Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)

Album: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

Songfacts®:

  • Before Crazy Horse was Crazy Horse, they were the Rockets. As the Rockets, they released a self-titled album on White Whale Records in 1968. One of their songs, "Let Me Go," was covered on Three Dog Night's 1968 debut. It wasn't record-smashing stuff, but they appeared to have a future.

    Young met the Rockets in August 1968, three months after Buffalo Springfield fell apart. He jammed with them at the iconic Whisky A Go Go and liked what he heard, so later he asked them to help him on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.

    Not all of the Rockets went along. Those that did included Danny Whitten, Ralph Molina, and Billy Talbot. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, though it's doubtful that that was ever actually Young's intention.
  • Throughout the course of his career, Young has made a reputation for being restless, for burning bridges, and for breaking up bands. It's something Young has lamented frequently in his life, but chalks up to the necessity of following his art.

    "Hey," Young says in Jimmy McDonough's Shakey. "You can either be true to your art or be a good public relations man."

    Whatever the case, intended or not intended, the Rockets stay went well beyond the Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere sessions. They became Crazy Horse, Young's regular outfit.
  • One of the Rockets who didn't come along was George Whitsell, who recalls, "My understanding was Neil was gonna use the guys for a record and a quick tour, bring 'em back and help us produce the next Rockets album. It took me a year and a half to realize that my band had been taken."

    The song "Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets" makes it clear that Young never had anything intention of just "borrowing" the band. The song is about Young's regrets over lying and ruining relationships. It's something that's followed him his whole life, but something he seems to believe is inevitable. He's a slave to his muse, and he will make any other sacrifices he needs to make for that muse.
  • The song isn't only about the Rockets/Crazy Horse. It's a general outpouring of feelings about all of Young's past sins. In Shakey, he says the line "I left my love with ribbons on and water in her eyes" is about his first wife, Susan Acevedo (married 1968–1970).

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