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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nicolette Larson's "Lotta Love" & Neil Young

Nicolette Larson's "Lotta Love" written by Neil Young.

Nicolette Larson is best remembered for her 1979 cover of Neil Young's "Lotta Love" which was a #1 hit and launched her musical career.

Regarding the song "Lotta Love", she said "I got that song off a tape I found lying on the floor of Neil's car. I popped it in the tape player and commented on what a great song it was. Neil said: 'You want it? It's yours.' "

Nicolette Larson: 1952 - 1997

Sadly, Larson died in 1997 at the age of 45 after suffering a cerebral edema.

In August 2005, during the Neil Young's Nashville Ryman concerts, "Young referred repeatedly to the late singer Nicolette Larson" among the personal losses Young has experienced.

The "Lotta Love Concert," a tribute to late vocalist Nicolette Larson was staged Feb. 21-22, 1998, at the Santa Monica, CA Civic Auditorium.

The event featured performances from Dan Fogelberg, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jimmy Buffet, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt and Little Feat with Bonnie Raitt, a number of whom Larson recorded with in her lifetime.

A Tribute To Nicolette Larson: Lotta Love Concert
Artist & Track Details

From the Tribute CD's liner notes:
"Neil Young, urged by Emmylou and her producer-husband, Brian Ahern, ambled down malibu's Broad Beach to play some tunes for Linda and found her harmonizing with Nicolette. So were born the Bullets on American Stars'n Bars. The next year Nicolette backed up Young on Comes A Time"."

(Thanks firehills!)

The liner notes also says of the Tribute concert that "Neil Young sent a bouquet of roses as big as the audience. He could only attend in spirit on the group encore of 'Lotta Love'".

From a profile on Nicolette Larson in Rolling Stone #280, December 14, 1978 (The Uncool - The Official Site for Everything Cameron Crowe):
One evening when Linda Ronstadt got a call from Neil Young, a Malibu neighbor, looking for a female vocal accompanist. Ronstadt mentioned Nicolette to Young, who had already been given Larson's name three times that day. He promptly came over with guitar in hand.

'I didn't know much about Neil Young,' remembers Larson. 'But we went over and sat by the fireplace and Neil ran down all the songs he had just written, about twenty of them. We sang harmonies with him and he was jazzed.'

A week later Young invited Larson and Ronstadt up to his northern California ranch/studio to re-create the same vocal mix for his American Stars and Bars album. 'We [Neil and Crazy Horse] worked out the songs in a room of his house,' says Larson. 'And just when we had the songs down, Neil said, 'Thanks a lot... we've got the album.' He was recording all the rehearsals secretly in another room.'

Larson didn't hear from Young until six months later, when he summoned her to Nashville where he was beginning Comes a Time. Young wanted her to front a twenty-two-piece studio band with him - dubbed the Gone with the Wind Orchestra. 'He told me to sing whatever I wanted,' says Larson. 'You can hear me trying to work the parts out on the album.'"

From a profile on Neil Young in Rolling Stone #284, February 8, 1979 (The Uncool - The Official Site for Everything Cameron Crowe):
After the Ducks episode, Young had taken his son Zeke for a cross-country ride in his tour bus. They ended up in Nashville and Neil decided to begin his next record there. Young rounded up a crew of sidemen that included country session musicians who had never played anything resembling rock, a singer – Nicolette Larson – he had worked with on American Stars ‘n Bars, and six acoustic guitarists.

Young began his most accessible and ultimately best-selling album since Harvest. “I was feeling pretty sunny,” he recalls. Nicolette Larson had kept a tape of some of the material from when she and Neil first met and sang together at her friend Linda Ronstadt’s house. When the phone call came from Nashville, she was ready.

Young barely had to show her the songs before they were singing the duets that appear on the album. The Gone with the Wind Orchestra, as the entire conglomeration of twenty-two musicians was called, lasted throughout the album and for one live performance, on Young’s thirty-second birthday, at an outdoor benefit for children’s hospitals in the Miami Beach area.

Young rehearsed the outfit in a Nashville storefront and flew everyone to Florida where, sharing the windy stage with Nicolette, he played what could well have been his purest and most note-perfect performance ever. The show ended with Young playing part of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” which he dedicated to “a couple of friends in the sky.”

A visit to Young’s house in Zuma Beach a month later found him and Nicolette in floppy sweaters before the fireplace – Ma and Pa Kettle at home. Young made some coffee, put on the tape, and they sang with themselves while Comes a Time played.

Also, see Nicolette Larson Covers 'Lotta Love' on YouTube.

More on the Nicolette Larson Tribute: The "Lotta Love Concert", Feb. 21-22, 1998, at the Santa Monica, CA Civic Auditorium.

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At 3/09/2012 09:36:00 AM, Blogger firehills said...

I still don't know why Neil didn't show up at that tribute in Santa Monica. Do you?

At 3/11/2012 06:02:00 AM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Thanks Thrasher for this interesting research.

Nicolette Larson was his lover too.
There's almost no trace of Susan Acevedo and Carrie Snodgress on Archives Vol.1.

This is pretty sad.

So Tired.

At 2/15/2016 05:39:00 AM, Blogger Martin Michael said...

It is very sad. Reading this put me into their lives, I felt as though I were there. God bless


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