“Old Man” is from Neil Young’s 1972 album Harvest. On the recording, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt contribute backing vocals. Taylor also played six-string banjo on the track.
In the 2006 documentary Heart of Gold, Young explains how he came to write the song:
“About that time when I wrote (Heart of Gold), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avala and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.”
“Old Man” was released as a single in the spring of 1972. It topped out at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 2.