Billboard #1 Hits: #269: ” Heart Of Gold”- Neil Young. March 18, 1972. #1 for 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.

  • Single: “Heart Of Gold”- Neil Young
  • Record Company- Reprise
  • Genre: Folk Rock
  • Written by Neil Young
  • Time: 3:07
  • B-side: “Sugar Mountain”
  • Album- Harvest
  • Grade: A+
  • Peaked at #1 1 week in Billboard Hot 100. #10 in UK Singles Chart. #1 in Canada.

One day in the late 70’s I heard “Like A Hurricane” on the radio and thought I’d better check out this Neil Young fella. I bought his triple album compilation of his first decade of recording- Decade and there was no turning back. What shocked me was to read that Neil had had a #1 hit- “Heart Of Gold.” The only other time he had a song of his in the Top 30- was in 1970- as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young- his “Ohio” peaked at #13. Certainly “Heart Of Gold” was a fluke hit. Odd also- the song that replaced it at #1- “Horse With No Name”- sounds a lot like Neil. ” Heart Of Gold” features James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt singing back up. It was also written in part because of a back injury Neil had. He couldn’t stand up for long periods of time due to the injury so he turned to his acoustic guitar- and this song was one of the results. Bob Dylan while a big Neil Young fan hated hearing this song on the radio because he thought it sounded like him.

Neil would say of “Heart Of Gold”- “This song put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch . A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there.

9 responses to “BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #269: “HEART OF GOLD”- NEIL YOUNG – MARCH 18, 1972

  1. Harvest was Neil’s finest album and afterwards he went way out of his way to prove he wasn’t a sell-out” (i.e., Tonight’s the Night). Yeah, I remember being very confused by “Horse With No Name” because it sounded SO MUCH like Neil and CSN&Y.

    • I had always heard the similarity but when I found out they were back to back at #1 on the charts! Crazy. I wonder if Neil ever covered it? Probably not.

    • Funny- Bob Dylan’s reaction to Neil’s “Heart Of Gold” similar. I really never found any of America’s other hits -sounding like ol’ Neil..

    • You’re right. America’s other hits were not in the same mold.

      Speaking of imitation’s, Roger McGuinn tells the story that he was scratching his head when he heard “American Girl” on the radio in 1976, and wondered when he had recorded it. He and Byrds-admirer, Tom Petty, became friends as a result.

  2. Three days in a row with an A+ from the 70s! nice! A great tune. I had same reaction others did to your description – Dylan didn’t like this because he thought Neil was ripping off his sound, meanwhile Neil was mad because America were ripping off his at the same time. (And lets not even get started on John Fogerty and the Hollies ‘Long Cool Woman’ LOL)

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