalypse.

Listen: Neil Young After The Gold Rush Legacy Playlist

Wonderin’ By Neil Young & Crazy Horselyrics

Neil Young

After the Gold Rush was Youngs follow-up solo project in the wake of the chart-topping success of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu. It was his third solo album, and the second attributed solely to Neil Young after his eponymous debut . After the Gold Rush continued Youngs ascendency up the Billboard charts, reaching number 8.

At the time of release, After the Gold Rush received a scathing review in Rolling Stone, which concluded that none of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface.

However, in the years following its release, the album has gained significant critical acclaim. In 1997, After the Gold Rush was placed 47th on The Guardians 100 Best Albums Ever. This was followed by 74th place on a similar list by Rolling Stone in 2003 and placing on [Time MagazinesAll-TIME 100 Albums.

In a 2013 career retrospective, Stereogum placed After the Gold Rush as the 3rd best Neil Young album characterizing it as not merely one of Neil Youngs best albums, or even one of the finest albums ever made its Scripture.

After the Gold Rush Q& A

Album Credits

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