Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
Although not completely live (2 tracks are studio recordings), 7 out of 9 tracks still represent a solid majority. Considering studio albums with a bonus live track tacked on are still classified as studio records, by the same logic, Rust Never Sleeps can be suitably categorized as live.
Though listeners would be forgiven for thinking the full record was created in a studio. In some live recordings, audience applause is artificially (and in my opinion, unnecessarily) augmented. I quite enjoy how Neil & co. went the opposite way here: they made the effort to reduce/remove audience noise wherever possible!
For better or worse (mostly better), talk about influential:
My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
Long before the shudder-inducing hashtag #yolo (or more grammatically appropriate, #yloo, as otherwise it suggests that living is the sole thing you will ever do on merely one occasion), the song’s third line, “better to burn out than to fade away” was a popular credo. A credo appropriated musically by artists like Def Leppard (Rock of Ages) and tragically by Kurt Cobain.
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
Layla may still be the best song with two distinct electric/unplugged variations but the bookends of this record are in the conversation. Considering this song has been…
- covered by groups as diverse Oasis & System of a Down
- cited as the blueprint for a huge REM single
- a sound template for late 80s/early 90s groups like Dinosaur Jr. & Sonic Youth
…Young needn’t worry that “once you’re gone you can’t come back” as his impact should continue to be felt indefinitely.
Remember the early 00s song, My Happiness? Written by the Australian group, Powderfinger. Bonus marks if you can guess the etymology of the band name.
Rust Never Sleeps
I remember years ago Neil Osborne of 54-40 compiled a list of the top 10 Canadian albums of all-time. I can’t recall the order but all 10 had something in common: all 10 had the words ‘Neil Young’ somewhere in the artist name.
I hadn’t fully appreciated Neil’s impact on future CanCon. After listening to the acoustic side one and the electric side two of Rust Never Sleeps, it’s clear that most of my favourite Canadian acts were (and still are) Neil Young fans.
So if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I can’t say I was a huge fan before the 1001 project but after yet another strong effort, Neil Young’s stock is definitely on the rise.