Neil Young & U2

We reached the middle of the week on Wednesday with a classic from Neil Young, Harvest, his most popular album ever. It topped the album chart in 1972, anchored by the #1 single, “Heart of Gold”. And while much has made over the years about Neil’s refusal or inability to duplicate Harvest, this album is really just Neil Young being himself with good timing(for commercial success). Listening back to Harvest today, it doesn’t really come off like a calculated attempt to have a hit album with it’s wide ranging mix of styles and influences. There’s a ragged country feel that pervades much of the record which was partially recorded in Nashville with a steel guitar featured prominently. There’s also some rugged Crazy Horse jamming, live acoustic playing and even several shakey Neil type songs with the backing of a symphony orchestra. Doesn’t sound like a sure fire formula for success but it sold well back in the day. We listened to Side two.

On Thursday, we spotlighted the subject of our Thursday Artist Portrait, U2 with a side from their third album, War from 1983. It was the best of their pre-Joshua Tree output, pushing the group in a more mainstream direction with songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Years Day”, pieces that also seem to reflect U2’s Irish heritage in a country troubled by secterian strife. We tracked Side one from start to finish.