James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt sang backup; they don't come in until the end of the song. Like Young, Taylor and Ronstadt were in town to appear on The Johnny Cash Show
(the song's producer Elliot Mazer had produced Ronstadt's 1970 Silk Purse
album). Young convinced them to lend their voices to this track, and they came in on Sunday, February 7, 1971, the day after the rest of the song was completed.
When it was their turn to add harmonies, the task proved rather arduous. Ronstadt recalled to Mojo
: "We were sat on the couch in the control room, but I had to get up on my knees to be on the same level as James because he's so tall. Then we sang all night, the highest notes I could sing. It was so hard, but nobody minded. It was dawn when we walked out of the studio."
At the time, Taylor and Young were huge stars, but Ronstadt had yet to land a big hit. Her talent was obvious to those around her, but poor song selection and promotion kept her from the top ranks. Young exposed her to arena crowds when he brought her along as the opening act on his Time Fades Away tour in early 1973, but it was another two years before she landed that elusive hit, going to #1 with "You're No Good