Neil Young -” Needle and the Damage Done”
This haunting song first appeared on the Harvest album in 1972. It was particularly disturbing because the innocent “peace and love” days were over and many people had passed into some dark ways. At a concert in 1971, Neil Young said this about the song: “Ever since I left Canada, about five years ago or so… and moved down south… found out a lot of things that I didn’t know when I left. Some of ’em are good, and some of ’em are bad. Got to see a lot of great musicians before they happened… before they became famous… y’know, when they were just gigging. Five and six sets a night… things like that. And I got to see a lot of, um, 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… ’cause of, ahhm, heroin. An’ that started happening over an’ over. Then it happened to someone that everyone knew about. So I just wrote a little song.”
And so it went. Numerous deaths occurred due to drugs, and some of those who made it through have discovered they have hepatitis and other health issues stemming from using needles with others.
I always hoped this song would scare people away from using heroin and other substances. Maybe it has, but it won’t bring back those we lost.