Articles by Jim Connelly

Jim Connelly has been eye-deep in media of all kinds ever since he can remember, and probably prior to that. Over the past quarter-century he has worked in the radio, film, music, and internet industries, and has been writing about popular culture and technology the entire time. Prior to co-founding Medialoper, Jim's work appeared both online and off in publications such as Wired, The Village Voice, Neumu and Websight Magazine . . . Jim at Facebook . . . Jim on Twitter . . .

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)



What the fuck?

No, seriously, what the fuck?


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.


Certain Songs #1266: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Cortez The Killer (St. Paul 10-15-1978)”

Album: Live Rust
Year: 1979

Recorded at St Paul Civic Center on October 15, 1978

Tim and I saw the film of Rust Never Sleeps for the first time at some point during senior year. It was playing as a double bill with Rock n Roll High School. We think it was out at the Moon-Glo Drive-In, I’m pretty sure that there was at least a six-pack of beer involved, and I’m absolutely certain that one of the highlights was the epic version of “Cortez The Killer.”

Whereas the original studio version of “Cortez The Killer” on Zuma always felt like a sketch, almost a demo, especially when compared to the versions that were put on the Live Rust (from St. Paul) album and Rust Never Sleeps film (from San Francisco).


Certain Songs #1265: Neil Young – “After The Gold Rush (Boston 10-04-1978)”

Album: Live Rust
Year: 1979

Recorded at Boston Garden on October 4, 1978

On the shortlist of Prettiest Songs Ever Recorded, Neil Young division, “After The Gold Rush” combines surreal, apocalyptic imagery with absolutely unforgettable melody.

While I’m sure a lot of folks prefer the studio version, I always loved the version on Live Rust, which admittedly sacrifices some of the fragility, but replaces the flugelhorn solo with a harmonica solo, and of course has the inappropriate audience cheering after Neil sings “and I felt like getting high,” which has always kinda cracked me up.


Certain Songs #1264: Neil Young – “Sugar Mountain (San Francisco 10-22-1978)”

Album: Live Rust
Year: 1979

Recorded at the Cow Palace, San Francisco on October 22, 1978

What did you do on your 19th birthday? I don’t remember anything about my 19th birthday, but it was during a particularly directionless point in my life, where I was going to Fresno City College, and KFSR didn’t have any fixed date it was going on the air. (Though it did go on the air before I turned 20.) If I remember correctly, the only things I was doing on any consistent basis was going to as many concerts as I could afford and drinking a lot of beer.

I was also playing soccer, but there weren’t any World Cup championships in my near future.

And while in the wake of my parents separation, I was seriously considering escaping Fresno altogether and going to, like, UCLA (where Larry had gone) or Berkeley (because the Bay Area), the reality was that my high school grades were just too shitty.