The Needle And The Damage Done

Album: Harvest (1972)
Charted: 75
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  • I caught you knockin' at my cellar door
    I love you, baby, can I have some more?
    Ooh, ooh, the damage done

    I hit the city and I lost my band
    I watched the needle take another man
    Gone, gone, the damage done

    I sing the song because I love the man
    I know that some of you don't understand
    Milk-blood to keep from running out

    I've seen the needle and the damage done
    A little part of it in everyone
    But every junkie's like a settin' sun Writer/s: Neil Young
    Publisher: Broken Fiddle Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, WORDS & MUSIC A DIV OF BIG DEAL MUSIC LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 36

  • Charlie B from OhioMilk blood refers to pulling back on the syringe to make sure you’re in a vein. A drop of blood mixes with the milky heroin solution
  • Dan From Menifee from Menifee, CaI think it's brilliant how the song seems to end very early, incomplete if you will...just as does the life of a typical junkie. So sad...
  • Colorado J from Denver “Every junkie is like a setting sun”...simply Consistent and predictable.
  • Chris from His Answer Young answered:

    “The song’s pretty straightforward. When I said every junkie’s like a setting sun, it’s like, if that’s what you’re gonna do, you’re not gonna… you’re gonna go down,” Young said. “You can’t do that. Very few people have been able to hold on to that for their whole lives. And their lives have been affected, and even the most successful ones have ended up dying suddenly…”
  • Gábor from SzékesfehérvárI am curious, what is "milk blood"?
  • Melissai thought the setting sun lyric was referring to how often times drugs start out as fun and games but before you know it it turns to addiction and everything falls to s--t. So like the setting sun it always goes down.
  • Ant from Morecambe EnglandJust read Neil Young's 'waging heavy peace'. Awesome piece of work. You wanna know about Young? Then read this! Brian from Boston is one silly boy!
  • Greg from Harrington Park, NjThe Line every jinkie's like a setting sun, to me, means that every night the sun sets, like the junkie's high will ware off sometime throughout the night... then the next morning they will get high, or "rise" again, just as the sun does. The sun rises and sets every day without fail. Until the junkie changes his ways, he will also rise, "get high" and set "come down"
  • Nick from Cleveland, OhThere are some very insightful comments here (it's almost as if some have primary experience with the subject of the lyrics.) "Every junky is a setting sun," like all of Young's best lyrics, has layers of meaning. The obvious interpretation is that addicts come and go every day. But every dope fiend apprehends another meaning: Like the setting sun, the junky has to get up in the morning and repeat his daily routine of copping.
  • Tom from Wilkes Barre, PaPerhaps Brian from Boston believes that the Needle and the Damage Done refers to phonograph records getting
  • Nate from New York, NyNo, Brian from Boston, this song is definitely about drugs.
  • David from Orlando, FlJust thinking about when I was a junkie. Neil Young said it best when he said "Every Junkies Like a Setting Sun" That is so true. I say that from experience. Junkies will come & go, just like the sun rising & setting. If you've never been there, than you can't understand. If you have been there, then you know. I was there for 3 very long years & it sucked. As 38 Special said, "A Prisoner by Drugs with no Life to be Free". Another quote that is
  • Oldpink from Farmland, InBrian from Boston, you badly need to get a clue.
    If you can't find the drug reference in this song, you can't find it in either the title or the stark lyrics, then I doubt you can find much of anything else in life.
  • Michael from Barrack Heights, AustraliaIt wasn't a Neil Young concert where the coke was up his nose. It was in the Band's farewell movie "The Last Waltz" when he sang "Helpless". Danny whitten didn't overdose on $50 of pure heroin. He died from an accidental overdose of Vodka and Valium. There was no trace of heroinin his system. coroners report.
  • Brian from Boston, MaThis song is not about drugs. Why do some people always have to find a drug meaning in every song
  • Matt from Kansas City, KsOzzy's song "Suicide Solution" is about the dangers of alcohol, and is said to be about Bon Scott drinking himself to death
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InBoy! talk about dreary!
    Nonetheless, this one was a rare thing for the time it came out, i.e. a song that discourages what was going too far and claiming not just lives, but also talent and motivation.
    Skynyrd are the only other band I can name off the top of my head who wrote similar songs, including "Poison Whiskey," "That Smell," and "The Needle and the Spoon."
  • Raul from Los Angeles, CaThe "Harvest" album version of this song was recorded in UCLA's Royce Hall.
  • Rick from Tuscola, United Statesa great album and a great song. every junkie is like the setting sun. they are not rising they are almost gone.
  • Peter from Nyc, NyI don't agree with those journalists, whoever they are. This song is entirely "Just Say No". The line "every junkie's like a setting sun" means that just like a setting sun, junkies don't last very long.
  • Malicious Matt from SquatneyThis song is obviously about what happens when you dont take care of your record collection. The rest of his songs are all about drugs though.
  • Laura from Detroit, Mi1994 -- In January, five prison guards at the Boise, Idaho, Maximum Security Institution were accused of taunting death row inmates by playing a 1971 Neil Young song "The Needle and the Damage Done" during a scheduled execution-by-injection.
  • Justin from Olympia, WaI don't think he should be criticized for the "setting sun" lyrics. It seems to me that, "Every junkies like a setting sun" means that people that are addicted to heroin can be good people that are self destructing. They can be beautiful people, but they are inevitably killing themselves. I think it's one of the great lines in pop music.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoI've read that some journalists criticize this song for not being "Just say no" enough, especially for using attractive imagery ("setting sun") at the end. Heartless bastards!
  • Dan from New York, Nyneil young definetly wasnt drug-free back when harvest came out; barely any popular musician was. this song is touching and has a very important message.
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaIt wasn't until the 90's when Young was mostly drug free. I don't really count pot. No one in Vancouver does.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI love this song. It's so sad though. He had obviously lost soemone who was important to him.
  • Jude from Thomasville, GaI don't think Neil was setting himself up as a moral example. I think he was grieving over the death of a good friend and trying to keep others from falling into that trap.
  • Emmett from Milwaukee, Withe conert that neil had a coke nugget in his nose was the last waltz, when he was playing helpless with the Band, Great song.
  • Murray from Shellharbour, Australiai read a biography or autobiography of neil young, and he was by no means "mostly drug-free". he is an awesome musician/songwriter tho, and harvest is one of the greatest albums of all time. this is one of my fav songs to play on the guitar.
  • Sam from Philadelphia, Paim with tedious toad
    where the hell did u get your info? neil young was addicted to coke and heroin for over 15 years

    theres a story that right before a neil young concert that martin scorcese was filming, neil young couldnt go onstage becuase he had a huge nugget of cocaine in his nose. in the special features it shows scorcese trying to airblow the coke nugget out of youngs nose
  • Tedious Toad from Auckland, New ZealandNeil stayed mostly drug free?
  • Robert from Chicago, IlThis song isn't the only one about Danny Whitten's heroin abuse. Neil Young's album Tonight's The Night also portrayed Whitten's tenure with the band and leading up to his death (also is the worst album he ever made).
  • Amy from Chicago, IlThis is the best, most touching song about losing someone to drug addiction. Neil at his best.
  • Paulus from Tasmania, AustraliaNeil Young - "I wrote that about Danny Whitten. He'd gotten so wasted, so strung out, that he ODedand almost died."
  • Roddy from Southampton, EnglandIn the liner notes of "decade", a Young greatest hits collection, he wrote "I'm no preacher, but a lot of good people have been lost to heroin" or something to that effect...
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