That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.
Fifty years ago today, on November 18, 1972, Neil Young fired Danny Whitten. The 29-year-old guitarist had already been dismissed from Crazy Horse due to his drug use. Young gave him another chance to join his touring band, the Stray Gators, as they went out to promote Harvest. When Whitten proved he couldn’t handle that either, Young gave him fifty dollars and a plane ticket back to Los Angeles. That night, he got a phone call: Whitten had died of a drug overdose.
A crushed Young, who had already written “The Needle and the Damage Done” about Whitten, went on to record Tonight’s the Night, a tribute to him and to roadie Bruce Berry. These are some of Young’s strongest works and have all the impact today that they had on first release. But there’s another artistic work related to Whitten that’s arguably greater and longer lasting. And it came from the pen of Danny Whitten himself.