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Needle and the Damage Done
by The Pretenders
#DrugWeek
Rare clip of Miss Hynde and the boys singing Neil Young's hymn to those the needle done damage. Not sure where performance was filmed(*), but it is a heartfelt and heart-pounding interpretation, since Chrissie also lost within 10 months two of her original band members to drugs. James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon both passed after a drug overdose in 1982 and 1983. The Pretenders recorded 'Needle' for their album ¡Viva El Amor! in 1999.

Neil Young wrote 'Needle and the Damage Done' to describe the destruction caused by the heroin addiction of musicians he knew, including his friend and Crazy Horse bandmate Danny Whitten. It previews the theme of Young's album 'Tonight's the Night' that reflects Young's grief over the heroin overdose and death of both Whitten and Bruce Berry, a roadie for Young and Crazy Horse.

The song appeared on 'Harvest' (1972) and also on the 2007 album 'Live at Massey Hall 1971'. That record captured Young's introduction of his song thus:

"Ever since I left Canada and moved down south, I found out a lot of things that I didn't know when I left. Some of 'em are good, and some of 'em are bad. Got to see a lot of great musicians before they happened... before they became famous... y'know, when they were just gigging. Five and six sets a night... things like that. And I got to see a lot of, um, great musicians who nobody ever got to see. For one reason or another. But... strangely enough, the real good ones... that you never got to see was... 'cause of, ahhm, heroin. An' that started happening over an' over. Then it happened to someone that everyone knew about. So I just wrote a little song."

(*) At Neil Young's annual Bridge School benefit concert in 1995, the Pretenders sang 'Needle' in honor of Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon, who died a week earlier from a drug overdose. Blind Melon was scheduled to play the event but canceled after Hoon's death. This recording could be from that show.
1999 - Warner Brothers - United States
Posted: 16th May 2019
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Paul L
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