After the Gold Rush (song)
|"After the Gold Rush"|
|Song by Neil Young from the album After the Gold Rush|
|Released||September 19, 1970|
|Recorded||March 12, 1970|
|After the Gold Rush track listing|
"After the Gold Rush" is a song, written, composed, and performed by Neil Young, and is the title song from the 1970 album of the same name. In addition to After the Gold Rush, it also appears on Decade, Greatest Hits, and Live Rust.
The song contains lyrics associated with the environment in the form of a dream vision. The three verses are often categorized as a movement from past, present and future. In addition to Young's vocals, two instruments are used in the song: a piano and a flugelhorn. The flugelhorn solo in the middle of the song is often replaced by a harmonica solo from Young in live performances. The line "Look at Mother Nature on the run / In the 1970s" has been amended by Young in concert over the decades, and currently is sung as "Look at Mother Nature on the run / In the 21st century."
The song has been covered numerous times. In 1973, it was interpreted by Prelude, whose version was a top 40 hit all over the globe, especially the United Kingdom where it re-charted in the Top 40 in 1982. Other versions have been performed by artists such as Thom Yorke, k.d. lang, The Flaming Lips, Michael Hedges, Nena and Natalie Merchant. Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmy Lou Harris included it on their smash Trio II album in 1999 and were awarded a Grammy for their version. (Parton also released a solo version of the song in 1996, though her version altered the line "I felt like getting high" to "I felt like I could cry," with the permission of Neil Young.) During Radiohead's 2003 World Tour and 2012 Coachella Festival performance, Thom Yorke occasionally played this song solo, usually segueing it into "Everything in Its Right Place." Patti Smith included it on her Banga (album) in 2012. The song has also been covered in live shows by Tori Amos, Dave Matthews, Neil Finn during Crowded House's 2007 tour of the United States, and by Nana Mouskouri during her 1970s BBC show.
Dolly Parton once commented about the making of her version of the song: "When we were doing the Trio album, I asked Linda and Emmy what it meant, and they didn't know. So we called Neil Young, and he didn't know. We asked him, flat out, what it meant, and he said, 'Hell, I don't know. I just wrote it. It just depends on what I was taking at the time. I guess every verse has something different I'd taken.'" Parton's, Ronstadt's, and Harris's Trio version of the song was also released as a single, and while it received modest radio airplay, a video accompanying the song was very popular on a number of cable video outlets, including CMT.
- Sally K. Slocum (1992), Popular Arthurian traditions, p. 105
- After the Gold Rush lyrics at Dolly Parton On-Line
- Discussion thread on the meaning of the lyrics to "After the Gold Rush" at Thrasher's Wheat
Shakey: Neil Young's Biography, Jimmy McDonough, published by Random House in 2002, ISBN 0-679-42772-4