After the Gold Rush (song)

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"After the Gold Rush"
Song by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
from the album After the Gold Rush
Released September 19, 1970
Recorded March 12, 1970
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:45
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Neil Young
Producer(s) Neil Young
David Briggs
After the Gold Rush track listing
"Tell Me Why"
"After the Gold Rush"
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"

"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 consists of three verses, two of which describe dream visions involving Mother Nature.[1] The three verses move forward in time from the past (a medieval celebration with the sun floating on the breeze), to the present (the singer lying, distressed, in bed with the full moon in his eyes when there is a nuclear bomb explosion i.e. sunburst), and, finally, the future (spaceships transporting the chosen ones to a new home in the sun). The theme of the sun links all three verses. On the original recording, in addition to Young's vocals, two instruments are used in the song: a piano and a french horn. The french horn solo in the middle of the song is often replaced by a harmonica solo by 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 is currently sung as "Look at Mother Nature on the run / in the 21st century."

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered numerous times. In 1973, it was interpreted by Prelude, whose a capella 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, The King's Singers, Michael Hedges, Nena, and Natalie Merchant. Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou 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 and 2012 world tours, Thom Yorke occasionally played this song solo, usually segueing into "Everything in Its Right Place." Patti Smith included it on her 2012 album, Banga. 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.'"[2] The 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. In 2017, the Detroits’ Seatbelts' cover was made into a video by Torontos’ Greasy King.[3] William Patrick Corgan (formerly known as Billy Corgan and front man for the Smashing Pumpkins) performed a cover version of "After the Gold Rush" on the October 16, 2017 episode of The Howard Stern Show. [4]