“Heart of Gold” is a folk rock song with raw vocals. With that in mind, one could argue that “Heart of Gold” sounds like Dylan’s music. In fact, Dylan made the comparison himself.
“I used to hate it when it came on the radio,” Dylan told Spin in 1985. “I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to ‘Heart of Gold.’ I think it was up at No. 1 for a long time, and I’d say, ‘Shit, that’s me. If it sounds like me, it should as well be me.’ … It seemed to me somebody else had taken my thing and had run away with it, you know, and I never got over it.”
Afterward, Dylan went into more detail on how he listened to “Heart of Gold.”
“There I was, stuck on the desert someplace, having to cool out for a while,” he said. “I needed to lay back for a while, forget about things, myself included, and I’d get so far away and turn on the radio and there I am, but it’s not me. It seemed to me somebody else had taken my thing and had run away with it, you know, and I never got over it.”
Apparently, Young also had a problem with “Heart of Gold.” According to Rolling Stone, he felt it sounded too “middle-of-the-road” for his liking. He felt that life was more interesting when he stray away from the mainstream.
Dylan and Young didn’t like “Heart of Gold,” however the rest of the world had different opinions about the song as “Heart of Gold” remains Young’s only song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young’s only song to reach the top 20 on the chart and remained today as a classic rock radio staple.