OLD MAN

Posted on Posted in Banjos

OLD MAN

 

“Old Man” is a song written and performed by Neil Young on his 1972 album Harvest. “Old Man” was released as a single on Reprise Records in the spring of 1972, and reached # 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending June 3.

The song was written for the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970. The song compares a young man’s life to an old man’s and shows that the young man has, to some extent, the same needs as the old one. James Taylor played six-string banjo (tuned like a guitar) and sang on the song, and Linda Ronstadt also contributed vocals. In the movie Heart of Gold, Young introduces the song as follows:

About that time when I wrote (“Heart of Gold”), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.

Old man look at my life,

I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,

I’m a lot like you were.

 

Old man look at my life,

Twenty four

and there’s so much more

Live alone in a paradise

That makes me think of two.

 

Love lost, such a cost,

Give me things

that don’t get lost.

Like a coin that won’t get tossed

Rolling home to you.

 

Old man take a look at my life

I’m a lot like you

I need someone to love me

the whole day through

Ah, one look in my eyes

and you can tell that’s true.

 

Lullabies, look in your eyes,

Run around the same old town.

Doesn’t mean that much to me

To mean that much to you.

 

I’ve been first and last

Look at how the time goes past.

But I’m all alone at last.

Rolling home to you.

 

Old man take a look at my life

I’m a lot like you

I need someone to love me

the whole day through

Ah, one look in my eyes

and you can tell that’s true.

 

Old man look at my life,

I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,

I’m a lot like you were.