Harvest – Neil Young
Between Christmas and New Years a few years back my family and extended family went skiing at Big White for a few days. I was at the bar with my uncle (and a few others) one night when I first heard the (shouted) story of how Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was actually a response to Neil Young’s skewering in ‘Alabama’ – he essentially called the white people of Alabama racist and ignorant, so Skynyrd wasn’t pleased. How I didn’t find this out when I was a kid or put the pieces together myself somewhere along the way I don’t know (and I’m forever embarrassed about it), but I never really understood Neil Young’s cultural impact until I heard that. And he clearly kicked Skynyrd’s ass.
‘Harvest’ is routinely picked as one of the best Canadian albums and one of the best albums around period, and really I don’t need to tell anyone more about it. So I will just sum up by saying listen to ‘The Needle and The Damage Done’ because nobody (and no song) better exemplified the transition from the 60s to 70s better than Neil Young. Not John Lennon, not Led Zeppelin. Nobody.