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Neil Young — Thrasher
Album: Rust Never Sleeps
Avg rating:
7.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 413









Released: 1979
Length: 5:33
Plays (last 30 days): 0
They were hiding behind hay bales,
They were planting in the full moon
They had given all they had for something new
But the light of day was on them,
They could see the thrashers coming
And the water shone like diamonds in the dew.

And I was just getting up, hit the road before it's light
Trying to catch an hour on the sun
When I saw those thrashers rolling by,
Looking more than two lanes wide
I was feelin' like my day had just begun.

Where the eagle glides descending
There's an ancient river bending
Through the timeless gorge of changes
Where sleeplessness awaits
I searched out my companions,
Who were lost in crystal canyons
When the aimless blade of science
Slashed the pearly gates.

It was then I knew I'd had enough,
Burned my credit card for fuel
Headed out to where the pavement turns to sand
With a one-way ticket to the land of truth
And my suitcase in my hand
How I lost my friends I still don't understand.

They had the best selection,
They were poisoned with protection
There was nothing that they needed,
Nothing left to find
They were lost in rock formations
Or became park bench mutations
On the sidewalks and in the stations
They were waiting, waiting.

So I got bored and left them there,
They were just deadweight to me
Better down the road without that load
Brings back the time when I was eight or nine
I was watchin' my mama's T.V.,
It was that great Grand Canyon rescue episode.

Where the vulture glides descending
On an asphalt highway bending
Thru libraries and museums, galaxies and stars
Down the windy halls of friendship
To the rose clipped by the bullwhip
The motel of lost companions
Waits with heated pool and bar.

But me I'm not stopping there,
Got my own row left to hoe
Just another line in the field of time
When the thrasher comes, I'll be stuck in the sun
Like the dinosaurs in shrines
But I'll know the time has come
To give what's mine.
Comments (83)add comment
Sorry bud.  I'm pretty sure your gonna have to sit through Neil Young a lot more times before you die.   Suck it up.

  rdo wrote:

{#Stupid}  If I have to hear one more rambling cry-me-a-river dirge from this guy, I swear, it's razor blades for me...{#Arghhh}

 


{#Stupid}  If I have to hear one more rambling cry-me-a-river dirge from this guy, I swear, it's razor blades for me...{#Arghhh}


I hate Neil Young's voice when he does solos —- but I really like THIS song.
 Cynaera wrote:

Here - read the lyrics. And to sort of (not) answer your question:  They're gorgeous lyrics, but they could apply to farmers losing their farms, friends losing their hope, people caving in to the rhetoric and babble that means nothing...

Could be anything. I'd bet, though, that those thrashers are symbolic of destruction. VERY deep lyrics. Thanks for asking - perhaps others will weigh in on this song...
 
Cynaera, if it's true, what romeo says, that you have left us, I too will miss you and your thoughtful posts.


 ozzie1313 wrote:

One of my favorite albums - top 5.  I was in the depths of my pathetic, romanticized, misanthropic alcholism and drug addiction when this came out.  This album was my anthem.  Just like Petty's Wildflowers was about me when I got divorced in 95 and went from MA to OR. 

 

Love the personal associations. Cool that you can listen even now and it doesn't necessarily bring you back to those dark places, but hits a familiar sentimental place just the same.

I have similar associations/feelings with music, and I totally get that. {#Meditate}
I doubt the thrashers are symbols of destruction.  But otherwise I really don't understand the gist of the lyrics.
 BKardon wrote:
Anyone know what this song is written about?
 
Here - read the lyrics. And to sort of (not) answer your question:  They're gorgeous lyrics, but they could apply to farmers losing their farms, friends losing their hope, people caving in to the rhetoric and babble that means nothing...

Could be anything. I'd bet, though, that those thrashers are symbolic of destruction. VERY deep lyrics. Thanks for asking - perhaps others will weigh in on this song...


THRASHER by Neil Young
————
They were hiding behind hay bales,
They were planting in the full moon
They had given all they had for something new
But the light of day was on them,
They could see the thrashers coming
And the water shone like diamonds in the dew.

And I was just getting up, hit the road before it's light
Trying to catch an hour on the sun
When I saw those thrashers rolling by,
Looking more than two lanes wide
I was feelin' like my day had just begun.

Where the eagle glides ascending
There's an ancient river bending
Down the timeless gorge of changes
Where sleeplessness awaits
I searched out my companions,
Who were lost in crystal canyons
When the aimless blade of science
Slashed the pearly gates.

It was then I knew I'd had enough,
Burned my credit card for fuel
Headed out to where the pavement turns to sand
With a one-way ticket to the land of truth
And my suitcase in my hand
How I lost my friends I still don't understand.

They had the best selection,
They were poisoned with protection
There was nothing that they needed,
Nothing left to find
They were lost in rock formations
Or became park bench mutations
On the sidewalks and in the stations
They were waiting, waiting.

So I got bored and left them there,
They were just deadweight to me

Better down the road without that load
Brings back the time when I was eight or nine
I was watchin' my mama's T.V.,
It was that great Grand Canyon rescue episode.

Where the vulture glides descending
On an asphalt highway bending
Thru libraries and museums, galaxies and stars
Down the windy halls of friendship
To the rose clipped by the bullwhip
The motel of lost companions
Waits with heated pool and bar.

But me I'm not stopping there,
Got my own row left to hoe
Just another line in the field of time
When the thrasher comes, I'll be stuck in the sun
Like the dinosaurs in shrines
But I'll know the time has come
To give what's mine.



One of my favorite albums - top 5.  I was in the depths of my pathetic, romanticized, misanthropic alcholism and drug addiction when this came out.  This album was my anthem.  Just like Petty's Wildflowers was about me when I got divorced in 95 and went from MA to OR. 


YES!

{#Clap}
Anyone know what this song is written about?
 Stranglersfan wrote:
one of my fav NY tracks
 
Yes, very nice tune!

one of my fav NY tracks
 rcurrier wrote:

Neil would never stoop so low as to have Ewoks as roadies.

They were Jawas.
 
 

Pardon me, you will?
yoda
 rcurrier wrote:

Neil would never stoop so low as to have Ewoks as roadies.

They were Jawas.
 
 
He referred to them as "road-eyes." 

Perfect song but I'm a sucker for prairie imagery.
never before realized that john hiatt's "buffalo river home" has virtually the same chord progression.

 a_genuine_find wrote:
I believe it was on this tour that the Ewok's accompanied Mr. Young, no?
 
Neil would never stoop so low as to have Ewoks as roadies.

They were Jawas.
 
Bobby!   Cindy!    Cindy!   Bobby!

There's something magically magnetic about Neil Young. My eleven year old son, whose taste in music includes Kesha, Usher and Lady Ga Ga, watched Neil during the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqZAkHajPZU&feature=related) and thought he was "awesome". He was still bringing it up a few days later. 

Neil is now attracting a third generation of fans.

(BTW, "Long May You Run" is an ode to a car.)


 h8rhater wrote:

As much as any song that the man ever wrote, this has his inimitable mark of genius.  Beautiful song from an iconic album.  Neil at his best.

 

Agreed. I am amazed that anyone could think otherwise...
 crockydile wrote:
Neil, you should have left this one on your table at home. Doesn't have the mark of your genius. {#Snooty}
 
More is the pity for you.{#Moon}

As much as any song that the man ever wrote, this has his inimitable mark of genius.  Beautiful song from an iconic album.  Neil at his best.

Neil, you should have left this one on your table at home. Doesn't have the mark of your genius. {#Snooty}
 HazzeSwede wrote:

  I'm sorry but I can not give my respect to some one hating Mr.Young, its like saying you hate the sun, that brings life to all of us ! {#Sunny}

 
HazzeSwede, you are my kinda people!  {#Cheers}
 WayUpNorth wrote:
I respect that there are many who hate Neil Young but he is just brilliant IMHO.  I feel like many of his songs are "absorbed" by my being, transcending the simple experience of "hearing."  {#Meditate}
 
  I'm sorry but I can not give my respect to some one hating Mr.Young, its like
  saying you hate the sun,that brings life to all of us ! {#Sunny}

 Johnny-smooth wrote:
Neil and Bob Dylan are arguably the top male lyricists of our time - Period. 
 

Pity neither of them could carry a tune in a bucket then. Maybe if they shut up and stuck to the writing I would have more time for them.
 Johnny-smooth wrote:
Neil and Bob Dylan are arguably the top male lyricists of our time - Period. 
 
Wha?  No Leonard Cohen?


I believe it was on this tour that the Ewok's accompanied Mr. Young, no?
Neil and Bob Dylan are arguably the top male lyricists of our time - Period. 
 WayUpNorth wrote:
I respect that there are many who hate Neil Young but he is just brilliant IMHO.  I feel like many of his songs are "absorbed" by my being, transcending the simple experience of "hearing."  {#Meditate}
 
{#Notworthy}

 pauleywalnuts wrote:
When Neil played Massey Hall in Toronto a couple of years ago someone yelled out to play Thrasher. Neil responded he won't play it live anymore. He said "I just can't play that song live, I always mess it up so I don't try anymore". If you see the Live Rust movie he mangles one of the verses and then starts it over. It's cool that he left it in the movie version of RNS. Nobody's perfect but Neil is darn close! {#Cool}

 
I agree. I put this album on and just sing along to the whole thing. "Thrasher", "Pocahontas", "Powderfinger"... Hell, I love the whole thing! {#Wave}
When Neil played Massey Hall in Toronto a couple of years ago someone yelled out to play Thrasher. Neil responded he won't play it live anymore. He said "I just can't play that song live, I always mess it up so I don't try anymore". If you see the Live Rust movie he mangles one of the verses and then starts it over. It's cool that he left it in the movie version of RNS. Nobody's perfect but Neil is darn close! {#Cool}

one thing neil does is paint well, what I don't think he ever does is try to be somebody else. 

can't wait to see what he tries next. Thanks Neil! 
I have not heard this song very many times, but I've always liked it. For some reason, hearing it here, now, it really strikes me deeply. The way 'Powderfinger' always does.

I went to the song meanings link and read a little bit, the interpretations make it all the more interesting. Somehow he takes something as trivial as the breakup of a band (albeit a legendary one) and turns it into a commentary on man's quest for truth. Or something like that. Whatever it is, it is magical.
Neil at his best.  A 10/10 for me.
12 String acoustic bliss. {#Notworthy}
I respect that there are many who hate Neil Young but he is just brilliant IMHO.  I feel like many of his songs are "absorbed" by my being, transcending the simple experience of "hearing."  {#Meditate}
I have never heard this song before - surprised by that.  AWESOME lyric.
 Bleyfusz wrote:

And still you forgot to mention the words.

 
Yes, you're right. I did. Neil's lyrics are, as always (for me) wonderful.

                       10      {#Exclaim}


 papaman wrote:

I was about to comment on this very lyric as well.  Ironic in our current time.
 

same here, you gotta love this forum
makes me stop, turn. stare and day dream.... if thats good, bad or indiferent dont care as i find my self in a place that i trust
...neil young's not supposed to sing this well!..
 psg wrote:
"Burned my credit card for fuel". I'm itching to to a cross-country bicycle trip across Canada in the next few years, before I turn 50, and somehow that line resonates now more than ever before. My roommates and I wore the grooves out on this album during our university days.
 
I was about to comment on this very lyric as well.  Ironic in our current time.


 Narg wrote:
His parents should be held accountable for allowing him to pick up a guitar, let alone write anything!!!
 

Just checked your ratings & comments. I guess there's just no accounting for taste. Some people have it, some people get it & some people never do. Your loss. 

 Bleyfusz wrote:
It is beyond any description how great this song is.

Just unreal.
 
{#Clap}

It is beyond any description how great this song is.

Just unreal.
{#Sunny}Brilliant, on many levels! {#Sunny}
 Narg wrote:
His parents should be held accountable for allowing him to pick up a guitar, let alone write anything!!!
 
or praised.  whatever.

His parents should be held accountable for allowing him to pick up a guitar, let alone write anything!!!
 Agent510 wrote:
Just doesn't do anything for me. Sorry, but this one is a non-starter.
 
Agreed. Neil trying his best to be Dylan with his image-laden lyrics, but falling WAY short.
KUDOS SHAKEY
Nice road/adventure song.
Amazing tune- always will be a favorite. Sounds excellent cranked. Thanks RP!!

what a beauty...
10
of course!

rtrudeau wrote:
I'm astonished that song rates only a 7.6 with 100 ratings thus far. I almost forgot to breathe while listening. Magnificent.

we're up to 7.7 / 111 now. I'll give it a down-to-earth 9 to see what we'll get {#Sunny}
 Antigone wrote:
Beautiful song. The strumming guitar, the harmonica, and YES Neil's voice. Perfect.
 
And still you forgot to mention the words.

rtrudeau wrote:
I'm astonished that song rates only a 7.6 with 100 ratings thus far. I almost forgot to breathe while listening. Magnificent.
:yes: ...I get this strange pain in my heart listening to it. 10.
Beautiful song. The strumming guitar, the harmonica, and YES Neil's voice. Perfect. :clap:
I'm astonished that song rates only a 7.6 with 100 ratings thus far. I almost forgot to breathe while listening. Magnificent.
This is one of the first songs we play on a long road trip. It's usually eary in the morning, and out accross the plains; it just seems right.
another gem from Neil
Tradman wrote:
Me neither. Too whiney. Maybe if I heard someone else singing it.
Come on, let's cut the crap with this "whiney" stuff. I sure don't hear ANY whining in this song.
Just seems like so much truth spoken in the lyrics. And we can't fault the imagery either! Oh, and I turn 50 this year. Yesterday, I looked at an old teardrop trailer to drag across the 'States on adventure and reflection. OK, song's over, back to work now.
Tradman wrote:
Me neither. Too whiney. Maybe if I heard someone else singing it.
Talk about whiney... How 'bout Sheryl Crowe, vanilla enough?
Howling_Rabbit wrote:
Make that three boring songs in a row. What's going on there?
Not boring, just thoughtful. Seems Bill's catering to the cerebral crowd instead of the adrenaline crowd with this set.
One of his (the) best ever.
Way to go RP. This is one of my favorite tunes of all time. "... the motel of lost companions waits with heated pool and bar ..." Thanks man , there's not much finer than that! :music:
crankypage wrote:
More likely an old Western show - Neil wasn't watching his Mama's TV (as the line says) during the era when the Brady Bunch was broadcast. He was touring and recording!
What? That was a two-part cliffhanger show, therefore making the potential horror of it all twice as likely. It's a great song anyway even if Johnny Bravo doesn't get writing credit.
"Burned my credit card for fuel". I'm itching to to a cross-country bicycle trip across Canada in the next few years, before I turn 50, and somehow that line resonates now more than ever before. My roommates and I wore the grooves out on this album during our university days.
daveesh wrote:
does he REALLY reference a brady bunch episode when he refers to the "grand canyon episode?"
More likely an old Western show - Neil wasn't watching his Mama's TV (as the line says) during the era when the Brady Bunch was broadcast. He was touring and recording!
Loonytunas wrote:
:no: If he could only sing!!!!!!!!!!!! :stop: I hate Neil Young
Didn't your mom tell you not to hate? Neil rules!!!!!!!!!!
Tradman wrote:
Too whiney. Maybe if I heard someone else singing it.
The guitar playing makes up for it. Besides, what's Neil without his whine?
:no: If he could only sing!!!!!!!!!!!! :stop: I hate Neil Young
Agent510 wrote:
Just doesn't do anything for me. Sorry, but this one is a non-starter.
Me neither. Too whiney. Maybe if I heard someone else singing it.
One of my all time favorite albums. I loved this one. Haven't heard it in years. Thanks Bill. I agree - great road trip music.
sautner wrote:
I had to sign in and comment on this one - love it! I'm going on a roadtrip this weekend, and this album is on the list to bring.
Now that sounds like a great idea. This album and especially this song on an empty stretch of highway at night would be bliss. Even the lyric is perfect, "where the eagle glides, descending, there's an asphalt highway bending..."
does he REALLY reference a brady bunch episode when he refers to the "grand canyon episode?" i loved this album as a kid...
Just doesn't do anything for me. Sorry, but this one is a non-starter.
Oh Neil. You rock. So do you Bill.
Make that three boring songs in a row. What's going on there?
Haven't heard this in decades. Still is a favorite. :clap: :daisy: :clap:
I had to sign in and comment on this one - love it! I'm going on a roadtrip this weekend, and this album is on the list to bring.
Sweet Jesus. There is very little that is more pleasureable to hear than this.