After the Gold Rush

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

After the Gold Rush
After the Gold Rush.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 19, 1970[1]
RecordedWinter 1969 – June 1970
StudioSunset Sound, Hollywood, CA
Sound City, Van Nuys, Los Angeles
Redwood Studios, Topanga, CA
ProducerNeil Young, David Briggs with Kendall Pacios
Neil Young chronology
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
After the Gold Rush
Singles from After the Gold Rush
  1. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
    Released: October 19, 1970[4]
  2. "When You Dance I Can Really Love"
    Released: March 1971[5]

After the Gold Rush is the third studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released in September 1970 on Reprise Records. It is one of four high-profile albums released by each member of folk rock collective Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping 1970 album Déjà Vu. Gold Rush consists mainly of country folk music, along with the rocking "Southern Man",[6] inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Bermann screenplay After the Gold Rush.

After the Gold Rush peaked at number eight on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart; the two singles taken from the album, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and "When You Dance I Can Really Love", made it to number 33 and number 93 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite a mixed initial reaction, it has since appeared on a number of "greatest albums" lists.


Initial sessions were conducted with backing band Crazy Horse at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles amid a short winter 1970 tour that included a well-received engagement with Steve Miller and Miles Davis at the Fillmore East. Despite the deteriorating health of rhythm guitarist Danny Whitten, the sessions yielded two released tracks, "I Believe In You" and "Oh, Lonesome Me."

Most of the album was recorded at a makeshift basement studio in Young's Topanga Canyon home during the spring with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young bassist Greg Reeves, Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina and burgeoning eighteen-year-old musical prodigy Nils Lofgren of the Washington, D.C.-based band Grin on piano. The incorporation of Lofgren was a characteristically idiosyncratic decision by Young: Lofgren had not played keyboards on a regular basis prior to the sessions.[7] Along with Jack Nitzsche, Lofgren would join an augmented Crazy Horse sans Young before enjoying success with his own group as well as solo cult success and then a 25-year membership in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. The Young biography Shakey[8] claims Young was intentionally trying to combine Crazy Horse and CSNY on this release, with members of the former band appearing alongside Stephen Stills (who contributed backing vocals to "Only Love Can Break Your Heart") and Reeves. The cover art is a solarized image of Young, walking past the New York University School of Law campus, passing an old woman. The picture was taken by photographer Joel Bernstein and was reportedly out of focus. It was because of this he decided to mask the blurred face by solarizing the image.[9] The photo is cropped; the original image included Young's friend and CSNY bandmate Graham Nash.[10]

Songs on the album were inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Bermann screenplay for the unmade film After the Gold Rush. Young had read the screenplay and asked Stockwell if he could produce the soundtrack. Tracks that Young recalls as being written specifically for the film are "After the Gold Rush" and "Cripple Creek Ferry."[11] The script has since been lost, though it has been described as "sort of an end-of-the-world movie."[12] Stockwell said of it, "I was gonna write a movie that was personal, a Jungian self-discovery of the gnosis... it involved the Kabala (sic), it involved a lot of arcane stuff."[12] Graham Nash claims that "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" was written for him about the pains he was going through with his break up from Joni Mitchell.[13]

According to the Neil Young Archives, After the Gold Rush was released on September 19, 1970. One month later, on October 24, the lead single "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[4]


Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[6]
Christgau's Record GuideA+[14]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[17]

Critics were not immediately impressed; the 1970 review in Rolling Stone magazine by Langdon Winner was negative, with Winner feeling that, "none of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface."[18] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was more enthusiastic, saying: "While David Crosby yowls about assassinations, Young divulges darker agonies without even bothering to make them explicit. Here the gaunt pain of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere fills out a little—the voice softer, the jangling guitar muted behind a piano. Young's melodies—every one of them—are impossible to dismiss. He can write 'poetic' lyrics without falling flat on his metaphor even when the subject is ecology or crumbling empire. And despite his acoustic tenor, he rocks plenty. A real rarity: pleasant and hard at the same time."[14]

Critical reaction has improved with time; by 1975, Rolling Stone was referring to the album as a "masterpiece",[19] and Gold Rush is now considered a classic album in Young's recording career.[20]


After the Gold Rush has appeared on a number of greatest albums lists. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted After the Gold Rush the 89th greatest album of all time. It was ranked 92nd in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2003, Rolling Stone named the album the 71st greatest album of all time, and 74th in a 2012 revised list, his highest ranking on this list.[21] Pitchfork listed it 99th on their 2004 list of the "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s".[22] In 2006, Time Magazine listed it as one of the 'All-TIME 100 Albums'.[23] It was ranked third in Bob Mersereau's 2007 book The Top 100 Canadian Albums. Its follow-up album, Harvest, was named the greatest Canadian album of all time in that book. In 2005, Chart Magazine readers placed it fifth on a poll of the best Canadian Albums. In 2002, Blender Magazine named it the 86th greatest "American" album. New Musical Express named it the 80th greatest album of all time in 2003.[24] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[25]

It was voted number 62 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000).[26]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Guardian United Kingdom 100 Best Albums Ever[27] 1997 47


After the Gold Rush was remastered and released on HDCD-encoded CD and digital download on July 14, 2009 as part of the Neil Young Archives Original Release Series. The remaster has been released on vinyl and a high-resolution digital version on Blu-ray is also planned although a release date for this format has not yet been announced.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Neil Young, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Tell Me Why" – 2:54
  2. "After the Gold Rush" – 3:45
  3. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" – 3:05
  4. "Southern Man" – 5:31
  5. "Till the Morning Comes" – 1:17
Side two
  1. "Oh, Lonesome Me" (Don Gibson) – 3:47
  2. "Don't Let It Bring You Down" – 2:56
  3. "Birds" – 2:34
  4. "When You Dance I Can Really Love" – 4:05
  5. "I Believe in You" – 3:24
  6. "Cripple Creek Ferry" – 1:34



Weekly charts[edit]

Year Chart Position
1970 Billboard Pop Albums 8


Year Single Chart Position
1970 "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" Billboard Pop Singles 33
1971 "When You Dance I Can Really Love" Billboard Pop Singles 93

Year End Charts

Year Chart Position
1971 Billboard Year End Chart[28] 20


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[30] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "NY-ATG". Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Richie Unterberger (February 20, 2014). Jingle Jangle Morning: Folk-Rock in the 1960s. BookBaby. p. 1089. ISBN 978-0-9915892-1-0.
  3. ^ Robert Christgau (November 15, 1998). Grown Up All Wrong: 75 Great Rock and Pop Artists from Vaudeville to Techno. Harvard University Press. p. 470. ISBN 978-0-674-44318-1.
  4. ^ a b "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 1970. p. 72.
  5. ^ "Spotlight Singles". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 1971. p. 58.
  6. ^ a b William, Ruhlmann. After the Gold Rush at AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  7. ^ du Lac, J. Freedom (October 8, 2008). "Six Questions (And Then Some) For ... Nils Lofgren". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
  8. ^ McDonough, Jimmy. Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. New York: Random House Inc., 2002
  9. ^ "After the Gold Rush - Album Cover Location".
  10. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  11. ^ McDonough, Jimmy (2003). Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. Anchor Books. p. 332. ISBN 9780679750963. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  12. ^ a b McDonough, Jimmy (2003). Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. Anchor Books. p. 331. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  13. ^ "Graham Nash - Washington Post".
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: Y". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via
  15. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  16. ^ Richardson, Mark (December 11, 2009). "Review: After the Gold Rush". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  17. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (September 13, 2017). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780743201698 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ Winner, Langdon (October 15, 1970). "After The Gold Rush; Album Reviews; Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  19. ^ Marsh, Dave (August 28, 1975). "Neil Young: Tonight's the Night". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  20. ^ Mar, Alex (April 4, 2005). "Young suffers aneurysm". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 19, 2008.
  21. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  22. ^ Pitchfork Staff (June 23, 2004). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "The All-TIME 100 Albums: After the Gold Rush by Neil Young – TIME Magazine – ALL-TIME 100 Albums". Time. November 2, 2006. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  24. ^ "Acclaimed Music".
  25. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (February 7, 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  26. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 62. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  27. ^ "The Guardian 100 Best Albums Ever List, 1997". Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  28. ^ "BILLBOARD MAGAZINE: American music magazine 1920's to 2017". Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Neil Young – After the Gold Rush". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 17, 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type After the Gold Rush in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Neil Young – After the Gold Rush". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 17, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]