Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Comment of the Moment: #62 on the 100 Greatest Title Tracks Ever Laid Down On Wax - "After The Gold Rush" by Neil Young

UPDATE Oct 30, 2020: See PRE-ORDER: 50th Anniversary Edition "After The Gold Rush" by Neil Young + BONUS TRACK: "Wonderin'" (Official Music Video)
After The Gold Rush by Neil Young
(Click photo to enlarge)
 At the same time, After The Gold Rush by Neil Young was listed as #62 on the 100 Greatest Title Tracks Ever Laid Down On Wax | NPR. and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Déjà Vu" is listed  at #100.  
This inspired our Comment of the Moment on 50th Anniversary of Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" by Meta Rocker:

Check out #62, 96, and 100 on the list below. #99 is also worth noting in honor of Croz and the Byrds.

100 Greatest Title Tracks Ever Laid Down On Wax | NPR.

Since the link I posted lists a top 100 title tracks, I'll dip into that topic as concisely and coherently as I am able. I suspect the concept of a "title track" evolved out of marketing for early long play (LP) records. I have no hard sources on this, and maybe I should get some, but note how the Beatles' first UK album is labeled "Please Please Me with Love Me Do with 12 other songs". "Please Please Me" is, technically, an abbreviation. Also, side 1 starts with the song Please Please Me, while Love me Do leads off side 2 on the original vinyl.

EMI would have been using these previously issued singles to market the LP, which was then a quite new format, particularly in rock 'n' roll and other pop music (the label of "rock", which we take for granted today, also had yet to evolve in 1963). If my history is right, long players started with jazz and especially classical recordings, where longer pieces of music demanded playback media with increased capacity.

Until thing started to evolve for various reasons around the early '60s, 45rpm discs--and before them, 78s--were the fundamental unit of recorded music on the market. Early albums by popular artists were often, in effect, greatest hits compilations of singles. Therefore, it seems that a "title track" may have originally developed so that record companies could highlight successful, familiar songs in order to sell this novel, relatively expensive thing called an LP record. The Beatles' "Please Please Me" LP is a prime example of this clever strategy.

However, artists such as The Beatles developed the album into an art form all its own, so that within a few years, singles were promoting or previewing albums, not the other way around. Ideas, like the title song, that started as marketing devices began to take on aesthetic and artistic dimensions.

To write about all of Neil Young's title tracks would require a separate post. Yet I haven noted one or two interesting patterns: in terms of sequencing, the title track on a Neil Young album is--with a few notable exceptions--generally either track 2 or track 6. Check the track listings if you hadn't thought about this before. Occasionally, such as on Harvest Moon or SWA, they turn up as track 4. Even more rarely, they serve as opener (TFA) or closing number (H&D, FITR), or both (TtN). Then we have Journey Through the Past: neither the film nor its soundtrack album bothered using the song with the same name.

Neil has occasionally hinted that the convention of having a title track makes it easier to come up with names for the literally dozens of albums he has produced. But it's interesting to note how this all seems to derive from advertising gimmicks, reshaped and subverted to develop a novel art form.

Ironically, the digital age has almost put us back where we started: downloads and streaming have made the marketing of individual tracks economically viable again, whereas it just doesn't seem like a good deal when looking at the expanded capacity of cassettes and CDs. And of course, the ultimate in retro formats, the EP (extended play) has made a come back, particularly among young indie artists with hipster-ish tendencies, but also now with Neil himself due to release an EP of new recordings in September.

The only previous Neil EP I can think of is Eldorado, which I nearly forgot exists. Does anyone know of any others? For most purposes, the success of the LP format rendered EPs obsolete. Record companies tried to use them to promote LPs or deliver an "economy" option when LPs looked costly beside the familiar 45rpm, but that didn't last long.

For all that commodification has done to promote the mass production and distribution of music (and other arts), it's pleasing to see the artists adopt these profit-driven contrivances and actually do something creative and fulfilling with (or in spite of?) them.

Thanks  Meta Rocker, as always.  Very interesting and something we never considered.

We believe you're correct that the only previous Neil Young EP is Eldorado, which we examined in depth here back in April 2020.

More on  50th Anniversary of Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" with a major essay by Harvey Kubernik . 

Also, see GALLERY OPENING: Two Takes On Neil Young by Joel Bernstein & Henry Diltz.

Uncropped photo used for cover of After The Goldrush with Graham Nash in foreground
GALLERY OPENING: Two Takes On Neil Young by Joel Bernstein & Henry Diltz
Photo by Joel Bernstein

 Also, see Discovering After the Gold Rush: The Story Behind The Album Cover

"After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young 

 Discovering After the Gold Rush: The Story Behind The Album Cover

Also, at #100 on the 100 Greatest Title Tracks Ever Laid Down On Wax | NPR, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Déjà Vu".

See "50 Years On: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Déjà Vu" by Harvey Kubernik contains exclusive, never heard stories by Richard Bosworth on opening for Neil Young with Crazy Horse in 1969 which is truly revealing.

Deja Vu Photo Composites
via Susan Miller 
Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - 1970
More on "50 Years On: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Déjà Vu" by Harvey Kubernik.

UPDATE Oct 30, 2020: See PRE-ORDER: 50th Anniversary Edition "After The Gold Rush" by Neil Young + BONUS TRACK: "Wonderin'" (Official Music Video)

Labels: , ,


At 8/16/2020 11:14:00 AM, Blogger NYBD11-12 said...

Does “Don’t Spook the Horse” count as an EP? Or is it a single?

Everybody’s Rocking is under 30 minutes, so does it count as an EP? Either way, it’s boring (on vinyl at any rate).

At 8/16/2020 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

A title track requires enough substance and coherence for there to be a title. Unfortunately many albums use the best song(?) as a title. EP makes things perhaps more challenging. In my own view, many people who now make music have titles that make no sense at all.

The person who reviewed "El Dorado" for Uncut magazine called it "the greatest guitar album ever made." I would title that EP "Big Dark Monster Wave of Despair." Or perhaps "No Mercy."

Think about some great novels- the titles resonate with so much depth from the story. Louise Erdrich's "Love Medicine" or "The Sound and the Fury" and on and on. At their best the "title" is a cue to the depths of the story.

At 8/16/2020 03:13:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I’ve never been interested in these so called GREATEST lists, as they are merely an exercise in opinion. And as the old saying goes, everyone has one (opinion that is). If you ask one hundred people to list their 100 favorite “anything”, you will simply get 100 different lists. I honestly don’t find it of much interest. Ranking any creative endeavor neither adds or subtracts from its intrinsic value. It simply reflects individual taste of people who make lists. It may be of value to people who need validation for their personal taste, but that’s about all.

The same could be said for awards for artistic endeavors as well. Art is not a popularity contest, it’s a deep and personal reflection coming from a creative person. Art doesn’t need recognition to exist. Nor does it even need to be acknowledged to exist. Just my two cents.

Peace 🙏

At 8/16/2020 03:25:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I agree with you Dan, except I do believe there is far more than opinion when it comes to making judgments about good and bad art. The lists are silly.

At 8/16/2020 08:25:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Thanks for picking this up, thrasher!

I should note that I initially linked the top 100 article only for the sake of trivia, and because it synchronizes interestingly with our golden jubilees for AFTGR and Deja Vu, not because I take these lists very seriously. If anything, my ramblings deconstruct the "title track" concept, and should make clear that I look at the entire concept as being rather tenuous or contingent.

@Abner, I'm not entirely hung up on whether or not titles, and indeed title tracks, "make sense" in intellectual terms. Who can accuse I Am the Walrus or Lucy in the Sky of "making sense"? For that matter, what of the abstract and expressionist paintings of Kandinsky or Franz Marc? There's a rich tradition in literature and other art forms of trying to touch different aspects of the human brain, in various ways, apart from the logical, rational intellect we as humans like to pride ourselves upon. Literalism, I dare say, is the death of imagination and creativity in humans, leading directly to religious and ideological fundamentalism. But that's another conversation entirely.

Looking back at your comment, I think you may have meant "sense" in a more relative way: that the titles don't seem to compliment or shed light upon the music in some cases. Even then, I don't think that's a new condition, and I could probably name examples from within Neil's own catalogue of ambiguous or confusing titles. Either way, please forgive me if my digressions have misunderstood or mischaracterized your intentions.

Tim Rice, the lyricist of Jesus Christ Superstar, had a wonderfully pointed observation on the labeling of music: when it came time to market Superstar, the record execs were concerned about what rack it should go in at record stores. The Who had popularized the "rock opera" label with Tommy, so they jumped on that momentary trend. But as Rice reflected (in typically pithy English fashion), "you could call it a plate of egg and chips" and it would still be the same music. The point being, the labels we put on music are mostly born of the need to instantaneously communicate and market to a broad audience the ideas and sounds contained within that music. The only logic one would expect to find, then, behind most labels would be one geared toward moving units.

Admittedly, I'm giving the most (over)simplified and cynical take possible, but I would maintain that labels and titles typically give only a very broad, inevitably reductionistic sense of the content within.

~Om Shanti

At 8/17/2020 01:32:00 AM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Folks on here dissing the Shocking Pinks?!?


I'm hoping the "New Normal" that we are all being herded into doesn't include more of THAT.

At 8/17/2020 02:59:00 AM, Blogger Rasselas53 said...

I believe there was one officially released US EP by Neil and that was
Harvest in a so-called "Jukebox" release. See
There are one or two more EPs - at least according to Discogs - but they are either non-US releases (like Eldorado!) or promo/test pressings. So Harvest may actually be the only official US EP release. Someone is sure to prove me wrong though!

At 8/17/2020 08:32:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Meta-Rocker, you did not misunderstand me. Clearly a large topic. I am quite aware of the forms of art you mention. Yes, to make the larger point "make sense" would have to connect at the least literal levels but I think they do. You might look at it this way, if there is no sense in which they make sense, then there is no reason for that title (whatever it is). And this seems like a bad idea. And reductionist is unclear, a title might be an attempt to expand past the available content to something wider and broader (but grounded in the work). This is certainly true of many novels.

At 8/17/2020 10:35:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Abner, Right: all those forms or “schools” of art have their own internal logics and aims, which authors, artists, etc. are nonetheless constantly expanding, subverting, testing to their outer limits.

In terms of (post)structural linguistics, I suppose one could say it reduces to the lack of one-to-one correspondence between signifier and signified, hence all the “slippage” of meaning and understanding in both artistic expression and everyday communication.

These ambiguities are both a frustration and an asset in art, since they demand expansive, sometimes speculative thinking and seem to conspire against pinning a text to any singular, definitive meaning, allowing each reader/listener/viewer to connect with it in their own way and maybe to participate in the construction of meaning(s).

The point about reduction is possibly best illustrated with a brief example: on a can of soup, does the name on the label adequately convey what the soup tastes and smells like? Even the pictures nearly universal to food packaging rely on reference, that the prospective buyer is familiar with that kind of food and can make the connection between the image and some prior referent. In this way, titles and labels are the best possible shorthand to introduce something, but by their design don’t and can’t encompass the full content of that thing.

At 8/17/2020 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

yes, I agree with what you are saying.The notion that a title could capture all content is hopeless. we probably have some disagreements on language, semantics, and ambiguity. There are a priori conditions for the possibility of meaning- the very possibility of communication- and too much ambiguity will contradict these conditions. I approach these issues from the background of analytic philosophy and contemporary cognitive science.

At 8/17/2020 12:20:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Richie Cruz, Nothing against Shocking Pinks from me. I did overlook it on the title tracks post, but not on purpose. One of those records that has to be taken for the harmless fun it is, and a shame it got cut short by Geffen. Granted, Neil wouldn’t have had such success if every record sounded like that, but in the context of his whole, varied catalogue, it works as a whimsical diversion, particularly for those who appreciate ‘50s r&b.

At 8/17/2020 12:51:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Abner, Interesting... my approach is channeled more strongly through literary studies and the arts generally, which all comes with assumptions of its own. So I tend to get much of the philosophy second hand, both as a tool of lit crit and because art itself often formulates and expresses philosophy in (imho) more accessible and organic ways. More organic to me, anyhow, though I can see how others might find it the other way around.

One of my interests is with reader-response theories, which should (theoretically) have common ground with cognitive sciences, and offers a whole range of nuanced positions on how authors and audience can collaborate to produce a text’s meanings.

At 8/17/2020 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I really enjoy your commentary and ideas- all of my "disagreement" is entirely friendly and for the purposes of learning. Great getting to know you- I look forward to more of your comments.

At 8/17/2020 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

@Ian, well said.

Obviously, I wouldn't want every Neil album to be like Everybody's Rockin, but it is a fun little signpost on the Neil highway. Nowhere near his greatest work, of course, but Neil was sure having fun playing those tunes with that band, so it's all good with me.

And to call that music boring? Please. Not everything Neil does is gold, but he's NEVER been boring.

At 8/17/2020 05:08:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Richie, Yes—love the album cover, too, in all its stylized excess. I hope the Archives eventually showcase the Trans/Shocking Pinks combo shows. Those must have been a surreal ride, with Neil ostensibly embracing the contrast of styles.

@Abner, thanks and likewise. Think of it as a dialectical process, socratic call and response centered around a mutual connection to NY.


At 8/17/2020 05:35:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ ALL - well, as we often say here, thanks for everyone's insightful contributions -- once again demonstrating that Neil fans/rusties are some of the most knowledgeable, passionate and articulate music fans out there.

@ Metam Rocker - yes, the "dialectical process, socratic call and response centered around a mutual connection to NY" is what we've been struggling to achieve here all along.

It's literally taken decades to get there it seems. The discussions ebb and flow as folks migrate in and out of the extended rust community.

we're honored and humbled to make these connections. oddly, as the Great Unraveling/#BigShift continues, the bonds grow tighter.

At 8/17/2020 07:08:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Thanks, thrasher. Re: "great unraveling/big shift" or, as Richie puts it, being herded toward a new normal, I'll let Pete Seeger do the talking:

Maybe my invoking Pete will undermine my previous resistance to left/right political labels in the eyes of some, but I think the message--like Pete himself--ultimately transcends those boundaries, whether people realize as much or not.

Good night and thanks all for the contributions.


At 8/17/2020 11:32:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

honestly, the socratic process is not for me any longer, and no more dialectics. Good solid empirical and so, answerable, questions. Aesthetics is open to this process.

I always thought the Shocking Pinks album was really fun. "Jelly Roll Man" is so incredibly idiotic that it is good.

Hope everyone is well.

At 8/18/2020 05:47:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Abner, The dialectic/socratic thing was a bit facetious on my part—not something I’d say to anyone who didn’t have a background with philosophy. I can sympathize with your thirst for veracity in these times.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat