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Neil Young — Goin' Back
Album: Comes a Time
Avg rating:
7.2

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1269









Released: 1978
Length: 4:30
Plays (last 30 days): 2
In a foreign land
There were creatures at play
Running hand in hand
Leading nowhere to stay
Driven to the mountains high
They were sunken in the cities deep
Livin' in my sleep.

I feel like goin' back
Back where there's nowhere to stay
When fire fills the sky
I'll still remember that day
These rocks I'm climbin' down
Have already left the ground
Careening through space.

I used to build these buildings
I used to walk next to you
Their shadows tore us apart
And now we do what we do
Driven to the mountains high
Sunken in the cities deep
Livin' in our sleep.

I feel like goin' back
Back where there's nowhere to stay.
Comments (79)add comment
This was the pinnacle of my N Young obsession.
 AhhtheMusic wrote:
This has been my favorite Neil Young/Nicolette Larson song since it came out in 1978/1979.  My first year of college.  Picked up the album and fell in love.  One note and it takes me back to where I was, what I was doing, the good people I was hanging out with as we spun it over and over.  As DJ at the college station I spun it over and over too, to share with everyone on campus.  Of course, I've made it pretty clear that I I love Neil Young, and THIS is why!
 

nice memory, beautiful song.  now, I'm going to have to find and listen to the album.
I got this album and thought this song was quite sweet - not always a good thing. I got the feeling he was really into Nicolette Larson - she and he had a great harmony thing going.
 SquiddlyDiddly wrote:
 Neil still looks good! ...David Crosby makes Keith Richards look good!

 SquiddlyDiddly wrote:
 
I really like the humor and juxtaposition.  But...you know...news flash, everyone gets old.  Unless you're Roger Daltrey.  And I think he has not listened to his own lyrical advice & hopes. Anyway, for the record, Neil is the gift who keeps giving.  Long after, you know, Dire Straits and Led Zepp, for starters, have made their last recording, NY keeps truckin'.  
The Master!
 mread wrote:

Bit of a resemblance to Marla Hooch...
 
Or my neighbor Dean.
 dublanica wrote:
Wow; a Neil song I've never heard; or, just don't remember.  Very nice!
 
I agree with that have listened to a lot of stuff that I have not heard in a while
Wow; a Neil song I've never heard; or, just don't remember.  Very nice!
 SquiddlyDiddly wrote:
 
Bit of a resemblance to Marla Hooch...
Horrid.
Before Mr. Young stopped hangin' out with James Taylor.
 bwood11243 wrote:
Prime Neil!
 
PARDON!
Prime Neil!
This has been my favorite Neil Young/Nicolette Larson song since it came out in 1978/1979.  My first year of college.  Picked up the album and fell in love.  One note and it takes me back to where I was, what I was doing, the good people I was hanging out with as we spun it over and over.  As DJ at the college station I spun it over and over too, to share with everyone on campus.  Of course, I've made it pretty clear that I I love Neil Young, and THIS is why!
Jesus. I had to log in and see if this was a new release. Never heard it before tonight. Love the voices. So much beauty in the world that I didn't know existed. Thank you Radio Paradise. This song withstands the test of time.
Touchstone. I became a conscious being while this album played in the background. 
not diggin the strings
 RabbitEars wrote:
My memories of this album: I had my first "real" job working at a Korvette's store in the photography department. This was one of the records we could play over the PA system, though I didn't really know who Neil Young was yet (didn't connect the dots to CSNY songs I knew). I also remember being in french class, and there was an impending weekend where both Neil Young and Bob Dylan were going to be playing local venues. I had my first tix to see Bob, a bunch of my classmates going to see Neil. There were about a dozen of us excitedly talking about the upcoming concerts... really my first rock concert.  

 

 
I'm with you, RabbitEars!
This was the album I got from Christmas, along with the guitar chordbook. I learned guitar by emulating every hammer note on this album. Memories of this song in particular - Rottnest Island (Perth, Australia)  as a school leaver, with this song playing on the beach as we lay there sunbaking, chasing girls and contemplating our future in the bright new world after school. Thanks so much for playing it RP!
Neil lays down auras of sound that resonate deep within my heart and soul... He always finds the best accompanists, too!  Pure bliss...
 lemmoth wrote:
Why I listen to RP - Almost as good as- nah - actually better than -  playing my personal collection on random.

 
Bump
Really, I, a musician, thought that it was Great!
 
2020sk wrote:
This wasn't his finest hour, was it?

 


This wasn't his finest hour, was it?
 RabbitEars wrote:
My memories of this album: I had my first "real" job working at a Korvette's store in the photography department. This was one of the records we could play over the PA system, though I didn't really know who Neil Young was yet (didn't connect the dots to CSNY songs I knew). I also remember being in french class, and there was an impending weekend where both Neil Young and Bob Dylan were going to be playing local venues. I had my first tix to see Bob, a bunch of my classmates going to see Neil. There were about a dozen of us excitedly talking about the upcoming concerts... really my first rock concert.  

 

 
thanks for sharing RabbitEars!  what great times, strong feelings in uncomplicated music  : )
AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Lovely. 
Nicolette Larson
I love this song every time. 8 > 9.
 Lauriea wrote:
very nice Neil!
 
Agree!
very nice Neil!
My memories of this album: I had my first "real" job working at a Korvette's store in the photography department. This was one of the records we could play over the PA system, though I didn't really know who Neil Young was yet (didn't connect the dots to CSNY songs I knew). I also remember being in french class, and there was an impending weekend where both Neil Young and Bob Dylan were going to be playing local venues. I had my first tix to see Bob, a bunch of my classmates going to see Neil. There were about a dozen of us excitedly talking about the upcoming concerts... really my first rock concert.  

 
 Rotterdam wrote:
eeeuuuuw. This reflects the young age of Neil Young at the time, and I find the music and lyrics embarrassing. 

 
He was 33 at the time and had already released 8 or 9 solo albums previous to this plus his work with Buffalo Springfield and CSNY - who is a verteran musician in your opinion?
Foundational music of my childhood...the entire album. Thank you, Neil Young
 Rotterdam wrote:
eeeuuuuw. This reflects the young age of Neil Young at the time, and I find the music and lyrics embarrassing. 
 
Sorry - how much does a clue cost where you live.....I'll send it to you.
good old memories with this song
{#Crown}
Neil Young is about the only old rocker that I enjoy listening to.  Whether it is his old music or his newer tunes, his stuff is uniformly easy on the ears.
eeeuuuuw. This reflects the young age of Neil Young at the time, and I find the music and lyrics embarrassing. 
Why I listen to RP - Almost as good as- nah - actually better than -  playing my personal collection on random.
 RoelantSiekman wrote:
One of the enjoyable ones... never thought i would say this about NY.. (7/10)
 
Ah the genius of Neil Young!     {#Smile}
One of the enjoyable ones... never thought i would say this about NY.. (7/10)
 johnjconn wrote:
Who's the female singing background on this?
 
Could have been Nicolette Larson, who met Neil through association with Linda Rondstat, who also sang on a lot of songs with him...
Love the song, and sure do love the multi-layered talents of NEIL YOUNG!
 cohifi wrote:

I think maybe he means Indianamericans
They lived with Nature.  Good Concept, too.

 

Hmm, not too familiar with Indiana 'Mericans.
 Cynaera wrote:

Pulling this up from the depths, because I also think it would be interesting to hear what other RPeeps have to say about the lyrics to this song. Apart from the absolute pure beauty of the music and the simplicity of the arrangement, I'd love to know how other people interpret the lyrics. I think andrewimft has a pretty good grasp of the Young perception.

What say you, RPeeps?

 
I think maybe he means Indianamericans
They lived with Nature.  Good Concept, too.

 andrewimft wrote:
I'm not sure what the song means, but my interpretation is Neil's recurring theme in his songs about love of nature and disdain for the cacophony of city life and civilization, and his theme of being present in the old days (in another life) when nature was replaced by civilization. "I feel like going back, to where there's nowhere to stay" —I'm not sure what that means, whether he's invoking travel, or wandering in the wilderness, or celebrating the moment when you're in nature and purely living in the joy of the moment. But it's my interpretation that that's what he's getting at. It'd be interesting for others to weigh in on what they think the lyrics to this beautiful song mean, they are not all that concrete and more ambiguous and open to interpretation.
 
Pulling this up from the depths, because I also think it would be interesting to hear what other RPeeps have to say about the lyrics to this song. Apart from the absolute pure beauty of the music and the simplicity of the arrangement, I'd love to know how other people interpret the lyrics. I think andrewimft has a pretty good grasp of the Young perception.

What say you, RPeeps?

 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:
Thank you Neil for this album.
 
{#Clap} I totally agree. This album eclypsed most of what was produced during that time. I love Neil Young's music.

Thank you Neil for this album.
One of the reasons I like this song is because it just takes me back to a time when things were simple, fun and pleasant. Not like today. Thanks Neil....
Hyperbole poorly applied, Bentonian.  This is a beautiful little song.
Saddest words in the language: Bill's voice intoning, "And now, here's some Neil Young." {#Cry}
 Antigone wrote:
This song fills me with a profound nostalgia ... for what I can't really say. Love the guitar, and the strings, and the voices, and the lyrics ... sigh.
 
Listening again, and wondering if maybe that's the point of the song.

So beautiful.

Absolutely beautiful. {#Sunny}
Was Nicolette Larson doing backup vocals?  Wow, what a great voice. . .
I'm with ya here brother... one of the great albums of all time.

 
stevenv58 wrote:
My favorite all time Niel Young album..............especially this tune.....lot of memories tied up in this one
{#Meditate}
 


I think you pretty much nailed it Andre (although wouldn't it be great if Neil just posted what HE really meant!{#Exclaim}).

I'd hate to presume to have any insight but it is fun to think about lyrics that aren't plopped right there in front of you, so here's a few possbilities...

"I used to climb these buildings" - The protagenist admits he had been caught up with the rest in pursuing 'progress', but that
"Their shadows tore us apart" - in the end perhaps he put his effort their instead of his relationship (or perhaps she drifted apart because she hadn't embraced societies idea of 'progress'.)

It does appear he's realised his folly, though, as he is "climbing down" from these rocks, or what I imagine are skyscrapers representing this ill considered progress (maybe a big record label's executive offices?).  "Already left the ground" gives me the impression he's either just in time, as he climbs down just as they lose their connection with the earth (nature?) or maybe he's not in time, as they've 'already' left the ground.

"When fire fills the sky" - Perhaps he's simply saying that even at the end of it all, he'll remember things the way the were, or should have been, because it is so important to him, and it left an idellible impression on him.

The more I think about this the imagery it feels almost a reverse garden of Eden: in part due to the phrases "walked hand in hand"  and being driven to the mountains.
 andrewimft wrote:


I'm not sure what the song means, but my interpretation is Neil's recurring theme in his songs about love of nature and disdain for the cacophony of city life and civilization, and his theme of being present in the old days (in another life) when nature was replaced by civilization.

"I feel like going back, to where there's nowhere to stay" —I'm not sure what that means, whether he's invoking travel, or wandering in the wilderness, or celebrating the moment when you're in nature and purely living in the joy of the moment. But it's my interpretation that that's what he's getting at.

It'd be interesting for others to weigh in on what they think the lyrics to this beautiful song mean, they are not all that concrete and more ambiguous and open to interpretation.
 

My favorite all time Niel Young album..............especially this tune.....lot of memories tied up in this one
{#Meditate}
We have the good fortune to have Neil playing a small festival in West Vancouver coming up in September.  {#Bananajam}
Sarah McLachlan lined up Neil, Sheryl Crow and others to play at Ambleside. Will post again after the show!  See https://www.summersessions.ca/

dboseman said it just right

10!


Wow, I haven't heard this one since I bought the album in college.  Even his "average" work is better than that of the musical masses.
I love the mandolin (or is it just a guitar made to sound like one?).  A very pretty piece.
Beautiful arrangement, creates a lovely, encompassing sound- Nic Larson blends in wonderfully{#Notworthy}
wferrier wrote:
Lived in a commune many years ago in central PA and somebody played this every morning as a wake up call. What does this song mean anyway?
Lyrics:
In a foreign land There were creatures at play Running hand in hand Leading nowhere to stay Driven to the mountains high They were sunken in the cities deep Livin in my sleep. I feel like goin back Back where theres nowhere to stay When fire fills the sky Ill still remember that day These rocks Im climbin down Have already left the ground Careening through space. I used to build these buildings I used to walk next to you Their shadows tore us apart And now we do what we do Driven to the mountains high Sunken in the cities deep Livin in our sleep. I feel like goin back Back where theres nowhere to stay.
I'm not sure what the song means, but my interpretation is Neil's recurring theme in his songs about love of nature and disdain for the cacophony of city life and civilization, and his theme of being present in the old days (in another life) when nature was replaced by civilization. "I feel like going back, to where there's nowhere to stay" --I'm not sure what that means, whether he's invoking travel, or wandering in the wilderness, or celebrating the moment when you're in nature and purely living in the joy of the moment. But it's my interpretation that that's what he's getting at. It'd be interesting for others to weigh in on what they think the lyrics to this beautiful song mean, they are not all that concrete and more ambiguous and open to interpretation.
Atlantis wrote:
And this is why Neil Young is a god amongst men.
Exactically so! Some truly devinely inspired tracks on this album, of which this is one. Love Nicolettes' contribution to this track.
This sounds so good! Wonderful song.
I like Neil most days.
And this is why Neil Young is a god amongst men.
Gotdablues wrote:
yes, this is a very nice mellow neil album from late 70s
peyotecoyote wrote:
Lovely song...and yes, LONG LIVE RP!
long live RP but can't stand neil's voice :sick: thank god for thr mute button and power tools
BrokenArrow wrote:
One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite Neil Young albums. Long live RP
Lovely song...and yes, LONG LIVE RP!
YA_MAN wrote:
Great early morning tune. Watch the sun come up and enjoy live for awhile.
Lived in a commune many years ago in central PA and somebody played this every morning as a wake up call. What does this song mean anyway?
This song fills me with a profound nostalgia ... for what I can't really say. Love the guitar, and the strings, and the voices, and the lyrics ... sigh.
inindian wrote:
I always felt this sounded like something else (good) but it sounds and feels good for me anyway. I like Neil..most of the time :biggrin:
Isn't that almost the same strumming from War of Man?
Great early morning tune. Watch the sun come up and enjoy live for awhile.
:notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
Enchanting. This whole album really underscores his diversity.
I always felt this sounded like something else (good) but it sounds and feels good for me anyway. I like Neil..most of the time :biggrin:
One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite Neil Young albums. Long live RP