I have recently discovered that 1973 through 1980 is my favorite era of Neil Young’s music. It includes my favorite Album, On The Beach. It was a dark period for Neil but it is filled with broken hearted gems. I have outlined the releases from this period below. Please note what I deem to be the ESSENTIAL releases.
|1973 - Neil Young - Time Fades Away: A strikingly noncommercial followup to the success of Harvest. An album of new material recorded entirely live in concert. Neil had to fire guitarist Danny Whitten before the tour started and he overdosed and died shortly after. What you get is an extremely raw recording of some of Young’s most emotional songs drunkenly delivered on this album that is still unreleased on CD. ESSENTIAL|
|1974 - Neil Young - On The Beach: Another mid 70s gem that didn’t see a proper CD release until 2003. Young is joined on this revelatory set of music by Cajun Countryman Rusty Kershaw. The album has a great vibe all the way through and is probably one of Young’s most consistent recordings. ESSENTIAL|
|1975 - Neil Young - Tonight’s The Night: Originally recorded in 1973 but not released by Young until 75. A legendary release known for its loose off kilter cuts. Book ended by the title track, “Tonight’s the night”, an interesting reaction to loosing both Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry to drugs. ESSENTIAL|
|1975 - Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Zuma: The debut of new rhythm guitarist Frank Sampedro. Young and the Horse return to form along with his producer David Briggs. ESSENTIAL|
|1976 - The Stills Young Band - Long May You Run: Young reunited with his old band mate from Buffalo Springfield on this release. Really the only song that came from these sessions that is worth a damn is the title track by Neil.
|1977 - Neil Young - American Stars ‘N Bars: A fairly mediocre collection of songs thrown together that includes one of my favorite tunes “Like A Hurricane”.
|1978 - Neil Young - Comes A Time: Young’s most accessible music since the release of Harvest in 1972. Put together from acoustic demos with the band overdubbed in. Some really great songs that wasn’t released on CD until 1988. ESSENTIAL|
|1979 - Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps: Some regard this as Young’s last great album until his resurgence in the early 90s. Another album book ended by a great song, this time the Rock N’ Roll epic “My My, Hey Hey…” / “Hey Hey, My My…”. Some of the other tunes on the album would be his hardest edged songs so far. ESSENTIAL
|1980 - Neil Young - Hawks & Doves: Another fairly mediocre mix of tracks which include a few great stand outs including the experimental “Lost In Space”.
|Live releases from this era:|
|1979 - Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Live Rust: A great live album including most of the tunes from Rust Never Sleeps along with great renditions of some of Young’s classic tunes. ESSENTIAL
There are also two albums during this period that Young had put together and sadly decided not to release. They are known by the titles Homegrown and Chrome Dreams (Young released Chrome Dreams II in 2007 as somewhat of an inside joke). They both featured the song that were scattered throughout his output in the 70s but some tracks have still not seen release. If you really search you may be able to find fan re-sequenced releases of Chrome Dreams put together by what songs were said to be included.
Here is a playlist I have put together featuring my favorites from this era. I tried to stay away from the most well known tunes. If you can not see the playlist below, please follow this link.
Posted originally: 2009-04-03 23:41:50