Here’s a video of another one of my favorite musicians, Neil Young, performing one of my favorite songs, The Needle and the Damage Done.
This particular video is from the Johnny Cash Show, where Cash often invited singers from all genres of music to perform. The show was rather short lived, only 58 shows between 1969 and 1971 on ABC, but had a significant impact. It featured artist ranging from Neil Young and Eric Clapton to Louis Armstrong to The Staler Brothers.
The song itself is about what Young saw as a problem among musicians at the time, heroin addiction. In particular, he wrote it about Danny Whitten, the guitarist in his band Crazy Horse. Whitten’s addiction eventually led to his death by overdose after Young had to dismiss him from the band.
If you’re a guitarist, the song itself isn’t that hard to play on a solo acoustic guitar if you work at it a bit. The progression is simple and the real trick to it is in learning how to move your fingers around the basic chord shapes like D, G and E to pick up the notes of the song.
As for Neil Young himself, I’ve enjoyed his music for a while but, as is the case with many musicians, I don’t care for his take on politics, finding them overly naive on international matters and too socialist on domestic concerns in most cases.