1974 Prelude – After The Goldrush
Neil Young’s third solo studio album came out in 1970. The title track from the album was After The Goldrush. The musical backing for the song was just two instruments: a piano and a French Horn. The song seems to have addressed environmental concerns, particularly with the line, “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the nineteen seventies.” Neil never released the song as a single.
British musicians Brian Hume and his wife Irene teamed up with Ian Vardy and formed the group Prelude. Brian and Ian both played guitar, and all three were singers. The group primarily performed folk music at clubs in the early seventies, building up a following in England.
While waiting at a bus stop, the three began singing After The Goldrush, doing so acappella. They liked the sound of their harmonies and began performing the song that way in their shows. They recorded the song on their first album in 1973 and never considered releasing it as a single. Dawn Records heard something and released the song as a single, and it reached #21 on the UK chart early the next year.
The record eventually reached the Hot 100 in the US as well, peaking at #22 in November 1974. The group never reached the Hot 100 again after that early success and also had difficulty returning to the UK charts.
In 1980, Prelude finally got back on the charts in the UK with a single that peaked at #45. In 1982 they recorded a new version of After The Goldrush and also filmed a video for the song. The new single reached #28 on the UK chart but failed to chart in the US.
Ian left the group in 1985, and Brian and Irene continued performing as a duo. They recruited additional musicians over the next two decades to fill out the group’s sound. Ian rejoined the group in 2007. The group even recorded a new album in 2011, and they continue to tour.
Neil still performs After The Goldrush in concerts, but he penned a new line for the song since it isn’t still the seventies: “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st century.”
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