Despite being the title track of the Harvest
album, "Harvest" has enjoyed far less fanfare than songs on the set like "Heart of Gold
," and "The Needle And The Damage Done
." In that way, it's similar to the "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
," another Young title track that was overlooked in favor of other songs.
According to Jimmy McDonough's Shakey
, The song's story was inspired by the life of Young's then-girlfriend, actress Carrie Snodgress, who said that while she and Young were tripping on acid, Young kept asking her to describe details about her mother Carolyn, who was a severe alcoholic that would regularly feign suicide in order to test the love of her children.
Carolyn Snodgress would burst into tears every time she visited the studio to hear "Harvest." She died a few years after the song was recorded.