….”I seen the needle and the damage done”…. Today we are remembering Danny Whit…

Written by on November 18, 2017


….”I seen the needle and the damage done”….

Today we are remembering Danny Whitten who passed away on Nov. 18, 1972. Danny was an musician and songwriter best known for his work with Neil Young’s backing band Crazy Horse, and for the song “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”, a hit for Rita Coolidge,Rod Stewart and Everything but the Girl.

Although his role in Crazy Horse was that of support, Whitten sang the album’s opening track “Cinnamon Girl” along with Young, and Whitten and Young played guitar on “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.”

Whitten began using heroin and quickly became addicted. Although he participated in the early stages of Young’s next solo effort, “After the Gold Rush,” Whitten and the rest of Crazy Horse were dismissed about halfway through the recording sessions, in part because of Whitten’s heavy drug use. Whitten performs on “Oh, Lonesome Me”, “I Believe in You”, and “When You Dance I Can Really Love”. Young wrote and recorded “The Needle and the Damage Done” during this time, with direct references to Whitten’s addiction and its role in the destruction of his talent.

Neil Young recalled, “We were rehearsing with him and he just couldn’t cut it. He couldn’t remember anything. He was too out of it. Too far gone. I had to tell him to go back to L.A. ‘It’s not happening, man. You’re not together enough.’ He just said, ‘I’ve got nowhere else to go, man. How am I gonna tell my friends?’ And he split. That night the coroner called me and told me he’d died. That blew my mind. Fucking blew my mind. I loved Danny. I felt responsible. And from there, I had to go right out on this huge tour of huge arenas. I was very nervous and … insecure.”

Years later, Young told biographer Jimmy McDonough that for a long time after Whitten died, he felt responsible for Whitten’s death. It took him years to stop blaming himself. “Danny just wasn’t happy”, Young said. “It just all came down on him. He was engulfed by this drug. That was too bad. Because Danny had a lot to give, boy. He was really good.”

RIP Danny. Sometimes the demons are just too strong.




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