Certain Songs #1271: Neil Young – “Don’t Cry”

Album: Freedom
Year: 1989

Recorded at The Hit Factory, NY & Broken Arrow Ranch on December 14, 1988

Neil Young found his way home, of course, but he took the scenic route. As you do.

In Neil’s case, after going back to Reprise Records following his unsuccessful stint at Geffen, he had his first minor hit single in quite some time. Well, not so much a hit single as a hit video. And really not so much a hit video as a banned video that won MTV’s Video of The Year back when that still meant whatever it had ever meant.

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Certain Songs #1270: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Mideast Vacation”

Album: Life
Year: 1987

Recorded at the Universal Ampitheatre & Record One Studios, Los Angeles on November 18, 1986

My theory is that pretty much every hardcore Neil Young fan has at least one album during Neil’s lost decade that they will totally stan for.

I’ve already mentioned how Tim loved Trans from the start, and Sherilyn has always gone to bat for 1986’s Landing on Water, and Doc has proclaimed his fandome Everybody’s Rockin’ and I’m sure even Old Ways and This Notes For You have their adherents.

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Certain Songs #1269: Neil Young & The International Harvesters – “Southern Pacific (St. Paul 9-1-1985)”

Album: A Treasure
Year: 1985

Recorded at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul on September 1, 1985

After Trans, things got weird. Think about that for a second.

Changing gears again, Neil recorded a full-blown country album called Old Ways. Geffen flat-out rejected it, saying that he wanted something that was rock ‘n’ roll. What he meant, of course, was Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere or Zuma, of course; what he got was Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere Close to Rockin’ Except For Techniclaly, shortened to Everybody’s Rockin’ & credited to Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks.

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Certain Songs #1268: Neil Young – “Transformer Man”

Album: Trans
Year: 1982

Recorded at Broken Arrow Ranch on December 11, 1981

(Or I How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The BEEP BOOP)

….

1982

What the fuck?

No, seriously, what the fuck?

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Certain Songs #1267: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Shots”

Album: Re*ac*tor
Year: 1981

Recorded at Modern Recorders, Redwood City, on June 17, 1981

So we’re gonna zip through most of the 1980s, if you don’t mind. When in his biography, Shakey, it was revealed that the cerebral palsy diagnosis of Neil Young’s second son Ben affected at least his first three records of the 1980s, it all kind of made sense.

At the time, of course, it was baffling: following up Rust Never Sleeps with 1980’s half-folk, half-country Hawks & Doves seems like a typical move on paper, but neither the songs or the focus were there for the record to make much sense, and of course, back in 1982, Trans made no fucking sense at all.

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