Neil Young - Helpless (Live @ Massey Hall 1971)

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"Helpless" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. It appeared on the background of Paul Schrader's 1979 crime drama, Hardcore, in a scene filmed in Los Angeles.

"Helpless" was originally recorded with Young's band Crazy Horse in early 1969, before Young's new CSNY bandmates (he had joined the then-trio in mid-1969) convinced him it would suit them better. The song was simple, at its core effectively the repetition of one melody over a descending D-A-G chord progression. The group found difficulty deciding on an arrangement and many different versions of the song were recorded before the group finally decided on the slow-paced version that appeared on the album. On this final version Young was in the foreground, singing the verses and the chorus with his bandmates providing the "helpless" refrain, while the instrumentation came in the form of acoustic guitar, electric guitar (with volume pedal and tremolo), piano, bass and drums. It became one of the most revered songs from the Déjà Vu album (Q magazine's Peter Doggett regards it as "one of (the album's) showpieces"), and has remained a live favorite of Young's for over forty years. An alternate mix of the CSNY version was released on Neil Young's "Archives Vol. 1." It features Young playing harmonica and electronically-treated percussion.

The "town in North Ontario" referred to in the opening line of the song is often presumed to be Ontario native Young's hometown; Young himself cleared up the rumors in a 1995 Mojo interview with Nick Kent:
"Well, it's not literally a specific town so much as a feeling. Actually, it's a couple of towns. Omemee, Ontario, is one of them. It's where I first went to school and spent my 'formative' years. Actually I was born in Toronto..."

Omemee, just west of Peterborough, is well within what is now considered Southern Ontario, and 130 km from Toronto by road.

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Live At Massey Hall 1971 is a live album by Neil Young. Released in 2007, the album features a solo, acoustic performance from Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 19 January 1971 during the Journey Through the Past Solo Tour. It is the second release in Young's Archives Performance Series. It reached #1 in Canada with 11,000 units sold in its first week. It debuted at #9 on the Irish Charts, and #30 on the UK albums chart.
The album debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart on 31 March 2007 at number 6, with 57,000 copies sold. It spent 11 weeks on the chart. In 2009, the album was named by Fretbase as the second best album featuring a singer-songwriter on acoustic guitar of all time.
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Artist: Neil Young
Video title: Helpless (Live @ Massey Hall 1971)

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