Archive | Jun 20, 2018

Certain Songs #1244: Neil Young – “The Needle and The Damage Done”

Album: Harvest
Year: 1972

Recorded at Royce Hall, UCLA, on January 31, 1971

The lyrical precursor to the dark, unsparing set of songs that would comprise Tonight’s The Night a few years later, the stark anti-heroin lyrics of “The Needle and The Damage Done” have probably always struck some people as too on-the-nose, or in this case, in-the-arm.

But of course that was the entire point: Neil was expressing his pain and dismay at what was happening to Danny Whitten, whose guitar & vocals helped propel Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere to immortality, and whose co-write with Neil, “Downtown,” was a highlight of Crazy Horse’s self-titled debut, and was considered good enough by Neil to stick into their live act.