After the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young split, Young recruited a new group of country session musicians, which he christened The Stray Gators and recorded a country rock record in Harvest. The record was a massive hit, producing a US number one single in "Heart of Gold". Other songs returned to some usual Young themes: "Alabama" was "an unblushing rehash of 'Southern Man'"; "Words (Between the Lines of Age)" featured a lengthy guitar workout with the band; and "The Needle and the Damage Done" was a lament for great artists who had died of heroin addiction, particularly Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse. The album's success caught Young off guard and his first instinct was to back away from stardom. He would later write that "Heart of Gold" "put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there."
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