This week Jim Adams has prompted us with ‘Harmonica’ for Song Lyric Sunday. This was a fun search as we weren’t looking for the word harmonica in the title or lyrics, but the use it in the music. I chose a personal favorite, Harvest Moon, by Neil Young. It’s a beautifully romantic song and Neil’s voice is pure sweetness. The harmonica comes in towards the end of the song. Enjoy it!
The title track from the album of the same name, Harvest Moon is kind of an unofficial sequel to Young’s 1972’s album Harvest. The two albums share many of the same guest musicians. The album Harvest Moon went gold in January of 1993, platinum in February of 1993, and multi-platinum in 1997.
In keeping with the rural motif of this song, let us not forget that Neil Young has also been an outspoken advocate for environmental issues and small farmers, as demonstrated by his having co-founded Farm Aid, the benefit concert, in 1985.
Cover versions of this song include Cassandra Wilson on her 1995 album New Moon Daughter, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie at a 2007 stage show, and Pearl Jam in 2005 numerous times on their concert tour.
The moon is a big deal to Neil Young. It shows up in 28 of his songs, and he uses it to guide him. Industry folks know that he is more likely to take on a project if it coincides with a full moon. In a 2005 interview with Harp, he explained: “Before there was organized religion, there was the moon. The Indians knew about the moon. Pagans followed the moon. I’ve followed it for as long as I can remember, and that’s just my religion. I’m not a practicing anything, I don’t have a book that I have to read. It can be dangerous working in a full moon atmosphere, because if there are things that are going to go wrong, they can really go wrong. But that’s great, especially for rock ‘n’ roll.”
The 2009 live album Dreamin’ Man consists of recordings from the Harvest Moon tour, and its tracklist is the same, albeit rearranged.
Fun Fact: This song was written and dedicated by Neil Young to his wife, at the time, Pegi. He filed for divorce after 36 years of marriage in 2014 and married actress Darryl Hannah in 2018.
Lyrics Come a little bit closer Hear what I have to say Just like children sleepin' We could dream this night away But there's a full moon risin' Let's go dancin' in the light We know where the music's playin' Let's go out and feel the night Because I'm still in love with you I want to see you dance again Because I'm still in love with you On this harvest moon When we were strangers I watched you from afar When we were lovers I loved you with all my heart But now it's gettin' late And the moon is climbin' high I want to celebrate See it shinin' in your eye Because I'm still in love with you I want to see you dance again Because I'm still in love with you On this harvest moon Backstory and lyrics courtesy of Songfacts