Thursday, August 7, 2008

Neil Young, "After the Gold Rush"

One of the things I love in life is a good Neil Young impersonation. I loved Dana Carvey's take on Neil Young singing the "Mickey Mouse Club" song at an unspectacular Super Bowl halftime show, and I've been known to do a few Neil Young impersonations of my own.

Well, I'm going to have to learn a new one, as a song snippet played by Dan Patrick this morning has inspired me to look up the lyrics to Young's "After the Gold Rush." Here's the first verse:

Well, I dreamed I saw the knights
In armor coming,
Saying something about a queen.
There were peasants singing and
Drummers drumming
And the archer split the tree.
There was a fanfare blowing
To the sun
That was floating on the breeze.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.

Wikipedia links to a lyrics analysis. Before you run from the musicologists, at least listen to a bit of what they said:

[Randy Schechter] The...lines bring to mind man upsetting the delicate balance of nature with pollution, runaway technology, threats of (nuclear) war etc.

[] I think the three verses of the song talk about past, present and future. The idyllic vision of a medieval court is in stark contrast to the "burned-out basement" of the present....And the final verse is futuristic, and in a sense a return to the romantic....

[Jerry Keselman] I think one thing to remember is that the album was based upon a screenplay by Dean Stockwell (of Quantum Leap fame along with credited roles in too many movies to list) for a movie named, appropriately enough, "After the Goldrush". The movie (to my knowledge) was never made.

Randall Craig has uploaded a live version to YouTube. doesn't have Neil's version of the song, but it does have a traditional version by the Flaming Lips (30 second sample available) and an instrumental version by Michael Hedges (30 second sample available).

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