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Monday, April 08, 2024

ECLIPSED: What's The Deal with Neil Young & The Moon?


Today is the day ... the day of the Big Eclipse of 2024 in North America.

Paths of Totality - April 8

UPDATE: View from TW's Glass Enclosed Nerve Center/Control Room/HQ

As many Neil Young fans know so well, Neil has a "special" relationship with the Moon.

Neil Young has consistently tried to be in the peak recording zone in during the full moon phase. Key tour dates will align with a full Moon.  It would seem whenever there is a full moon, Neil makes all attempts to lock into the creative forces which a full moon inspires.



Neil Young's 1992 "Harvest Moon" is the followup to his most commercially successful album "Harvest" -- some 20 years later.

So why is a Harvest Moon so special to Neil Young fans?


But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

If you take a look at the comments on YouTube for Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", you begin to better understand the song's intense emotional draw and deep resonance across the generations and over the decades.

With nearly 100 million views and 22,000+ comments, it is the most popular Neil Young song on YouTube. (See some example comments on  "Harvest Moon"'s appeal).

For us here @ Thrasher's Wheat, Harvest Moon has held a sacred spot in the discography and concert spaces of Neil Young's music.


Many may recall back in 2008, when Steve and his girlfriend Danielle made a request for "Harvest Moon" to played when Neil Young visited Brisbane, Australia. And by some extremely wonderfully little miracle, Neil Young actually did perform "Harvest Moon" that night and it brought a tear of joy for many around the world.

Then in 2009, Gavin in Ireland Requested "Harvest Moon" in memory of his father. Wish granted. And shortly thereafter, another Wish for "Harvest Moon" was Granted to Liza in Germany.

So we here at Thrasher's Wheat hold the song and this night very dearly. 3 fans that we've never met, on 3 continents touched by Harvest Moon magic. We know that some of you may not understand.Reviews of Neil Young's Harvest Moon.

Last we checked years ago, there are dozens and dozens of Moon references in  Neil Young's songs. For example:

  • After The Goldrush: I was lyin' in a burned out basement With the full moon in my eyes.
  • Amber Jean:  Every morning got sun to shine Every day got plenty of time  Every night there's a moon so fine  There for you, my Amber Jean.
  • Berlin: Lights are shining in the German sky  Cosmic walls between the  moon and I  Don't know where I started from
  • Big Green Country: Across the plain flew the lone grey rider  Leather bag  pounding on his back  Above the clouds the moon was climbing higher ...
  • Cinnamon Girl:  A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night, You see us  together, chasing the moonlight..
  • Coastline: Oooweee, baby, what a night  That old moon sure is shinin' bright  We'll be dancin' 'til the mornin' comes
  • Don't Let It Bring You Down:  Old man lying by the side of the road  With the  lorries rolling by,  Blue moon sinking from the weight of the load...
  • Give Me Strength: I'm riding down swept road in my old car  The moon is  almost full except for stars.
  • Harvest Moon:  But there's a full moon risin'  Let's go dancing in the light  We know where the music's playin' Let's go out and feel the night..
  • Hawaiian Sunrise:  Pretty Maui Mama  Lying over the water  With my moon in  your eyes  From my hotel window in the clouds  I love you right out loud..
  • Helpless: Blue, blue windows behind the stars, Yellow moon on the rise,  Big birds flying across the sky, Throwing shadows on our eyes.
  • I'm The Ocean: On the long plain  See the rider in the night  See the  chieftain  See the braves in cool moonlight  Who will love them...
  • Let It Shine:  There's a moon roof over my head, my Lord  And my Lincoln is  still the best thing built by Ford  Let it roll, let it roll although...
  • Like a hurricane: Far across the moonbeam  I know that's who you are,  I saw your brown eyes  Turning once to fire.
  • Opera Star:  Well you grew up on a corner  And you never missed a moonlit  night.
  • Over And Over:  At night when the sky is clear and the moon is shining down  My heart goes running back to you
  • Sail Away:  As long as we can sail away  There'll be wind in the canyon Moon on the rise  As long as we can sail away
  • Southern Pacific:  Roll on  Southern Pacific  On your silver rails  Through  the moonlight
  • Sweet Joni:  Sweet Joni from Saskatoon  There's a ring for your finger  It shines like the sun  But it feels like the moon.
  • The Old Country Waltz:  Out the window the moon shines  On the roofs of the  cars  While I knock down tequila and salt, oh.
  • The Old Homestead:  Up and down the old homestead  The naked rider gallops  through his head  And although the moon isn't full  He still feels the pull  (...)  And the sky was darkened by a prehistoric bird  Who flew between the  unfulfilled moon  And the naked rider...
  • This Old House:  Later, we came back in the moonlight  And made love right  where the kitchen is
  • Thrasher:  They were hiding behind hay bales,  they were planting in the full  moon  They had given all they had for something new
  • Time Fades Away:  All night sentries watch the moonglow  All are waiting till  the time is right
  • Train Of Love: Sail along, sail along silver moon  Don't be blue  Throw  shadows in my room... 

Also, see:

Also, here's a collection of album reviews and commentary of Neil Young's Harvest Moon.

"Harvest Moon"
Neil Young: Silver and Gold

Bass Concert Hall, Austin, Texas

(More on Neil Young's "Harvest Moon"


"They were hiding behind hay bales,  
they were planting in the full moon  
They had given all they had for something new" 
Enjoy your Totality!!! 

ps - Tired of eclipse chatter b/c you're outside of the Totality zone? Then this video *might* be for you ... but maybe not. Titled "This Video Is Not About the Eclipse" by Truthstream Media, this is tough stuff.  If you can handle "The Big Shift", then maybe this video is for you. WARNING: Video gets very emotional about half way in so buckle up, take a deep breath, get some tissues, and prepare to take a fork in the road.   (thanks Mel!)

"Do something that makes you feel joy today. Do not allow the fearmongers to pull you down into the pit. Rise above them. Love you all."

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At 4/08/2024 05:19:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Lights are shining in the German sky
Cosmic walls between the moon and I
After Berlin.

At 4/08/2024 05:20:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

You had it alright. I was looking for "After Berlin" on your list.

At 4/11/2024 12:10:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

"Under moon, under sun/I feel the chosen one/through the mists/come walking here with me"--No Hidden Path. The album Colorado was originally going to be Pink Moon. I'm almost certain Grey Riders mentions the moon, too. And have we included Sweet Joni? Moon rhymes with Saskatoon.

It seems misplaced to talk too much about the history of magical or spiritual associations with the lunar cycle--especially full moons. Many people will think of astrology, but there's need to be "esoteric". As a quick online search shows, the word month is directly related to the moon. The western calendar (which we got from the Romans) isn't perfectly in sync with the moon, but it's based on and modified from it.

For farmers and gardeners, seasonal changes are obviously crucial, which is one reason lots of celebrations happen around the equinoxes and solstices. Before anyone had a Rolex (let alone the Apple Watch), moon phases helped track the time in between. The date of Easter changes because it coincides with Passover, which is related to the spring equinox and full moon.

Today people may not think much about the moon, if they even notice it. Industry and city life has probably changed how humans relate to time. Agriculture depends on seasonal rotation. At the factory or the office, you track how many hours you work. Instead of using time to measure growth in the organic sense, it's used mainly to enforce productivity.

At 4/11/2024 12:11:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Sorry--that should be "there's *no* need to be esoteric."

At 4/11/2024 10:20:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Meta Rocker, as always.

yeah, recall Colorado was originally going to be Pink Moon. But guess the Nick Drake album had 1st dibs on title. btw, that's a good retro classic to dial back to sometime.

ahh, The Moon. Talk about a timeless Neil topic. This one goes way to early rust days and Anne, Our Lady of the Northern Moons. She was from Finland, as best we recall.

She knew her moons. not just astrology stuff but all the myths and legends. She was one of the 1st to get us into the mystical, esoteric sides of Neil.

At 4/11/2024 11:04:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dionys - see you on the dark side of the moon ... or down on the rail -- whichever comes 1st

At 4/11/2024 01:33:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@ Meta : The last few years I was a tour guide I had several people see the moon during the day, and said “hey look, they can see the moon here during the day”. So I just assume that as our species began using smart phones, they just quit looking up anymore.

Peace 🙏

At 4/11/2024 02:23:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Dan, Also if you’re in a city, metro area with streetlights, you can’t see the sky as easily. We’ve built lots of stuff to obscure the view. “City lights at a country fair…”

I don’t want to come across reactionary. There are benefits to urban growth, technology, and industry. There are advantages and drawbacks to both rural and metropolitan lifestyles. Maybe the simplest reason for Neil’s connection with the moon is to stay grounded. It reminds us that we’re human beings on a planet, relying on earth’s resources and natural cycles for sustenance.

At 4/11/2024 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Not to mention the effects of a full moon on our bodies and mind.

Peace 🙏

At 4/13/2024 06:04:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

With advancing age one would assume that Neil Young (much like his ageing fan base) might turn from being a night owl (nightingale) towards a lark (early to be and early to rise, not to speak of senile night wandering).

After having moved from the country side to the city of München I also ended up sleeping in the attic with 8 large roof windows and I can't complain about having too little moonshine. On a full moon I have to roll down the blinds because the light is bright enough for reading. That's where "sleepnessless awaits" nowadays. Needless to say that I catch the moon on both ends of the night, anyway.

With the moon being an obvious and regular signature of Neil Young's lyrics the more interesting thing to me would be when "the morning sun has yet to climb the hood ornament" ("Roll Another Number") or when it's time to "hit the road before it's light" ("Thrasher" again). It's the exceptions to a rule that deserve our attention.

At 4/13/2024 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

I am interested in the effect the full moon has on humans. I am grateful that Neil Young records around the full moon, especially because it inspires him when he is under the influence of its pull. Neil Young is correct in believing that people are more energized when under the moon’s full power, when the tide is highest. We sleep less, whether in the city or far away from urban areas, research has shown. Historically there have been innumerable invasions by armies during the full moon. It’s easier to travel by the light of the moon, especially because humans are energized by it. We can all thank the moon for helping Neil record a huge portion of his works of Art.

Dan, I can see how it would blow one’s mind to have people surprised to see the moon in the daytime. It is after all on a 23 hour cycle. It’s not just the phones that have made people witless and mentally sluggish. It’s a failure in the educational world, and a missed opportunity for those in cities, living indoors, or glued to their phones.

Back in my day my friends and I would go hiking in the Santa Monica mountains on a Friday or Saturday night. The lights of the city would help us see our way, or a visit from the full moon. We were nature lovers & spent many a day or night in those mountains.

UW has done some research on this lunar topic:

Your Brother Alan in Seattle

At 4/13/2024 12:56:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

@ Thrasher : Thank you! Another interesting, creative, intelligent post on your fantastic blog! This topic looms large above the Art we love by our music hero, Neil Young! Long May You Run!

Your Brother Alan in Seattle

At 4/17/2024 08:59:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Astrology is not esoteric, it is nonsense. I mean literally "nonsense" (self-refuting). I suppose this is not a very popular thing to say but it somehow seems necessary if we are going to be serious. There is no evidence that supports the claim that "the stars" have influence on human behavior or human well-being. Predictions based on "astrology" are vacuous (they cannot be confirmed or falsified). I think the best hypothesis is that our perceptions of the moon, the full moon, etc.., in relation to cultural myths do have a consequence for human behavior. This is, of course, quite real. There is also something "spiritual" about the cycle of the seasons as our awareness of that cycle helps ground us in the world.

At 4/17/2024 10:08:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

My reference to the esoteric was a bit facetious. If you want a more serious opinion, I see things like astrology, tarot, I-ching (and so on) as attempts, and perhaps not very successful ones, to fill in gaps: to elucidate things humans find inexplicable or unknowable. It’s interesting from the viewpoint of how we develop systems of symbols in trying to express ideas or feelings we otherwise struggle to articulate.

Thought experiments can stimulate sensory perceptions and vice versa—the body/mind connection. This is helpful for the imaginative faculties. I usually prefer to start with the bodily, which it seems to me is more known and tangible. We can’t always trust our sensory perceptions to reflect objective reality, but they are at least “real” or authentic in an experiential sense and can often be observed in terms of brain chemistry.


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