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Neil Young — A Man Needs a Maid
Album: Harvest
Avg rating:
6.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 531









Released: 1972
Length: 4:02
Plays (last 30 days): 0
My life is changing in so many ways
I don't know who to trust anymore
There's a shadow running thru my days
Like a beggar going from door to door

I was thinking that maybe I'd get a maid
Find a place nearby for her to stay
Just someone to keep my house clean
Fix my meals and go away

A maid
A man needs a maid
A maid

It's hard to make that change
When life and love turns strange
And old

To give a love
You gotta live a love
To live a love
You gotta be "part of"
When will I see you again?

A while ago somewhere I don't know when
I was watching a movie with a friend
I fell in love with the actress
She was playing a part that I could understand

A maid
A man needs a maid
A maid
A man needs a maid

When will I see you again?
Comments (101)add comment
One of my favorite Neil songs. I saw him in concert in the mid 70's & he did this solo on grand piano with a synth laid on top. Thrilling.
I think this means something different then it says Metaphorically speaking Cute tune
great song.........….if not pc, tough crap!
kind of ridiculous orchestration for the acquisition of a servant. 
 rdheat wrote:
Since when is cleaning house romantic?
 
I guess it depends on your maid ......
Since when is cleaning house romantic?
great album, terrible song
 johnjconn wrote:

Divorced huh.... 
Good choice!....
Next time, get a maid.....
Less heartache and your house gets cleaned.
 
  • Yeah my ex wasn't a huge Young fan like me.
  • So we divorced ( not 'cos of Neil )
  • I got a maid
  • And my house is cleaner than its been for 30 years

 bentonian wrote:
Pointless, endless, droning, whining, pretentious...
 
. . . but enough about your song comments.

 woozurbuddy wrote:
Hands down my favorite Neil Young song of all time.

Sexist?  Jeez, try getting under the most superficial reading of the lyrics to the story underneath.
 
        {#Clap}..

My ex wife and I used to go round and round about this song.

Me: "God, this is such a great song."
Her: "It's about a whiny guy who's too pathetic to get off his butt and clean the house."

Repeat.

Thanks, Bill, for the memories :)
 bentonian wrote:
Pointless, endless, droning, whining, pretentious...

Neil Young is one of the worst, and this truly hits rock bottom.
 
There's a certain amount of irony that seems to be missed on your commentary.  Neil's da man, you're a nobody.

 Shesdifferent wrote:

No....No....No... No! How is this pretentious? At least in this song you can hear the thoughts of the man....I love this song!
 
When those swooping strings cut in at the end? Sounds like the soundtrack to a film school project.

 bentonian wrote:
Pointless, endless, droning, whining, pretentious...

Neil Young is one of the worst, and this truly hits rock bottom.
 
No....No....No... No! How is this pretentious? At least in this song you can hear the thoughts of the man....I love this song!
Pointless, endless, droning, whining, pretentious...

Neil Young is one of the worst, and this truly hits rock bottom.
This has been my theme song the past few days.
Theme song of my teenage years ... and now, for that matter.  Way too romantic for this world.

Why don't all y'all get it?  I never assumed he meant "A man needs a housekeeper," rather "A man needs a maiden," as in "way too romantic for this world."  You see, he lists all the mundane housekeeper tasks, and yet the music and vocal tone betray what he really feels and wants: a maiden with whom to fall in love ... or maybe not.
THIS is the first song I hear on RP for the new year?? I'm going back to bed, and hopefully start over.
My wife needs a maid. Me, not so much.
 stkman wrote:

Snodgress was hospitalized at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, awaiting a liver transplant when she died of heart failure. Her son, Zeke, fathered by Neil Young, was at her side. There was a private family funeral.

Snodgress was perhaps best-known for her role as a frustrated homemaker caught between a domineering husband and a self-absorbed lover in 1970's "Diary of a Mad Housewife." She was nominated for an Academy Award and won two Golden Globe awards for best leading actress and new star of the year.

Despite critical acclaim for her role in "Housewife," Snodgress turned her back on Hollywood in 1971 to live with boyfriend Neil Young on his northern California ranch and care for their son, Zeke, who was born with cerebral palsy.

Neil Young recorded several songs which reference Snodgress. The most well song is "A Man Needs A Maid" from the album "Harvest" containing the lines:

    "I fell in love with the actress
    She was playing a part I could understand"

Young caught a large amount of flak at the time as women's rights proponents labeled the song as "sexist". History has clarified Neil's intentions and Carrie herself has disabused the notion that the "Maid" song is inherently sexist.

At the time Young wrote "A Man Needs A Maid", he was recovering from a back injury and was bedridden. Carrie became a "nurse" to Neil. In Jimmy McDonough's "Shakey" biography, Snodgress said: "I fell in love with Neil's pain".

Snodgress continues:

    "We were in this cocoon of intensity. Neil and I were uniquely in the same position at the same time, having overwhelming success facing us."

Not one of my favorite Young songs and thought it was weird when I first heard it and it came underneath alot of flack back then but this clarifys the sexist part better than I can


 
*Bump* Thank you stkman for the information on the song. I've never understood why Neil would write a song like this, but now it makes sense. Still not one of my favorite NY songs but he does an interesting version on the live from Massey Hall album where he pairs it with Heart of Gold.

 tapatia1072 wrote:
Normally I really like Neil, but there's something about the orchestration/arrangement of this song that really puts me off. Guess that makes it a 5 for me.
 

Indeed.  Hate this one.  this is always a skipover on the alblum.

 Apparently Mr. Young wasn't particularly ahead of his time with respect to equality of the sexes.


I need a maid.
 On_The_Beach wrote:

{#Cheers}  Lemmoth, you speaketh the truth.

 
Thanks.  With a screen name like yours you would obviously concur.

What I do find confusing is your distaste for the music of a band of huge Neil fans and one time collaborators by the initials PJ?
Normally I really like Neil, but there's something about the orchestration/arrangement of this song that really puts me off. Guess that makes it a 5 for me.
 sarah_mae wrote:

Why spoil otherwise great playlists with Neil Young?  Really, why?


 

The hospital called. Your heart's ready.


MEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!      {#Beat}

 pauleywalnuts wrote:
{#Dancingbanana} {#Bananajam} {#Meditate} {#Bananajam}{#Dancingbanana}

Harvest has it all. Timeless.
 
Has it all, indeed... {#Notworthy}
 Stingray wrote:


NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER
have "SIMEY'S" been more stupid!

And more out of place!
Some people are just ridiculous!
SORRY - that must have been said!

 
Uh, what's a "simey"? And please - don't apologize for being rude and childish. Some people are just ridiculous.

Never really enjoyed this one personally, but apparently it is one of David Gilmour's favorite songs. I remember so many useless things.
 pauleywalnuts wrote:
{#Dancingbanana} {#Bananajam} {#Meditate} {#Bananajam}{#Dancingbanana}

Harvest has it all. Timeless.
 

NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER
have "SIMEY'S" been more stupid!

And more out of place!
Some people are just ridiculous!
SORRY - that must have been said!

{#Dancingbanana} {#Bananajam} {#Meditate} {#Bananajam}{#Dancingbanana}

Harvest has it all. Timeless.
 lemmoth wrote:
Please buy a clue.  Don't know what they cost these days but happy to contribute.
Neil is one of the pure geniuses in the history of rock and roll.
 
{#Cheers}  Lemmoth, you speaketh the truth.


 sarah_mae wrote:

Why spoil otherwise great playlists with Neil Young?  Really, why?


 
Please buy a clue.  Don't know what they cost these days but happy to contribute.

Neil is one of the pure geniuses in the history of rock and roll.

{#Razz}

Oof.

Thanks for playing this classic Bill.


 sarah_mae wrote:

Why spoil otherwise great playlists with Neil Young?  Really, why?


 
Because playing crap makes us appreciate the good songs that Bill plays.

HaHaHa!

Why spoil otherwise great playlists with Neil Young?  Really, why?


really really REALLY average
Nice!
Uncanny, I've been thinking of this tune since hearing "Out on the Weekend". I fell in love with the actress, she was playing a part I could understand. Love It. This song has grown on me slowly since first hearing 'Harvest'. Neil was once reported as saying 'Harvest' landed him right in the middle of the road. Stkman thanks for the article.

 stkman wrote:

Snodgress was hospitalized at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, awaiting a liver transplant when she died of heart failure. Her son, Zeke, fathered by Neil Young, was at her side. There was a private family funeral.{SNIP} 

Thanks stkman; makes good sense.  Neil Young may be many things but sexist is not one of them.

 


I have to admit...........one of the more confusing songs put on an album by neil.  Makes me want to ask him why on this album at that time.................damn confusing.
I love Harvest and I love Neil but I always skip this song.
Oh my. {#Eyes}
Absolutely Magnificent.
The production is just dandy.  Big and dramatic.  But I almost don't notice it cuz I love the lyric and the way Neil sings it so much.
 jnhashmi wrote:
Everyone talks about how teen pop music is overproduced, but this song is so overproduced as to be laughable. At least overproduced pop music works for what it is. This song is way over the top. It's almost a joke. Did Phil Spector have something to do with this?
 
To me overproduction is when alll the sounds are jumbled together and sound like a big mess.  When you can't tell if the sound is a guitar, keyboard or drum. 

This song, although there is a lot going on, is not overproduced.  It was produced by
Neil Young
Elliot Mazer
Henry Lewy
Jack Nitzsche

Not to be confused with other dramatic, soulful songs like
  • My clothes are dirty again
  • A garden needs a gardener
  • All I need is a mechanic for my left front wheel bearing
  • The glint of the hairdressers clippers
The dramatic tone does not suit the lyrics at all....{#Neutral}

I agree it has a bit too much of the Phil Spector "wall of sound," but it is still a beautiful song.
 dogpound wrote:
wow this is terrible. It's like a saturday night live skit.
 
That pretty much nails it.
 jnhashmi wrote:
Everyone talks about how teen pop music is overproduced, but this song is so overproduced as to be laughable. At least overproduced pop music works for what it is. This song is way over the top. It's almost a joke. Did Phil Spector have something to do with this?
 
I agree. It's a real disappointment. I'd rather hear him sing this accompanied only by his guitar: the strings suck the emotion out of the song.

c.

 jnhashmi wrote:
Everyone talks about how teen pop music is overproduced, but this song is so overproduced as to be laughable. At least overproduced pop music works for what it is. This song is way over the top. It's almost a joke. Did Phil Spector have something to do with this?
 

actually the next three (Time fades away, On the beach, and tonights the night) Neil releases were partly (i say partly cuz there were other things going on in his life) a response to this. I think he tried really hard not to have a "harvest" type record again.
It doesn't get better than this!
Everyone talks about how teen pop music is overproduced, but this song is so overproduced as to be laughable. At least overproduced pop music works for what it is. This song is way over the top. It's almost a joke. Did Phil Spector have something to do with this?

Snodgress was hospitalized at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, awaiting a liver transplant when she died of heart failure. Her son, Zeke, fathered by Neil Young, was at her side. There was a private family funeral.

Snodgress was perhaps best-known for her role as a frustrated homemaker caught between a domineering husband and a self-absorbed lover in 1970's "Diary of a Mad Housewife." She was nominated for an Academy Award and won two Golden Globe awards for best leading actress and new star of the year.

Despite critical acclaim for her role in "Housewife," Snodgress turned her back on Hollywood in 1971 to live with boyfriend Neil Young on his northern California ranch and care for their son, Zeke, who was born with cerebral palsy.

Neil Young recorded several songs which reference Snodgress. The most well song is "A Man Needs A Maid" from the album "Harvest" containing the lines:

    "I fell in love with the actress
    She was playing a part I could understand"

Young caught a large amount of flak at the time as women's rights proponents labeled the song as "sexist". History has clarified Neil's intentions and Carrie herself has disabused the notion that the "Maid" song is inherently sexist.

At the time Young wrote "A Man Needs A Maid", he was recovering from a back injury and was bedridden. Carrie became a "nurse" to Neil. In Jimmy McDonough's "Shakey" biography, Snodgress said: "I fell in love with Neil's pain".

Snodgress continues:

    "We were in this cocoon of intensity. Neil and I were uniquely in the same position at the same time, having overwhelming success facing us."

Not one of my favorite Young songs and thought it was weird when I first heard it and it came underneath alot of flack back then but this clarifys the sexist part better than I can


Just when I think I've already heard the worst Neil Young song ever, Radio Paradise comes through with a new one. 
 manzanitafire wrote:
I love Neil Young, but this song is sexist.
 
Neil sings 'falling in love with the actor..."
does that make him gay?!
tjeees, come on


zzzzzzzzzzzzz

This is horrible, and even worse for being played this early in the morning. Let's pick it up here!!  
wow this is terrible. It's like a saturday night live skit.
 Alpine wrote:
Hey! See that right there? First Lennox doing a Young tune, then Young, doing a Young tune.
 
exactly, Neil Showing Annie how to sing ....

The older one becomes, the more one sees the value of staff.

 manzanitafire wrote:
I love Neil Young, but this song is sexist.
 
Open your mind.

He's aging and lonely, has conflicting feelings and needs a connection, but cannot find the courage to commit to anything more than his basic needs. . . yet he misses "her" company. . .

 manzanitafire wrote:
I love Neil Young, but this song is sexist.
 
So, he should have written "A man needs a BUTLER"??? Then what would everybody be writing here, huh? Great tune, Great album. 10.

I've heard so much Neil Young, but this tune never crossed my path. Now it finally did, and that made me smile.

/Simon

"I was thinking that maybe Id get a maid
Find a place nearby for her to stay.
Just someone to keep my house clean,
Fix my meals and go away."
seems pretty sensible to me, like a woman getting a man to dig the garden

 

 


Maid, Maiden.

Sheesh, some of you should lighten up!  Maybe spend some more time learning about the English language?


manzanitafire wrote:
I love Neil Young, but this song is sexist.
So? What's wrong with sex? Male and female traits. It's what makes the world go round.
Hey! See that right there? First Lennox doing a Young tune, then Young, doing a Young tune.
seconal days..."reds", downers
Ignore the perplexing lyrics and listen to the melody. Beautiful.
manzanitafire wrote:
I love Neil Young, but this song is sexist.
I hate Neil Young, but I agree this song is sexist. Also as someone else pointed out, this orchestral arrangement is just bizarre.
I love Neil Young, but this song is sexist.
kazuma wrote:
I agree 100%. Somewhere buried in all the orchestral overkill is a decent little track. I can't imagine what the hell anyone was thinking when they decided to go ultrasymphonic on this one. It totally ruins it for me.
Agreed. This song drags the Harvest album down a notch.
my spousal unit wonders why I adore Neil Young but can't stand Bob Dylan...honey, not every question has an answer
kazuma wrote:
I agree 100%. Somewhere buried in all the orchestral overkill is a decent little track. I can't imagine what the hell anyone was thinking when they decided to go ultrasymphonic on this one. It totally ruins it for me.
On Massey Hall Young introduces this as "A Broadway Number about my life" so I think the overkill is intentional and makes sense when you think of it that way.
crinky wrote:
It'd be nice to hear the "Live At Massey Hall" version that doesn't have all the bombastic production.
I agree 100%. Somewhere buried in all the orchestral overkill is a decent little track. I can't imagine what the hell anyone was thinking when they decided to go ultrasymphonic on this one. It totally ruins it for me.
One of Neil's more perplexing songs. Leave it to young man's drug-induced ruminations to conclude that a phrase as banal as "a man needs a maid" needs the orchestral bombast of Beethoven's 5th or Carmina Burana to set it off. I love NY, but this song's point has always eluded me, and alas, I suspect there really isn't much of one save those provided by fans.
Love the orchestration. Most unusual for Neil.
EssexTex wrote:
Great track from a great album, with me, the older I get the more I like him, don't know why
I agree. I like his stuff more and more over time.
Been waiting for this one,The Bombastic Orchestra is what makes this a true masterpeace.Solid 10.
I have this record, but I can't really remember this song. 5
beakersbeats wrote:
:puke: maybe I am just not as "deep" as ol' Neil...I just don't get it.
I think its a post breakup song.
Great track from a great album, with me, the older I get the more I like him, don't know why
I really don't see what everybody sees in this guy. I sort of like some of his songs. This is not one
It'd be nice to hear the "Live At Massey Hall" version that doesn't have all the bombastic production.
:puke: maybe I am just not as "deep" as ol' Neil...I just don't get it.
nigelr wrote:
Pretty much a giant of an album, full of absolute classics.
Oh my god, I didn't realize how many of these songs were from this album. Definite classic.
A vintage whine - from the best
nigelr wrote:
Pretty much a giant of an album, full of absolute classics.
Agreed! :yes:
Pretty much a giant of an album, full of absolute classics.
We are not worthy !
A while ago somewhere, I don't know when I was watchinga movie with a friend I fell in love with the actress* She was playing a part that I could understand *Apparently a reference to Carrie Snodgrass, his first wife(?). Like the lyrics, not a fan of the big production. Check out the stripped down version on "Live at Massey Hall 1971".
not my favorite song on the album, but I'm still giving it a 9 in honor of all the incredible music contained on Harvest. Neil Young always satisfies the soul.
Hell, I need a maid! :notworthy:
When this album came out, it demonstrated the depth of this man's soul and talent.
Al_Koholic wrote:
Hmmmm, never played? My wife's favorite NY song.
Funny, my wife says "You wish!"
Right after Annie Lennox's cover of Neil Young's Don't Let It Bring You Down, nice transition.
wow... i am six years old right now...
Hmmmm, never played? My wife's favorite NY song.