Category: Certain Songs

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.

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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.

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Certain Songs #1263: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)”

Album: Rust Never Sleeps
Year: 1979

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

Believe it or not, when Live Rust came out, there was actually some debate as to whether or not it even needed to exist.

After all, Neil had recently put out the career-spanning retrospective, Decade, on which you could find near-definitive versions of many of the songs, and even more scandalous, Live Rust repeated four tracks from Rust Never Sleeps, including the exact same recording of “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black),” making it the only song that used the exact same performance on all three documents that came from that tour: Rust Never Sleeps, Live Rust and the film Rust Never Sleeps, though this version has some overdubs.

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Certain Songs #1262: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Sedan Delivery”

Album: Rust Never Sleeps
Year: 1979

Recorded at St. Paul Civic Center on October 15, 1978

So yeah, this is the song we named our band after. Pretty sure it was Doc who came up with it. And while it musically represented the Neil Young + The Replacements vibe we were going after, it wasn’t a song that we ever did, probably because that would have a bit too much.

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Certain Songs #1261: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Powderfinger”

Album: Rust Never Sleeps
Year: 1979

Recorded at McNichols Arena, Denver on October 19, 1978

It says here that “Powderfinger” is Neil Young’s greatest song, and one of the greatest songs of the 20th Century. That is, of course, a highly personal opinion, and Neil has loads of songs that are “one of the greatest songs of the 20th Century,” but to me, “Powderfinger” is both endlessly fascinating and the older I get, the sadder it seems.

As the song which starts the electric half of Rust Never Sleeps it’s a perfect transition from the all-acoustic side one, as “Powderfinger” feels like an ancient folksong, sporting both a melody and a story as old as America herself.

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