The Neil Young Song Bob Dylan Couldn’t Stand

When it comes to songwriting, Bob Dylan often times have shared that compliment with Neil Young. Over the years, besides their talent for writing lyrics, the two musicians became close friends who shared stages, performed duets, and even covered each other’s songs.

They even mentioned one another’s names in their songs. Dylan talked about his friendship with Young in one of his tracks, ‘Highlands,’ and said, ‘I’m listening to Neil Young, I gotta turn up the sound.’ Neil also gave a shout-out to Bob in a couple of his songs, including ‘Bandit’ and ‘Flags of Freedom.’

Even though Dylan and Young had built a tight-knit relationship, there was one occasion Bob could have done without. The singer did a cover story for Spin in 1985, and during the interview, he couldn’t mention Neil’s hit track ‘Heart Of Gold.’

Here’s what Dylan said about the song that made him uneasy:

“The only time it bothered me that someone sounded like me was when I was living in Phoenix, Arizona, in about ’72, and the big song at the time was ‘Heart of Gold.’ I used to hate it when it came on the radio.”

He continued:

“I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to ‘Heart of Gold.’ I think it was up at number one for a long time, and I’d say, ‘Shit, that’s me. If it sounds like me, it should as well be me.'”

With the song becoming a hit, it also made fans scout Neil; however, since the track sounded much like Bob’s voice, the singer started to stalk him. He recalled:

“There I was, stuck in the desert someplace, having to cool out for a while. New York was a heavy place. Woodstock was worse, people living in trees outside my house, fans trying to batter down my door, and cars following me up dark mountain roads.”

Bob revealed why he couldn’t move on by adding:

“I needed to lay back for a while, forget about things, myself included, and I’d get so far away and turn on the radio, and there I am, but it’s not me. It seemed to me somebody else had taken my thing and had run away with it, you know, and I never got over it. Maybe tomorrow.”

Although there was a brief moment Dylan couldn’t move past the track by Young, it’s safe to say that their friendship didn’t suffer, considering they even released their albums ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ and ‘Homegrown’ on the same day back in 2020.

You can read Bob Dylan’s 1985 cover story with Spin here and listen to ‘Heart Of Gold’ below.