Last weekend I enjoyed seeing and hearing Neil Young as a young man and as an old man pour out from his own heart words, voice, guitar and harmonica. First was an MTVHD video of “Heart of Gold” from the Jonathan Demme film of the same name, followed by a performance, almost thirty years earlier, of “Helpless” in “The Last Waltz.” The studio recording of “Heart of Gold” is from Mr. Young’s 1972 record, Harvest and is to date his only #1 hit.
One very fond memory of mine is of a college break road trip from Tucson to Boston via Fort Hood, TX and Queens, NY. Back in 1978 or so, there were no iPods or even CD’s. We were lucky to have a cassette tape and a harmonica in my buddy’s 1973 Pontiac Grand Am that looked kinda like this. Anyway, over the course of the 48 hour drive, I pretty much thought I had the harmonica from the song nailed. No, I did. Not once in the 48 hours did any of my buddies attempt to leave the moving vehicle. On the contrary, during each of the many times we played it, we all sang along with all of our um, hearts. We were young, uninhibited and all searching for our own heart of gold.
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold
It’s these expressions I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old
I love lyrics and remember really feeling the words “And I’m getting old.” Yeah, I was feeling it. After all, I was like twenty and certainly my best days were behind me… It’s funny how that perspective changes as the miles roll by. Four score and there’s so much more…
Recently I was chatting with a friend about women and the type I find myself drawn to. “Maybe it’s because they have the kind of heart you need.” May be.
Certainly one of my favorite songs of all time, if not my favorite. It is the song that overlays my wedding video as well and it serves the video so well.
To me it’s not only about finding the heart, but finding a heart you want to wrap your body around. I have found the pieces in the past, but have yet to find the combination together.
As I drove out of the garage this morning a little after 5:00, I flipped on the radio and it was as if I had clicked to play this song. Haven’t heard it in years. It was a good start to the day. -M.