Released in 1970 as a single, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” was Neil Young’s first top 40 song and was included in the iconic third album in Young’s catalog, “After The Gold Rush”.
Some stories differentiate a bit on the genesis of the song, but the most romantic is that it was written for Graham Nash after his split with Joni Mitchell.
It’s one of Young’s most often covered songs, but none as popular as the English alternative dance band St. Etienne, who covered it in 1990 essentially launching their career. It was their first single, their first chart topping hit and supposedly the catalyst for their record deal. Thanks, Neil!
On their March 2011 visit to Morning Becomes Eclectic, Nick Urata and co. took their Gypsy Pop down a notch for a cover of this song and stayed pretty true to the original.
The first variation you hear of course is the sweeping accordion pulling the song along the way and giving it just enough DeVotchKa spice. Nick’s voice does a nice job of staying in the key of Americana Folk and they do more of an homage to Mr. Young than a straight cover.
Have a listen:
“Only Love Can Break Your Heart) — Devotchka (Live on Morning Becomes Eclectic)