Friday, April 23, 2010

After the Gold Rush

Neil Young is an acquired taste. I know this myself, as I first discovered him as a prepubescent who was only just beginning to discover my Rock sensibilities. I remember commenting negatively on his high-pitched, reedy (some would say whiny) voice to my older sister when I first heard his Harvest album. Now, of course it is one of my most favourite albums, and except for a strange period in the '80s, (his -- not mine!), I have been a fan of his since then.
The following song has always haunted me, as the lyrics are so mysterious. Is it a fantastical vision of earth's doom? Or maybe just a drug induced dream sequence?
I found an interesting discussion of the lyrics on this forum:

Although I do love Neil's version of the song, I also find this a cappella version so beautifully harmonious, and the video has such fantastically beautiful pictures that I had to share it with you.

Video by feythdemacedo

Now, here are the lyrics with a bit of a different perspective. I have chosen to illustrate them with scenes from various productions from the repertoire of Richard Armitage.  They include: Robin Hood (BBC) 2006-2009 Sir Guy of Gisborne; Spooks /MI-5, Season 7 2008 Lucas North; Strike Back 2010 John Porter; and Star Wars Episode 1, the Phantom Menace 1999  Naboo fighter pilot (uncredited).
If I were more talented, (and had the proper equipment) I would do a fanvid. Anybody out there care to help me with this? "Or do it for me", I think, with a sheepish grin.

Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming

Saying something about a queen

There were peasants singing and drummers drumming

And the archer split the tree

There was a fanfare blowing to the sun 
That was floating on the breeze

Look at mother nature on the run
In the twenty-first century 
Look at mother nature on the run
In the twenty-first century 

I was lying in a burned out basement 

With the full moon in my eyes 

I was hoping for replacement 

When the sun burst through the sky 
There was a band playing in my head
And I felt like I could cry 

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

Well I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flyin'
In the yellow haze of the sun 

There was laughing, crying and colors flying
All around the chosen one 
All in a dream, all in a dream, the loading had begun 

Flying mother nature's silver seed to a new home in the sun
They were flying mother nature's silver seed to a new home

I should apologize to hard-core Neil Young fans that the lyrics are not quite the same as originally written. I must admit I copied the lyrics from a version done by Dolly Parton! Wow! Who else has covered this song?
I was going to change them back, but I had already made my picture choices by then so... unless someone out there can find a good picture of Richard Armitage where he it looks like he "feels like getting high", I think I will just leave it like that...

Pictures are from the treasurehouse screencap galleries of, and, also a great source was I nabbed the picture of RA with Natalie Portman from Nat's blog --  I'm not sure where I got the other ones! Please let me know if I need to give someone the credit! The last photo is by Tom Raven on

***UPDATE: ***September 18, 2010
I have finally posted a video version of this song, using Neil Young's original song (couldn't find a good version of him singing with the "21st century" lyric which I would have preferred).  At first the video was blocked, but hopefully I have successfully disputed this claim.
Here is the link on Youtube if you would like to watch:


tyme_4_t said...

I think this is fantastic! Well done!
I like this format with the lyrics and corresponding pics shown below - this makes you slow down and read which in this hectic world is nice I think.

Phylly3 said...

Thanks for commenting tyme_4_t! Nice to hear from you as always!!

Traxy said...

I agree with tyme_4_t. Fanvids are nice, but they're sort of common - nice to see a beautiful piece of text interspersed with some great pictures! Matching pictures with text is an artform as well, so don't worry about not being able to make a fanvid. You're doing really well. :)

I was thinking "Oooh, Neil Young!" and then I realised I was actually thinking of Neil Diamond. Haha! Have a nice weekend. :)

Phylly3 said...

I like Neil Diamond's voice, but as I discovered (rather embarassingly) I cannot sing his songs in karaoke! Whereas I could handle Neil Young's higher voice. LOL But I really love singer / songwriters and it is Young's songwriting skills that I most admire.

MaryKwizMiz said...

WOW - phantastic post. I got into Neil Young during my (long past) student days, and was even trying to learn guitar back then to properly play/sing his songs. Good thing I saw the light early enough not to pester my fellow students with howling and whining :D (now, there are better voices than Neil's but you're right - as a writer he's legend)
I was recently reminded when I played Sugar Mountain and Heart of Gold at one of my quizzes.. and 70% of the teams looked at me, asking "Neil Who"?
Anyways, I adore your choice of pics and lyrics - wonderful selection. Thanks for making my Saturday (mid)night :D

Avalon said...

Loved the RA photos...
Dreamy post and you know I love to dream.

Skully said...

I don't think I'll be able to listen to my Neil Young records in the same way ever again! Rust Never Sleeps is my fav :)

Anonymous said...

you're really great at associating general imagery with specific images of Mr. Armitage -- this makes an impressive collage!