When Young Felt Old: Thoughts on “Heart of Gold”

I'm going to Portugal tonight for an actual vacation, so I thought I'd leave you with some music blogging.

Here's my favorite thing about Neil Young's "Heart of Gold:" Though the song's iconic refrain–keep me searching for a heart of gold, and I'm getting old–sounds, at first blush, like the lament of a middle-aged divorcĂ© or aging playboy, it was actually written when Young was just 26-years old. 

So we can add "Heart of Gold" to the file of beautiful, world-weary songs penned by folks in their mid-twenties. Here's what it sounded like when Young first debuted it on tour in 1971. (The music begins at 1:40)

  

My brilliant friend Ann Friedman recently linked to the Brooklyn soul singer Charles Bradley's cover of "Heart of Gold," and it really is fantastic. While Young's version is about a young man longing for real meaning in his personal life–perhaps for the first time–Bradley's interpretation is more straight-forward but just as deeply-felt, a bluesy recounting of a very long, sometimes futile, search for love. Enjoy.

 

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