The song has been covered a variety of artists, including Thom Yorke of Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds.
When Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris
and Linda Ronstadt recorded it in 1999 for their collaboration Trio II
, they got some unique insight into the song from the man who wrote it. Said Parton: "When we were doing the Trio
album, I asked Linda and Emmy what it meant, and they didn't know. So we called Neil Young, and he didn't know. We asked him, flat out, what it meant, and he said, 'Hell, I don't know. I just wrote it. It just depends on what I was taking at the time. I guess every verse has something different I'd taken.'"
Two of the trio had previously recorded the song: Parton included a version with Alison Krauss on her 1996 album Treasures
, and Ronstadt did a cover for her 1995 album Feels Like Home
. Ronstadt listened to Young a lot when she was on the road touring, and particularly loved this song. "I would think, 'This is the future,'" she said. "Neil's seeing humans leaving the planet and go off to start a new space colony. I've always felt that Neil had a great deal of really uncanny prescience in his writing."