Neil Young’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ Is About More Than 1 Musician

Music icons similar to Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Dee Dee Ramone had been hooked on heroin, dropping their lives at a younger age. Over the years, many artists have penned highly effective songs about the ache of dropping family members to drug overuse. In 1971, Neil Younger wrote about the devastating results of heroin dependancy in “The Needle and the Damage Done.” The traditional rock legend was impressed to jot down the track after dropping an excellent good friend and bandmate to a drug overdose. Many followers imagine the track is about one particular person, nevertheless it represents many others who misplaced the battle.

Neil Younger’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ is about heroin dependancy

Neil Younger in 2015 | Frazer Harrison/Getty Photos

The track first appeared on Younger’s 1972 Harvest album, which included the hit singles “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man.” He selected a dwell acoustic efficiency from 1971 of “The Needle and the Damage Done” to incorporate on the album.

In keeping with Fandom, the track was additionally on Younger’s Decade compilation album. On the handwritten liner notes that accompanied the launch, the “After the Gold Rush” singer wrote, “I am not a preacher, but drugs killed a lot of great men.”

On the 2007 album Reside at Massey Corridor 1971, Neil Younger launched the track by saying, “I got to see a lot of great musicians who nobody ever got to see for one reason or another. But, strangely enough, the real good ones that you never got to see was because of heroin, and that started happening over and over, and it happened to someone that everyone knew about, so I just wrote a little song.”

Who’s Neil Younger’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ about?

In keeping with Songfacts, Neil Younger’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” is about “heroin use and what it will do to you in the end.”

Younger reportedly wrote the track about Danny Whitten, an unique member of Loopy Horse, who died from an overdose after a prolonged battle with heroin dependancy. The “Cinnamon Girl” singer employed Loopy Horse in 1971 to go on tour with him, however after Whitten repeatedly confirmed up excessive and unable to carry his guitar, Younger turned pissed off.

“Young fired him, gave Whitten 50 bucks (for rehab) and a plane ticket back to Los Angeles,” in response to Songfacts. “Upon reaching LA, Whitten overdosed on alcohol and Valium, which killed him.”

A number of months later, Younger misplaced a good friend, roadie Bruce Berry, to a heroin overdose. 

Neil Younger’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” has grow to be an anthem for individuals who’ve battled heroin dependancy. Legendary singer-songwriter Randy Newman advised American Songwriter: (*1*)

Different artists who’ve recorded the heartbreaking track

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A number of different artists have felt a connection to Neil Younger’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” and recorded their variations of the iconic track.

On the Pink Scorching Chili Peppers’ 1993 tour, famend bassist Flea typically took to the stage to carry out an acoustic model of the track. It was an emotional tribute to good friend and bandmate John Frusciante. The lead guitarist had briefly left the band in 1992 as he battled heroin dependancy.

In 1995, the Pretenders carried out the track in honor of Shannon Hoon, the frontman for Blind Melon, who died from a drug overdose. The Pretenders additionally misplaced their lead guitarist, Pete Farndon, in 1983 to heroin dependancy. 

As well as, Dave Matthews typically performed “The Needle and The Damage Done” in 2010 throughout his dwell performances, the identical 12 months Younger was named MusiCares Particular person of the 12 months. The nonprofit established by the Recording Academy presents restoration packages and describes itself as “the safety net supporting the health and welfare of the music community.”

Different artists who’ve lined the hit track embrace Eddie Vedder, Gregg Allman, Seether, Tori Amos, and Jewel. Far Out claims “The Needle and the Damage Done” is “quite possibly the greatest anti-drug song you’ll ever hear.”

Learn how to get assist: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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