Neil Young’s “Old Man” Was Written With A “Heart Of Gold”

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Some artists are truly wise beyond their years, despite all the fame and fanfare of Hollywood. For folk legend Neil Young, this was evident when he released his classic hit “Old Man” at 26 years old.

The song was written as a heartfelt, touching tribute to the caretaker of his Northern California, Ranch. It’s juxtaposes a young man’s life to an old man’s and how, to some extent, the share the same needs, clearly reflecting on the impact the “old man” caretaker had on Neil Young’s fortunate, yet humbling life.

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In the movie “Heart of Gold”, Young introduces the song as follows:

“About that time when I wrote (“Heart of Gold”), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.”

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He tells a similar story when introducing the song at a February 23, 1971 performance broadcast by the BBC (in which he says that he purchased the ranch from “two lawyers”):

 

This heartfelt video gets you to look at yourself and reflect upon what you’ve learned from others.

“Old Man”

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

 

“Heart Of Gold”

I want to live,
I want to give
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.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

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I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold.
I’ve been in my mind,
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold.

And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

Keep me searching for a heart of gold.
You keep me searching and I’m growing old.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.

What is your favorite Neil Young song? Share in the comment section at the bottom of this post!

Sources: LittleThings.com and Wikipedia

 

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