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Neil Young — Helpless
Album: Unplugged
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1796









Released: 1993
Length: 5:32
Plays (last 30 days): 0
There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless.
Comments (348)add comment
I didn't know a harmonica could weep.
This song always takes me back to the spring of 1982, when I dropped out of college and hitch-hiked from Toronto to Banff. Along the way I found myself in the back seat of crappy car driving out of Timmins, Ontario, with a bunch of misfits. 

All my changes were there...
To me 7 - Quite Likeable   down to 3 and Skip
Nice version, though I think I prefer the one from Deja Yu with CSN .....
 DocStrangelove wrote:
worst version ever

 
Well then, that explains the 7.8 rating. Thanks for clearing that up.  {#Iamwithstupid} 
 merkin_muffley wrote:
KD Lang covers this really well.

 

With all due respect, Mr President, KD's version is just ridiculous with its over-the-top swooning theatrics.  It evokes images of E. Gorey's Edwardian ladies dropping handkerchiefs whilst crying out "Oh, won't someone help little ol' me?"
 ozzie1313 wrote:
"Helpless" was written three years before "Knock, Knock,Knocking on Heaven's Door."  So Neil didn't steal from Dylan.  Both are prolific lyricists not needing to borrow from others surreptitiously.

 
Yes, and anyhow, the two songs have different chord progressions, but both of them are very common "folk" chord progressions which probably were used in hundreds of other songs before and since.
Feels especially relevant at the moment
 kingart wrote:
Meaning what, exactly? That Young lifted it from Dylan? Well, no, this song dates from 1970, and the CSNY album Deja Vu. 
Dylan's Knockin on Heaven's Door was 1972 or '73, and was featured (as was Dylan himself) in the western Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. 
It can only be the reverse of what seems to be your implication. 
 
Good to know! Thanks for clearing that up.
Meaning what, exactly? That Young lifted it from Dylan? Well, no, this song dates from 1970, and the CSNY album Deja Vu. 
Dylan's Knockin on Heaven's Door was 1972 or '73, and was featured (as was Dylan himself) in the western Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. 

If can only be the reverse of what seems to be your implication. 
vanmas wrote:
Knock, knock, knocking on heavens door... that's what I hear...
A Dylan song... correct me if i'm wrong...
Like Dylan more than Young.

  
Exactly what I was hearing, so I decided to take a look in the forum, to see if I'm the only one. Glad I'm not. Can't say I like Dylan any better though. Glad the next song is on now :)



Can't stand Neil Young, especially this. Ugh! {#Frustrated}
"Helpless" was written three years before "Knock, Knock,Knocking on Heaven's Door."  So Neil didn't steal from Dylan.  Both are prolific lyricists not needing to borrow from others surreptitiously.
      
         There is a A1 in 'there is a town.'
         Meeting was pure happenstance.
       I can't say it happens less and less
                       Everyday
. . . exactly.     ty
 vanmas wrote:
Knock, knock, knocking on heavens door... that's what I hear...
A Dylan song... correct me if i'm wrong...
Like Dylan more than Young.

 
Exactly what I was hearing, so I decided to take a look in the forum, to see if I'm the only one. Glad I'm not. Can't say I like Dylan any better though. Glad the next song is on now :)
You know this is a live version, Having seen Neil live on several occasions and also seeing Eddie Vedder live with Neil, there is something that doesn't come across in the recording. Their voices are just somehow better live they fill the space. Just my opinion.  
Just the best! Guess you had to grow up with him. 
 helgigermany wrote:
lame version!

 
Yeah, I gotta agree. And damn, I was wanting more.
I don't care if Neil Young "can't sing" (everyone can sing, but how well is a matter of opinion, I s'pose).  Saw Neil in concert in 1984 and it changed everything for me.  I loved him before, but hearing his voice reverberate around the outdoor stadium was a spiritual experience.  The man is excellent, sincere and, why, a good person too ! 
lame version!
 Lazarus wrote:
Neil Young squeals like a pig...  this song is painful for human ears...

 
If only I had a pig that squealed like this, I'd be a millionaire right now!
Hey Kewl Kids...I know what! {#Idea} Let's all jump on the "Neil and Bob and Eddie can't sing!" bandwagon!

Zillions of record and ticket buyers in the past 50+ years obviously disagree.

Moral of Story: don't be an intertubes moron. {#Beat}

 Lazarus wrote:
Neil Young squeals like a pig...  this song is painful for human ears...

 
Your opinion is wrong..... {#Wink}
Despite being a Neil Young hater (that voice... the horror, the horror) I was surprised to find myself enjoying the instrumental parts of this. Has he done any instrumentals?
Buffy St. Marie sings a great cover of this song.  No offense to Neil, but hers is better.
Neil Young squeals like a pig...  this song is painful for human ears...
I really enjoy hearing different versions. I like this one, it's soulful.
 rdo wrote:
FUCK YOU NEIL YOUNG
 

Another eloquent and reasoned response from the Haters camp.  


Knock, knock, knocking on heavens door... that's what I hear...
A Dylan song... correct me if i'm wrong...
Like Dylan more than Young.
 rdo wrote:
FUCK YOU NEIL YOUNG

 
You do love him very much, but as far as I know Neil is a straight guy...sorry
 musikluvr wrote:
Thanks for keeping the comments page classy, rdo.
 
Exactly. Truly pathetic. Thankfully most RP-ers don't stoop to that level.
 rdo wrote:
FUCK YOU NEIL YOUNG

 
Thanks for keeping the comments page classy, rdo.
 rdo wrote:
FUCK YOU NEIL YOUNG

 
{#Naughty}   {#Naughty}   {#Naughty}   {#Naughty}   {#Naughty}   {#Naughty}   {#Naughty}
Pono Kickstarter is up https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1003614822/ponomusic-where-your-soul-rediscovers-music
Helpless, we´re not.
FUCK YOU NEIL YOUNG
My least favorite performance of/by Neil of this very good song.
the king of bubblegum{#Yawn}
 Cynaera wrote:
I love this song anyway, but a live version - slowed down a little, with more nuance, more emotion - this takes me to another place. (I still wish he'd substitute a cello, a harp, or a mandolin for that ever-irritating harmonica part.)  Not changing my 10. Neil Young will be what I have in my MP3 player, my CD player, or whatever I've got when the end of the world happens. 
 

Miss you so much, Cynaera...

 
"Big Bird Flying"


 
"and in my mind, i still need a place to go"....yeah,i get that
 railroadwail wrote:

Although I prefer, the "Last Waltz version of this song with Joni singing harmony, it's always good to hear Neil on RP.  Keep it up, Bill. We have a mutual admiration society for Neil and Mark Knopfler.



 

What he/she said!
Wait.... Looking at that picture.....Is this Jimmy Fallon???
 Shaken_Bake wrote:
I love north Ontario.  Not necessarily this time of year, though...
 
It's just fine here at this time of the year, if you like snow. :-p
I love north Ontario.  Not necessarily this time of year, though...
Man this is good.
  fingerpin wrote:
A 10 today. 
 

treatment_bound wrote:


What about tomorrow?
 
...what about THIS?........
This post apparently contained an image that was dragged into the post editor. Sorry, but any text contained in the post after this point has been lost.
 fingerpin wrote:
A 10 today. 
 

What about tomorrow?
feckless more like.
 Sjaaks wrote:
Sjaaks wrote:
I'm sorry but i couldn't help sing along "Let It Be" and "Knock- knock knockin' On Heaven's Door"...
{#Nyah}
Not all that original...
4


Touché!
But still, it sounds so generic melodically speaking... On the other hand, somehow my feelings managed to appreciate this a bit more since RP played this song a couple of times, so i'll bump this up to a 6. But that's more like a 5.6 than a full 6....

{#Think}   
 
WHAT!!!!?   {#Doh}
Sjaaks wrote:
I'm sorry but i couldn't help sing along "Let It Be" and "Knock- knock knockin' On Heaven's Door"...
{#Nyah}
Not all that original...
4
 

Hannio wrote:


Your derision is misplaced.  Helpless was first recorded in 1969.  Let It Be came out in 1970.  Knocking on Heaven's Door in 1973.
 

Touché!
But still, it sounds so generic melodically speaking... On the other hand, somehow my feelings managed to appreciate this a bit more since RP played this song a couple of times, so i'll bump this up to a 6. But that's more like a 5.6 than a full 6....

{#Think}   

Although I prefer, the "Last Waltz version of this song with Joni singing harmony, it's always good to hear Neil on RP.  Keep it up, Bill. We have a mutual admiration society for Neil and Mark Knopfler.


 luisgpr wrote:
I grew my teen years listening to CSN&Y good memories.
 

Good you got this off of your chest, Luis!


Thumbs Down Thumbs Down Thumbs Down
Many are good - nobody is better than Neil!
KD Lang covers this really well.
I grew my teen years listening to CSN&Y good memories.
As fantastic as this is, the CSN&Y version is better.  The layered harmonies just makes the song for me.

 
I am no sort of Neil Young fan.  So often sounds like he's just whining.  This one's different.  An easy 9.  Nice work.
Lump. . . throat. . . .can't. . . . talk.
{#Daisy} Love me some Neil ♥
The live version of Helpless is, for me, significantly inferiior to his recorded version.
A 10 today. 
the crying man...

great.
The Last Waltz version is the the best....  This one works too.

{#Clap} 

Simply the best - no one can top this guy.
Thank goodness some yahoo didn't find it necessary to ruin this song with a whistle or a woo-hooo......maybe there were adults in the audience?   Much appreciated.
 cc_rider wrote:
Having just heard a dear, dear member of the RP community passed away, tragically, this song is all the more poignant. We all feel helpless, trying to make sense of a senseless loss.

Peace, Melissa.
 

Amen
Having just heard a dear, dear member of the RP community passed away, tragically, this song is all the more poignant. We all feel helpless, trying to make sense of a senseless loss.

Peace, Melissa.
Friggin awesome.
 gigikent wrote:

Although it's probably just a matter of aquired taste, i wish i could give it another 11!

 
 
 
Helped you out there..we are cool with just one eleven,glad that you like this song ! {#Good-vibes}
I was proud to see Neil at the closing ceremony for the Olympics in Vancouver. Him and his guitar. The Canadain trubadour. Songs like this reflect that Canadian spirit that will always be part of this artistry.
 Cynaera wrote:
I love this song anyway, but a live version - slowed down a little, with more nuance, more emotion - this takes me to another place. (I still wish he'd substitute a cello, a harp, or a mandolin for that ever-irritating harmonica part.)  Not changing my 10. Neil Young will be what I have in my MP3 player, my CD player, or whatever I've got when the end of the world happens. 
 
like button...........
 dcjohnson77 wrote:
It seems most people on this string are either too young or too musically under-educated to understand Neil Young so you should stick to Facebook
 

Smack!
 dcjohnson77 wrote:
It seems most people on this string are either too young or too musically under-educated to understand Neil Young so you should stick to Facebook
 


Here here, RP is just not for NY haters so move on please! This station is about musical appreciation not denegration.
It seems most people on this string are either too young or too musically under-educated to understand Neil Young so you should stick to Facebook
 gigikent wrote:
Indeed, or in the context of a whole album the sweet silence between the tracks!!!
Although it's probably just a matter of aquired taste, i wish i could give it another 1!

 
chadlymn wrote:
the best part of every Neil Young song is THE END!  {#Puke}
 
 
So, since you can't give it another 1, why don't you move on? We get it. (Um, and learn to spell - it's "acquired.")

 bentonian wrote:
Neil Young, always a good time for a bathroom break!
 
To each his/her own. I hope that while you're in the bathroom, the muzak is something by Kenny G. 

 chadlymn wrote:
the best part of every Neil Young song is THE END! 
 
Strike One: You rated a Rush song 10 (please, tell us you're joking).
Strike Two: You used absurdly large text and that moronic puking emoticon.
(Of course you don't get Neil Young.)

Indeed, or in the context of a whole album the sweet silence between the tracks!!!
Although it's probably just a matter of aquired taste, i wish i could give it another 1!

 
chadlymn wrote:
the best part of every Neil Young song is THE END!  {#Puke}
 


the best part of every Neil Young song is THE END!  {#Puke}


Neil, solo acoustic was the very first concert I saw circa '82. This recording always evokes an incredible memory of that experience.
 ubuntourist wrote:
I find my reaction to Neil Young's material so unpredictable.  Often, I like it but I think his material would be better in someone else's throat.  The better known recording of "Helpless" falls into that category.  But this version he owns well.
 
Perhaps you should search for KD Lang's version.

Ahh, Christ...still leaves me feeling helpless.
RIP Fred.

Neil Young, always a good time for a bathroom break!
cry cry cry
I love this song anyway, but a live version - slowed down a little, with more nuance, more emotion - this takes me to another place. (I still wish he'd substitute a cello, a harp, or a mandolin for that ever-irritating harmonica part.)  Not changing my 10. Neil Young will be what I have in my MP3 player, my CD player, or whatever I've got when the end of the world happens. 
I bow to the RP Community.....Off the charts   {#Meditate}
Best version on: The last Waltz
I find my reaction to Neil Young's material so unpredictable.  Often, I like it but I think his material would be better in someone else's throat.  The better known recording of "Helpless" falls into that category.  But this version he owns well.
OMG
 SweTex wrote:

I'm gonna need your name, adress and phone number to be able to sue you. An e-mail adress would probably help too. Oh, and drivers license and social security number and yearly income. I talked to an attorney already and we're good to go. So just mail me the info and hold on to your hat. Ok?
 
SweTex, I will join the class action suit...

Did he say: "Big Bird's flying across the sky"? {#Cool}


GENIUS

Interesting transition from Porcupine Tree A Smart Kid to Neil Young Helpless.

 

To the Nothern Lights, vast expanses of boreal-forest covered Canadian Shield and crisp, cold nights.

 


Well dang, I never heard this version. I hate you Bill—I can never get anything done, needing to always respond to something fantastical that always hear here—here here! Life is good....
 
 LowPhreak wrote:
Because of this song, I've always wanted to check out north Ontario! 
 
It's a wonderful place. But not during black fly season, or winter....

 bindi wrote:

I can find a lot of reasons not to like Neil - weak, wobbly, slightly out of tune voice, kind of slow songs, etc -but somehow, I love most of his music. (not a fan of the rockin' tunes)  To me, he is a voice of pure human emotion.

 
That is where Neil really shines. Of course his songwriting contributes, but the way he can put so much emotion into a song, not many artists can do it as well. Even his rockin' tunes, he throws himself into them too, wringing out emotion.

Gawd I love Neil. {#Sunny}
{#Eek}
Neil Young - Helpless
{#Stupid}
Porcupine Tree - A Smart Kid (Live)
{#Ask}

Strange segue . . .
 mikexican wrote:
Oh god, please no more. RP played NYoung to death yesterday and I thought today I could get a break. Nope, it's not even 10am and I'm already depressed and annoyed. Sorry RP, gotta put you on time out today and find a new station to check out. I'll be back but you have to know about it when you're driving listeners away. And yes, I know it is a crime to not like the music god known as Neil Young, and that he's a brilliant songwriter and all that, I've heard it all before. I just hate his voice. Sue me. 
 
Thank you, yes:  With so many different artists out there, and so many songs per artist, do we really need daily re-runs?  I thought variety was one of the biggest reasons we're not listening to those mass-market stations...

I thought Neil Young was at his best in CSN&Y, but then hey, he has his own style and expression, and this really is a decent song.  Just not too often, please.


 Hannio wrote:


Your derision is misplaced.  Helpless was first recorded in 1969.  Let It Be came out in 1970.  Knocking on Heaven's Door in 1973.

 
Thank you for the historical perspective.  Anyhow, all three of the songs have pretty standard "folk music" chord progressions.


Because of this song, I've always wanted to check out north Ontario! 
 mikexican wrote:
Oh god, please no more. RP played NYoung to death yesterday and I thought today I could get a break. Nope, it's not even 10am and I'm already depressed and annoyed. Sorry RP, gotta put you on time out today and find a new station to check out. I'll be back but you have to know about it when you're driving listeners away. And yes, I know it is a crime to not like the music god known as Neil Young, and that he's a brilliant songwriter and all that, I've heard it all before. I just hate his voice. Sue me. 
 
I'm gonna need your name, adress and phone number to be able to sue you. An e-mail adress would probably help too. Oh, and drivers license and social security number and yearly income. I talked to an attorney already and we're good to go. So just mail me the info and hold on to your hat. Ok?


 Cynaera wrote:
Neil Young is yet another of those artists that a person either loves or hates. I love him.  His music has pulled me through some very awful times and a couple of near-deaths. He has a few songs that make me want to howl at the moon, but for the most part, I can get past his vocal imperfections and just sink into the lyrics and the mood of the song.

This song, in whatever incarnation, is one of my favorites. (I still wish he'd lose the harmonica, or at least exchange it for a harp or a cello.)  In my very uneducated opinion, Mr. Young has mentally filed away more about music than most artists have ever learned.

Solid 10. And I don't care what anyone else thinks.
 
I can find a lot of reasons not to like Neil - weak, wobbly, slightly out of tune voice, kind of slow songs, etc -but somehow, I love most of his music. (not a fan of the rockin' tunes)  To me, he is a voice of pure human emotion.

Neil Young is yet another of those artists that a person either loves or hates. I love him.  His music has pulled me through some very awful times and a couple of near-deaths. He has a few songs that make me want to howl at the moon, but for the most part, I can get past his vocal imperfections and just sink into the lyrics and the mood of the song.

This song, in whatever incarnation, is one of my favorites. (I still wish he'd lose the harmonica, or at least exchange it for a harp or a cello.)  In my very uneducated opinion, Mr. Young has mentally filed away more about music than most artists have ever learned.

Solid 10. And I don't care what anyone else thinks.
 pappason27 wrote:
hard to believe unplugged was on mtv. rip mtv

 

Definitely RIP the original MTV programming.

This was about the beginning of the unplugged onslaught. And it was really rootsy and heartfelt. Ever seen a pump organ played live? How about a broom? No kidding, played to perfection! Excellent live unplugged show. Check it out.



HEY HEY.. MEOW MEOW.  Rock and roll will never die.  (not unless he kills it)

kopak wrote:


Oh it is you again... Well, I have to say that I never heard a cat, even in heat, sing a vibrato. 7 for the French harp.
 


I have joined you in that quest!!!  Worst vocalist ever.....

 
bentonian wrote:
Thank goodness I'm not helpless to hit the mute button!
 


Thank goodness I'm not helpless to hit the mute button!
Great rendition -  haven't heard this one before.  Thanks! 
Oh god, please no more. RP played NYoung to death yesterday and I thought today I could get a break. Nope, it's not even 10am and I'm already depressed and annoyed. Sorry RP, gotta put you on time out today and find a new station to check out. I'll be back but you have to know about it when you're driving listeners away. And yes, I know it is a crime to not like the music god known as Neil Young, and that he's a brilliant songwriter and all that, I've heard it all before. I just hate his voice. Sue me. 
 Sjaaks wrote:
I'm sorry but i couldn't help sing along "Let It Be" and "Knock- knock knockin' On Heaven's Door"...

{#Nyah}

Not all that original...

4
 

Your derision is misplaced.  Helpless was first recorded in 1969.  Let It Be came out in 1970.  Knocking on Heaven's Door in 1973.


He sounds like a cat in heat!!!   {#Beat}

No...worse


I'm sorry but i couldn't help sing along "Let It Be" and "Knock- knock knockin' On Heaven's Door"...

{#Nyah}

Not all that original...

4


Here I go again, this song approaches perfection!
Apropos of nothing:
Did anyone else listening celebrate 4:20 today?
I was @ the Vancouver Art Gallery with 15,000+ brothers & sisters turning the air blue (but not with curses!) in the downtown heart of Canada's third largest city. Others around the world similarly lit up to protest pot prohibition.
I am a person who uses marijuana medically and I say:
END PROHIBITION - LEGALIZE IT!
Treat it like alcohol: legalize it (via licensing) tax the hell out of it with sin taxes if you must, but make provision for people like me to grow my own legally and make it exempt from excise tax if for my own consumption and for gifting friends; exactly the way I can now make my own beer & wine for personal consumption & for gifting friends (but not for sale, sorry). {#Wink}

Read more:
https://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/04/20/bc-4-20-smoke-ins.html

{#Sunny}  {#Good-vibes}

BTW - 'Helpless'  9 > 10


What a combo!!!...ough...
Stops me in my tracks every time.
 vit wrote:


He sings like people feel; flawed but perfect.
 
He sings like people; flawed but perfect.

 vit wrote:


He sings like people feel; flawed but perfect.
 
Yes,that's what I feel.