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20 Years Ago: Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ Album Released

Reprise Records

‘Harvest Moon’ was heralded as the sequel to ‘Harvest,’ Neil Young’s 1972 classic that remains his only No. 1 album. But we heard that before: Everything from the unreleased (but heavily bootlegged) 1977 LP ‘Chrome Dreams’ to various songs that have appeared on albums throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s have claimed that honor.

But ‘Harvest Moon’ seemed like the real thing when it was released 20 years ago today, especially since many of the musicians who appear on the album’s 10 songs also played on ‘Harvest.’ Plus, there’s the tone of the record: stripped-down country-folk songs about love and life, fidelity and death.

It’s a more somber and reflective work than the album that came right before it, 1990’s blazing ‘Ragged Glory,’ which Young made with Crazy Horse. ‘Ragged Glory’ reignited his career, which took a huge hit in the ‘80s until 1989’s ‘Freedom’ began resurrecting it. Coming after that amp-burnin’ masterpiece, ‘Harvest Moon’ often played like the first morning after a long, lost weekend.

Still, ‘Harvest Moon’ became Young’s highest-charting album since 1979’s ‘Rust Never Sleeps,’ reaching No. 16, and one of his best-sellers (only the original ‘Harvest’ has sold more copies). And tracks like ‘War of Man,’ ‘Unknown Legend’ and the title tune are among his most durable songs of the past couple of decades.

Next: Neil Young, 'Psychedelic Pill' -- Album Review

Watch Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ Video

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