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Heart Of Gold

November 26, 2022

I remember that Neil Young’s Heart of Gold was one of the first songs I learned to play on a guitar back in the very early 1970’s. It was a favorite of guitar playing friend Ray Allopena as well. We strummed the hell out of this chestnut and we loved every minute of it as we played every Friday in a joint called The Loading Zone in Woodland Hills, California.

One reason I liked the song so much was that in my youth I could identify with it so fully. “I’ve been to Hollywood, I’ve been to Redwood” is the opening line of the song’s second verse. Indeed I had been to both and I very much understood Neil Young’s juxtaposition. They are extreme opposites on the trail to happiness, the longest trek that most of will make in our lives. Later in life I even “crossed the ocean for a heart of gold,” living in Italy for two decades. Lastly, I also identified with the line, “I’ve been in my mind, it’s such a fine line.” That was a bragging line that many of us used in the early 1970s.  Some of us actually did get into our own heads without the drugs and found that there was more in that cavern other than the word groovy.

We have probably all been miners for a heart of gold. Some of us have struck pay dirt and some of us are still heaving away with our picks and shovels. Me? I found my gold in my second wife as I was leaving the music production business in Hollywood. Four decades of bliss have followed. But like the last line of each verse states, “…. And I’m gettin’ old.”

Here are the complete lyrics:

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

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

In case this one has slipped through your gray matter over the years, I have included the original version here:

By the way, yes that is Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor singing backup toward the end of the song. The nice thing about many musicians (including myself) is that we are happy to help out on our friends’ albums and live performances.

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From → America, History, Music

One Comment
  1. A great song! Thanks, Allen, for this post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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