Neil Young – Don’t Be Denied

Happy Birthday, Neil Young (76).

In 1973, one year after he released Harvest, Young embarked on a 60(+) date tour with a new backing band, The Stray Gators. 

The shows began with an acoustic set full of familiar material from Harvest and other well-loved albums. But Young was already tired of rehashing his hits. So he loaded the second set with previously unreleased material, performed with a heavy, electric edge.

He must have known he was traveling the same path as Bob Dylan.

In 1966, Dylan opened shows with a solo-acoustic set full of his well-loved tunes. A second set with his new backing band, “The Band,” rocked the house and horrified the purists.

Audiences did not react kindly. But critics look at that tour as monumental. Arguably the invention of folk ROCK.

Young’s 1973 tour was ill-fated from the start.

While rehearsing for the tour, Young sent home guitarist Danny Whitten because he was strung out and in no condition to work.

Soon after, Whitten died of an overdose.

He was one of several lost friends who inspired Young to write “The Needle and the Damage Done.”

Young and his bandmates feuded throughout the tour (over money and more).

And, of course, audiences reacted unkindly to the unknown, electric material that Young dished out each night.

Young later described that tour as a train wreck.

Time Fades Away has eight tracks — seven of which were recorded on that tour.

Young hated the album. He called it his worst.

The LP went out of print. And Young refused to release it on CD until 2017. Now you can hear it on the streaming services.

I love this album.

At the moment he created that music, “fans” and critics dismissed it as an electric wart on Young’s beautiful body of work.

But listen to it today, and you hear Neal Young in all his ragged glory.

I like every track on this album. Here’s the one I like best…

Today’s Song 

Title: Don’t Be Denied

Artist: Neil Young

Album: Time Fades Away (1973)

YouTube Link:


When I was a young boy 

My mama said to me 

Your daddy’s leavin’ home today 

I think he’s gone to stay 

We packed up all our bags 

And drove out to Winnipeg 

When we got to Winnipeg 

I checked in to school 

I wore white bucks on my feet 

When I learned the golden rule 

The punches came fast and hard 

Lying on my back in the school yard 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Well, pretty soon I met a friend 

He played guitar 

We used to sit on the steps at school 

And dream of being stars 

We started a band 

We played all night 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

The businessmen crowded around 

They came to hear the golden sound 

There we were on the Sunset Strip 

Playing our songs for the highest bid 

We played all night 

The price was right 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Don’t be denied, don’t be denied 

Well, all that glitters isn’t gold 

I know you’ve heard that story told 

And I’m a pauper in a naked disguise 

A millionaire through a business man’s eyes 

Oh, friend of mine 

Don’t be denied  

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