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Friday, February 14, 2014

Gram Parsons and Neil Young: Valentine's Day Late Edition

Gram Parsons Grievous Angel Neil Young - After The Gold Rush

Here's a Valentine's Day Late Edition post.

Earlier in the day, we had a "happy" post with a video for that timeless song of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold".

So for the Valentine's Day Late Edition post, here are some Gram Parsons and Neil Young songs about getting your heart torn out.

From Neil Young and Gram Parsons Get Their Hearts Torn Out | Consequence of Sound by Henry Hauser:

“Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, off Neil Young’s spectacular ’70 LP After the Gold Rush, marked the singer-songwriter’s first top 40 hit as a solo artist. In this touching, delicate ballad, Young sings that only true love has the power to bring us to our knees. With a wistful, haunting timbre, he bemoans a shattered friend that “hides his head inside a dream.” Unable to shake the “down that he’s found,” this piteous fellow has devolved into a hollow shell. Rather than criticizing his forlorn pal’s inability to get on with life, Young sympathizes, likening a broken heart to the end of the world. Delivering his lyrics in soft spurts, the singer rhetorically questions, “What if your world/ Should fall apart?” Harmonizing beautifully with Stephen Stills and Crazy Horse members Danny Whitten and Ralph Molina, Young repeats the song’s titular lyric over and over as the track fades.

Originally penned by husband and wife songwriting team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, “Love Hurts” has been covered by The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, hard rockers Nazareth, Cher, Rod Stewart, Don McLean, Joan Jett, Heart, Jenny Lewis, and countless others. But the version appearing on Gram Parsons’ posthumous LP, Grievous Angel, is the song that plays in my head when love’s got me down. Backed by crestfallen vocals and a lachrymose steel pedal guitar, the alt-country track sounds all at once mournful and admonishing. In a duet brimming with abjection and sorrow, Parsons and Emmylou Harris rifle off the bitter consequences of love: scars, wounds, pain, and tears. Denouncing love as “just a lie made to make you cry,” the singers implore us to be wary of consigning our hearts to reckless sadists. Gram Parsons’ guitar solos are arresting and plaintive, like freezing rain on an icy sidewalk. Much like Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, the track ends with a return to the title line as vocals grow faint: “Ooo-hoooo love hurts!”

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At 2/15/2014 05:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that you mention Gram Parsons. Definitely an artist that I would've placed in the same league as Neil Young, had he been around a little longer. Especially Grievous Angel and The Gilded Palace of Sin are as good as any Young record. Tremendous masterpieces, sometimes with the same kind of hippie rebellion.

They do evoke the same kind of feelings and imagery within me. Neil was more versatile and more creative, though. Gram started covering and rerecording his own songs quite soon. What a shame he took too much. I really loved the Fallen Angel documentary.

Too bad their paths crossed just once, as told in Shakey. Would've been something: A Neil Young & Gram Parsons album!


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