Neil Young and Crazy Horse released their “Rust Never Sleeps” LP on July 2, 1979…

Written by on July 2, 2018

Neil Young and Crazy Horse released their “Rust Never Sleeps” LP on July 2, 1979. Most of the album was recorded live, then overdubbed in the studio. The bulk of the album was recorded live at San Francisco’s Boarding House and during the Neil Young/Crazy Horse tour in late 1978, with overdubs added later. Audience noise is removed as much as possible, although it is clearly audible at certain points, most noticeably on the opening and closing songs. The album is half acoustic and half electric, opening and closing with different versions of the same song: “Hey Hey, My My”. Two songs from the album were not recorded live: “Sail Away” and “Pocahontas”.

The title is borrowed from the slogan for Rust-Oleum paint, and was suggested by Mark Mothersbaugh of the new wave band Devo.

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau called Rust Never Sleeps Young’s best and said that, although his melodies are simple and original as expected, his lyrics are surprisingly and offhandedly complex: “he’s wiser but not wearier, victor so far over the slow burnout his title warns of.” 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 & roll than any music I’ve heard in years.” Rust Never Sleeps was voted the second best album of 1979 in The Village Voice‍ ‘s annual Pazz & Jop critics poll. Christgau, the poll’s creator, ranked it second on his own list for the poll, as did fellow critic Greil Marcus. The album also won Rolling Stone‍ ‘s 1979 critics poll for Album of the Year. In a decade-end list for The Village Voice, Christgau named it the ninth best album of the 1970s.

The critics loved the LP. Do you agree with them?

Happy 39th Birthday to “Rust Never Sleeps”!!

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