Only Love Can Break Your Heart


Only Love Can Break Your Heart
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
Single by Neil Young
from the album After the Gold Rush
B-side "Birds"
Released September 19, 1970
October 19, 1970
(U.S. 7" single)
Recorded Aug. 1969-June 1970
Genre Rock
Length 3:05
Label Reprise 45 0746
Writer(s) Neil Young
Neil Young singles chronology
"Cinnamon Girl"
(1970)
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
(1970)
"When You Dance I Can Really Love"
(1971)
After the Gold Rush track listing
"After the Gold Rush"
(2)

(3)
"Southern Man"
(4)

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is a song written by Neil Young.

Contents

Genesis and recording

The song is the third track on Neil Young's album After the Gold Rush. The song was supposedly written for Graham Nash after Nash's split from Joni Mitchell,[1] though Young in interviews has been somewhat tentative in admitting or remembering this.[2] Released as a single in October 1970, it became Young's first top 40 hit as a solo artist, peaking at number 33 in the U.S.[3] The single was issued with a Crazy Horse version of "Birds" (rather than the solo piano version of the album) on the B-side, apparently accidentally.[4] The song is praised as a "seemingly simple song which display[s] considerable attention to detail in the deployment of instruments."[5]

Cover versions

  • Jackie DeShannon sang it on her Jackie album (1972).
  • Peter Laughner covered this song on a demo tape and it was later released on the compilation Take the Guitar Player for a Ride.
  • Bradford Cox aka Atlas Sound covered the song for his blog.[6]
  • Rock musician Juliana Hatfield recorded the song for her collection Gold Stars 1992-2002: The Juliana Hatfield Collection.
  • Canadian alt-country rocker Kathleen Edwards recorded the song live for her iTunes exclusive Live Session.
  • British singer Elkie Brooks achieved a UK hit with the song in 1978.[citation needed]
  • British girl group the Mint Juleps recorded the song in 1986.
  • Rapper/singer Everlast covered the song for the 1999 film Big Daddy.
  • Psychic TV played the song on The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young in 1989.
  • The Corrs recorded the song for VH1 Presents: The Corrs, Live in Dublin; The New Rolling Stone Album Guide called their version "pretty but lightweight."[7]
  • Damien Leith covered the song on his album Catch the Wind: Songs of a Generation, which reached number 1 on the ARIA Chart for Australian albums.
  • It is a bonus track on the re-released John Baldry album Everything Stops for Tea as a duet between Baldry and Joyce Everson.
  • Gwyneth Herbert recorded the song for her debut album Bittersweet and Blue. Her cover also appears in the film Leap Year.
  • The New Standards recorded the song for their eponymous album released in 2005.
  • Indonesian garage rock band The S.I.G.I.T. also covered the song on their album Visible Idea of Perfection.
  • Butch Walker released a live version on his iTunes release, Live From Lollapalooza.
  • I Blame Coco has recorded covers of both the Neil Young and Saint Etienne versions of the song. A cover of Young's version was released with Fyfe Dangerfield in 2010. A cover of the Saint Etienne version appears on the album The Constant.
  • Angie Hart sang it on her Eat My Shadow album.

Saint Etienne version

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
Single by Saint Etienne featuring Moira Lambert
from the album Foxbase Alpha
B-side "The Official Saint Etienne World Cup Theme" (UK)
"Filthy" (UK reissue)
"Stoned to Say the Least" (USA)
Released May 1990
Recorded 1990
Genre House, alternative dance, indie dance
Length 4:29
Label Heavenly - HVN2 / HVN12 (reissue)
Writer(s) Neil Young
Producer Saint Etienne
Saint Etienne featuring Moira Lambert singles chronology
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
(1990)
"Kiss and Make Up"
(1990)

In 1990, English band Saint Etienne recorded a cover version of the song, included on their debut album Foxbase Alpha. Andrew Weatherall later remixed the song to further emphasise the dub bassline: this remix was featured on both releases of the single and on the compilation Casino Classics. Their recording, made in under two hours, got them a record deal, their first single, and their first hit.[8] Lead vocals were by Moira Lambert,[9] as Sarah Cracknell had not yet joined the band as a permanent member.

The song was re-released in the UK as a double A-side with the track "Filthy", peaking at number 39 in the UK Singles Chart.[10] The song remains Saint Etienne's only entry in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 97 in 1992. It did, however, top the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart. The U.S. b-side to the single was the Foxbase Alpha album track "Stoned to Say the Least." In 2003, Vibe listed Masters at Work's remix of the song as one of the "Top 25 remixes ever created."[11] The U.S. release contained a different extended mix by Flowered Up (issued in the UK only on a flexidisc), though it was mistakenly listed as the "Mix of two halves". Weatherall had no involvement with this mix.

Chart performance

Artist Chart (1970) Peak
position
Neil Young U.S. Billboard Hot 100 33
Artist Chart (1991) Peak
position
Saint Etienne UK Singles Chart 39
Artist Chart (1992) Peak
position
Saint Etienne U.S. Billboard Hot 100 97
Saint Etienne U.S. Hot Dance Club Play 1
Saint Etienne U.S. Modern Rock Tracks 11[12]

Chart Successions

Preceded by
"A Deeper Love" by Civiles & Cole
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (Saint Etienne version)
February 15 – 22, 1992
Succeeded by
"We Got a Love Thang" by CeCe Peniston

References

  1. ^ McDonough, Jimmy (2003). Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. Random House. pp. 339–40. ISBN 9780679311935. http://books.google.com/books?id=rsiBNqqwq_kC&client=firefox-a. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Ben (1993-06-27). "Lives of the Great Songs: Soft, strong and not very long: Only Love Can Break Your Heart: It was written by one of Crosby Stills Nash & Young, for another, and later ruined by a third. Ben Thompson compiles the second in our series of song biographies". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/arts--lives-of-the-great-songs-soft-strong-and-not-very-long-only-love-can-break-your-heart-it-was-written-by-one-of-crosby-stills-nash--young-for-another-and-later-ruined-by-a-third-ben-thompson-compiles-the-second-in-our-series-of-song-biographies-1494259.html. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  3. ^ Lonergan, David F.. Hit records, 1950-1975. Scarecrow. p. 168. ISBN 9780810851290. http://books.google.com/books?id=NP6OdDrutyAC&client=firefox-a. 
  4. ^ McDonough, Jimmy (2003). Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. Random House. p. 750. ISBN 9780679311935. http://books.google.com/books?id=rsiBNqqwq_kC&client=firefox-a. 
  5. ^ Echard, William (2005). Neil Young and the poetics of energy. Indiana University Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780253217684. http://books.google.com/books?id=D2zgW8_iHvwC&client=firefox-a. 
  6. ^ Cox, Bradford (August 13, 2007). "Atlas Sound - Only Love Can Break Your Heart (N. Young / Psychic TV Cover)". deerhunter / atlas sound / lotus plaza blog. http://deerhuntertheband.blogspot.com/2007/08/atlas-sound-only-love-can-break-your.html. Retrieved October 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian David Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. p. 193. ISBN 9780743201698. http://books.google.com/books?id=lRgtYCC6OUwC&client=firefox-a. 
  8. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (2008). Song Man: A Melodic Adventure, Or, My Single-Minded Approach to Songwriting. Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780306815812. 
  9. ^ Kelly, N (2009-05-30). "Pop's never-never band return to the source". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/pops-nevernever-band-return-to-the-source-1756199.html. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  10. ^ Warwick, Neil; Tony Brown, Jon Kutner (2004). The complete book of the British charts: singles & albums. Omnibus. p. 950. ISBN 9781844490585. http://books.google.com/books?id=ib4MyAIpe3MC&client=firefox-a. 
  11. ^ "Second Time Around". Vibe: p. 160. March 2003. http://books.google.com/books?id=0yYEAAAAMBAJ&client=firefox-a. 
  12. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r17273/charts-awards

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