Cover of Box Set

From Box Set and 9 other releases

“Helpless” is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, most famously recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. The song was originally recorded with Young’s band Crazy Horse in early 1969, before Young’s new CSNY bandmates (he had joined the then-trio in mid-1969) convinced him it would suit them better.

The song is deceptively simple; at its core is effectively the repetition of one melody over a descending D-A-G chord progression. CSNY initially found difficulty deciding on an arrangement and many different versions of the song were recorded before the group finally decided on the slow-paced version that appeared on Déjà Vu. On this final version Young was in the foreground, singing the verses and the chorus with his bandmates providing the “Helpless” refrain, while the instrumentation came in the form of acoustic guitar, electric guitar (with volume pedal and tremolo), piano, bass and drums. It became one of the most revered songs from the Déjà Vu album (Q magazine’s Peter Doggett regards it as “one of showpieces”), and has remained a live favorite of Young’s ever since. An alternate mix of the CSNY version was released on Neil Young’s “Archives Vol. 1”. It features Young playing harmonica prominently in the mix.

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Albums featuring this track (10)

Similar Tracks

  Track   Duration Listeners
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Woodstock 3:56 150,036
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Crosby, Stills & Nash - Helplessly Hoping 2:41 79,481
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Cowgirl in the Sand 16:11 49,352
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  • RAYMOND7654321

    Written by Young and recorded on Deja Vu in 1970

    17 Feb 5:44am Reply
  • susan-j-

    wow this is going way back.. memories

    15 Jan 10:16pm Reply
  • YiatrosTom

    First heard them from Woodstock movie--had exams and did not get to the festival, but prob good that I didn't. Anyway have been a CSNY fan ever since.

    26 Dec 2013 Reply
  • xamenes_meres

    living in the past ... memoirs remain

    26 Oct 2013 Reply
  • MTBlackJack

    It was the very early 1970's. I was renting a large bedroom in a very old mansion on broadway close to the world war one memorial in kansas city. I was 19 and not yet married. I worked for the finest french restaurant in the country club plaza, "Putch's 210". I played this song a million times. I am reminded of hippy chicks with flowers in their hair. I am also reminded of sexy woman who wore dresses and nylons with seams up the back, beautiful perfumes and inocent times..... CSN&Y .... thank you for getting me high then and now ........ :)

    31 Aug 2013 Reply
  • MrMister7

    "The Strawberry Statement"-movie watched - anyone?

    23 Jul 2013 Reply
  • nicorebel

    Love it (2)

    3 Jul 2013 Reply
  • nicorebel

    Love it

    3 May 2013 Reply
  • md1163

    waging heavy peace

    14 Apr 2013 Reply
  • seritagrace

    I was in California when this was released...one of my all time fav's!!!

    22 Mar 2013 Reply
  • carrie_may

    I prefer the original version but The Last Waltz one is as touching as well.

    12 Mar 2013 Reply
  • paulmatthews67

    wow.....

    7 Feb 2013 Reply
  • oldiesfanjohn

    Neil Young fuckin' rawks!. Run out of superlatives to say about what a great artist he is!

    14 Nov 2012 Reply
  • petross85

    Neil is the boss

    28 Oct 2012 Reply
  • joerags

    brings me back to the time when i was in nam..........some good time and some bad times still a great song to make me sit back and think......... where does the time go???????????????????? my o my

    2 Sep 2012 Reply
  • nick_honest

    excellent

    4 Aug 2012 Reply
  • MaddieTheZombie

    Love this song <3

    30 Jul 2012 Reply
  • HorstKrannich

    +++ sehr schön +++

    18 Jul 2012 Reply
  • shneyder

    Don`t know why....but I keep hellpelesss !Q!!!!!"!!

    26 Jun 2012 Reply
  • gilliananne

    excellent!

    16 Jun 2012 Reply
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