Neil Young

Heart of Gold

Composed by Neil Young

Song Review by

Like any number of rockers, Young took some cues from Nashville in the '70s. But unlike the others, "Country Neil" is convincingly earnest in his approach on "Heart of Gold," his only number one single from his only number one album, Harvest (1972). A little harmonica, a little peddle steel, his natural twang, and two simple verses that speak of the universal human condition are the song's essence. It's one of those four-chord songs even the most unskilled guitarist can play (Em-C-D-G), thus making it the ultimate campfire song and the first many children of the '70s learned to play on their acoustic guitars. It's difficult to imagine anyone but Young himself singing it -- and he's done that, at virtually every solo and acoustic performance he's played. The song is widely considered his signature.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Harvest 1972 Reprise / Warner Bros. 3:07
No Image 1973 Warner Bros.
Decade 1977 Reprise / Warner Bros. 3:07
No Image 1991 Silver Shadow 3:49
No Image 1992 Wall of Sound
No Image 1993 KTS 3:46
Oh What a Feeling, Vol. 2: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music 1996
Various Artists
Canadian Academy of Recording Art 3:09
There's a World 2000 1:15
Greatest Hits 2004 Reprise / Warner Bros. 3:07
Revolutions in Sound: Warner Bros. Records - The First 50 Years 2008
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:07
Neil Young Archives, Vol. I (1963-1972) [Video] 2009 Reprise
Heart of Gold/Sugar Mountain 2010 Reprise
Eat Pray Love [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2010
Original Soundtrack
Def Jam / Island / Island/Def Jam / Monkeywrench / Universal 3:08
Live on Air: The Lost Tapes 2011 IMV Blueline / XXL Media 3:40
Live In Concert 2009 2011 IDS / Rock Tapes
Cow Palace 1986 2012 Let Them Eat Vinyl
Official Release Series, Discs 1-4 2012 Reprise / Warner Bros. 3:07
No Image 2012
Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City 2015
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music 3:08
Cardinal Stadium, 1995 2016 All Access 3:50
The Story So Far 2017 Laser Media
No Image
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
The Document Blue Line Music / Laser Media 4:19
blue highlight denotes editor's pick