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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Rewind (Re-Edit): 1979 - Rust Never Sleeps - Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Rust Never Sleeps - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  Reprise Records
 Produced by Neil Young, David Briggs and Tim Mulligan
Released 2nd July 1979
US Charts #8
UK Charts #13

For some strange reason Sedan Delivery is missing from the above playlist (I didn't make the playlist myself) and I could only find the Live Rust version of it so click here to listen to that!

Side 1
Side 2
    Neil Young — vocals, guitars, harmonica, organ, percussion

Crazy Horse
    Frank "Poncho" Sampedro — electric guitar, backing vocals on side two
    Billy Talbot — bass, backing vocals on side two
    Ralph Molina — drums, backing vocals on side two

    Nicolette Larson — vocal on "Sail Away"
    Joe Osborn — bass on "Sail Away"
    Karl T. Himmel — drums on "Sail Away"

Single Released From Rust Never Sleeps
Released August 1979
US Chart #79

*In the UK A-Side and B-Side were swapped around.


I did post about this album a couple of years ago but as the links for photos and pictures are dead on that particular piece I decided that maybe a wee re-edit was in hand to celebrate the album afresh.

Hard to believe that it's 38 years old today! And guess what?...It still sounds totally fantastic

 I am not a massive Neil Young fan at all. There are of course songs of his that I like and from time to time an album or two jumps out and makes an impression on me. So if I had to tell you my favourite Neil Young Album there would be absolutely no hesitation in saying 'Rust Never Sleeps'. It's an interesting album that is acoustic on one side and crazy wild electric on the other. I was first interested in it because of his mention of Johnny Rotten in the first and last track on the album and wondered what on earth an old hippy like Neil Young had to say about the vocalist of the Sex Pistols. Once that initial fascination was gone however, a genuine affection for the rest of the album took over. I absolutely love "Powderfinger" and "Pocahontas".

Most of the album had actually been recorded live during a Neil Young/Crazy Horse Tour in 1978 (and there would of course be a live album that followed in November 1979 entitled Live Rust) and overdubbed in the studio at a later date. Audience noise is removed as much as possible though it does come through on a couple of tracks.

"My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)", "Thrasher" and "Ride My Llama" were recorded live at the Boarding House in early 1978 and all of side two was recorded during the late 1978 tour. Two songs from the album were not recorded live: "Sail Away" was recorded without Crazy Horse during or after the Comes a Time recording sessions, and "Pocahontas" had been recorded solo around 1975.

The title is borrowed from the slogan for Rust-Oleum paint, and was suggested by Mark Mothersbaugh of the new wave band Devo. It is also an aphorism describing Young's musical self-renewal to avert the threat of irrelevance and in 1977 when he wrote the song
"My My, Hey Hey" he would have been feeling that a lot with the rise of Punk & New Wave scene.

Paul Nelson, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, found its first side virtuosic because of how Young transcends the songs' acoustic settings with his commanding performance and was impressed by its themes of personal escape and exhaustion, the role of rock music, and American violence: "Rust Never Sleeps tells me more about my life, my country and rock and roll than any music I've heard in years." The Rolling Stone Critics Poll for 1979 would go on to name it as The Album of The Year.

Of course one of the main talking points about the album was the album's opening and closing song.

"Hey Hey, My My's" most memorable influence on modern rock comes from the line "It's better to burn out than to fade away" (actually only spoken in full in the acoustic "My My, Hey Hey" and the Human Highway film recording plauing alongside Devo!). Kurt Cobain's suicide note ended with the same line, shaking Young and inadvertently cementing his place as the so-called "Godfather of Grunge".

Ex-Beatle John Lennon commented on the message of the song in a 1980 interview with David Sheff from Playboy:

Sheff: You disagree with Neil Young's lyric in Rust Never Sleeps: "It's better to burn out than to fade away..."

    Lennon: I hate it. It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. If he was talking about burning out like Sid Vicious, forget it. I don't appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne. It's the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison—it's garbage to me. I worship the people who survive—Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo. They're saying John Wayne conquered cancer—he whipped it like a man. You know, I'm sorry that he died and all that—I'm sorry for his family—but he didn't whip cancer. It whipped him. I don't want Sean worshiping John Wayne or Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious. What do they teach you? Nothing. Death. Sid Vicious died for what? So that we might rock? I mean, it's garbage you know. If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why doesn't he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many times, like all of us. No, thank you. I'll take the living and the healthy.

Young would reply two years later when asked to respond to Lennon's comments:
    The rock'n'roll spirit is not survival. Of course the people who play rock'n'roll should survive. But the essence of the rock'n'roll spirit to me, is that it's better to burn out really bright than to sort of decay off into infinity. Even though if you look at it in a mature way, you'll think, "well, yes ... you should decay off into infinity, and keep going along". Rock'n'roll doesn't look that far ahead. Rock'n'roll is right now. What's happening right this second. Is it bright?
  Or is it dim because it's waiting for tomorrow—that's what people want to know. And that's why I say that.

For your further musical enjoyment click on the links below to hear tracks from the album covered.
 Side one
1. "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" - Negative
2. "Thrasher"- Gabby Holt
3. "Ride My Llama" - The Flowers of Evil
4. "Pocahontas" - Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
5. "Sail Away" - Randal Graves

Side two
1. "Powderfinger" - The Cowboy Junkies
2. "Welfare Mothers" - Frogmouth
3. "Sedan Delivery"- The Feelies
4. "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" - Battleme

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