Video: Neil Young – “Hitchhiker”
From Hitchhiker, out now on Reprise Records.
This is the second animated video Neil has released to promote Hitchhiker. We already covered the first one, but this album is really holding up as one of the greatest gems from the Neil Young Archives. It’s such an immediate, intimate, intense collection.
The song itself, Neil’s “drug chronicles,” has been fairly legendary among Rusties. He played it live during his 1992 solo acoustic shows, causing fans to speculate about which came first, “Hitchhiker” or 1982’s “Like an Inca,” since they share some lyrics. Neil finally recorded it with Daniel Lanois on the 2010 solo electric album, Le Noise, but not before adding a couple of extra verses.
How many years have come and gone
Like friends and enemies
I tried to leave my past behind
But it’s catching up with me
I don’t know how I’m standing here
Living my life
Thankful for my children
And my faithful wife
“Finishing was important,” Young told American Songwriter in 2010. “The song never could have been done without those verses.” I guess that explains why it sat unreleased for so long despite the fact that it’s awesome.
In that same interview he said, “So I have recordings of ‘Hitchhiker’ from the ’70s but there was never any reason to put it out. I felt like, ‘Whoa, that’s not really a good idea.'” Glad he changed his mind! Finally releasing the Hitchhiker album is one of the best ideas he’s had in decades.