The one-two punch of adding his Y to CSN and the success of his 1970 album After The Gold Rush gave Neil Young’s career such momentum that he’s still a star. His follow-up album, Harvest sealed the deal.
There’s an interesting story behind the cover art. It was an inspired accident, words that apply to Young’s entire career. I’ll let photographer Joel Bernstein tell the tale:
“The photo was not “a mistake.” I saw the small, old woman coming towards us down the sidewalk, was intrigued, and wanted to catch her passing Neil. The mistake, to me, was that I had in my haste focused the lens just past the two figures, closer to the fence than to Neil’s face. That was the original reason why I made a small-sized print and solarized it; to help with the apparent sharpness. But the solarization in this case added a somewhat spooky dimension to the image, which Neil took to immediately.”
The first time I saw the album cover, I thought it was a doll’s head in a backpack. Instead, it was an inspired accident that took place at 3rd & Sullivan in New York City in June 1970.
Here’s the image pre-solarization and cropping.
Finally, here’s the whole damn album. I have no idea how long it will survive online.