When Neil Young left Canada for the first time he was able to see and meet many musicians who would later become famous. When he performed at Massey hall in 1971 he performed this song...
I caught you knockin' at my cellar door
I love you, baby, can I have some more
Ooh, ooh, the damage done.

I hit the city and I lost my band
I watched the needle take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done.

I sing the song because I love the man
I know that some of you don't understand
Milk-blood to keep from running out.

I've seen the needle and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie's like a settin' sun.

Lyrics submitted by H-bomb

The Needle And The Damage Done song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +5
    My Interpretation"Milk blood to keep from running out"
    Definite double meaning
    1) Re-injecting blood to get high
    2) Using/ stealing from family members to get dope money
    Damicson February 04, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI'm not even going to begin to point out the meaning of this song to you. To quote from the master himself, Bill Hicks, (drug addicts) "they are sick, they are not criminals". I guess you have no real compassion for people. You can't just make a broad generalisation that all drug addicts want to be addicts. I'm going to stop now before I get angry...
    hang on to a dreamon May 24, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentSupposedly, as the story goes, one of the members of Crazy Horse (whose name escapes me at the moment) got addicted to heroin. So Young kicked him out of the band, gave him a plane ticket and $50 to go to LA, enter rehab and clean himself up. Instead, he spent the money on more heroin and ended up Oding. Very sad.

    And the "milk blood" line is about how junkies draw their own blood and re-inject it to get a mild high.

    If you like this song, you'll like the whole album Tonights The Night - another band member ODed, so everyone in Crazy Horse just got piss drunk and recorded the whole album in pretty much one take. All kinds of slurred words, missed tempos and stuff - but it's absolutely amazing nonetheless.
    headlessparroton June 28, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song reminds me on Layne Staley. The article in Rolling Stone( 1996- I think ) magazine about Layne was titled>The Needle And The Damage Done. I don`t know when this song was written, but it`s like he is singing about him. Layne, I love you.
    mojo risinon August 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthanks guys, l couldn't work out if this song was about heroin injecting junkies or the increasing amount of men making patchwork quilts.
    sleepsyon February 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The worst drugs are as bad as anybody's told you. It's just a dumb trip, which I can't condemn people if they get into it, because one gets into it for one's own personal, social, emotional reasons."

    -John Lennon
    bobdylaniscoolon February 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy father was a big Neil Young fan, and I eventually became one too. He told me this was about infamous Sid Vicious, the bassist for the Sex Pistols in the '70s. Sid was never a heroine drug addict until meeting Nancy Spungen, a heavy heroine addict and overall drug abuser. Sid fell for her and eventually became one too, and so Nancy dragged her man down with her to the grave. He did love her, and before his death, he was kicked out of the Sex Pistols to spend his last days with his hopeless addiction, and eventually dying in 1979 after Nancy.
    Moondance12on February 28, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about heroin and a friend of his getting addicted and how sad it was to watch him waste away. Maybe, only possibly, could it be about David Crosby (?). It's one of the reasons he left CSNY because of David's addiction and I heard they were pretty close...but these are only thoughts. Thanks! Love ya! ~*~Tessa~*~
    Flychick773on June 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't think Neil Young ever specified who it was about. at the time he wrote/recorded this, he had his pick of peers who had gone by way of the needle. it could be about any one of them.
    roger wilcoon June 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know about sympathy...the song seems to be more of a warning about the dangers of drug abuse. He has been around a lot of folks that couldn't get enough, turned into junkies, and are "like a setting sun" pushing themselves to an inevitable end.
    speterso74on August 02, 2002   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top