I'm livin' in a dreamland.
June 20, 2010 8:38 AM   Subscribe

The sleeve was printed on blotter paper. The liner notes were written in Dutch. The recording artist had had a sort of breakdown, and sometimes wore a Richard Nixon mask.

Tonight's The Night is officially released on June 20, 1975, two years after it was recorded at Studio Instrument Rentals, Hollywood ("Can we bash a hole in your wall?"). The centerpiece of Neil Young's moody, alienated Ditch Trilogy, it met with poor commercial sales, but enduring cult interest. posted by ovvl (18 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Man, this album. It has my very favorite Neil Young song, Albuquerque (Youtube).
posted by kid ichorous at 8:49 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

One of the best records of all time. "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown," with the doomed Danny Whitten sharing lead vocals, is the apex of rock.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:51 AM on June 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

More Barn!!
posted by kenaldo at 9:07 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Neil Young bio SHAKEY by Jimmy McDonough is well worth reading, particularly if you want to know the story up to and including Tonight's The Night (and yeah! On The Beach) which, for me, have always defined the peak of Young's recorded output. Not that he hasn't done some genius work in the ensuing 35 years, it's just never felt so much like a matter of life or death.

From the PopMatters review of Shakey:

Personally, I agree with McDonough, that Tonight's the Night is Young's greatest record. A favorite of Young's as well (when Reprise Records wanted to release the mainstream Harvest on CD, Young agreed, only if they released Tonight's the Night also), the album is one of the sleaziest, skankiest, sloppiest collections of rock tunes ever recorded. Made shortly after the drug-induced deaths of Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, Tonight's the Night defines the term "dark night of the soul" like no other album in rock history has managed to do since. McDonough's love of this album fuels the entire 30 page chapter devoted to it, and his account of the tequila-and-hamburgers-fueled sessions at a dumpy Los Angeles rehearsal space is far and away the book's high point. McDonough even scores a little journalistic coup, tracking down the former drug dealer mentioned in "Tired Eyes", Young's classic song about a drug deal gone horribly wrong in California's Topanga Canyon.
posted by philip-random at 9:28 AM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Early in the mornin' at the break of day, he used to sleep until the afternoon.
Love that album so much.
posted by chococat at 9:35 AM on June 20, 2010

Ah, "Bernard Shakey," the Chris Gaines of film.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:48 AM on June 20, 2010

I've really got to get a copy of Time Fades Away since I love the rest of the "Ditch Trilogy." On the Beach is my favorite Neil Young album. I think it was on mefi where I read someone writing about how it's a confluence of his collaborators through the years... Crosby and Nash show up, some of Crazy Horse, and it doesn't get much better than Young with the Band's rhythm section on Revolution Blues.
posted by saul wright at 10:30 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Ditch Trilogy -- Time Fades Away, On The Beach and Tonight's the Night -- are some of the most-played albums in my house. The 2002 book Shakey is a mandatory read for NY fans, especially Neil talking about this rough era. You get the story of his "Tonight's The Night guy" with his thrift-store cheeseball TV sportscaster blazer, onstage antics like pounding tequila and smoking joints thrown to him by the audience.

What a time. And for him to come out of this period of depression and desperation with the triumphant Zuma is even more incredible. Concluding this great decade with the phenomenal Rust Never Sleeps is just gravy.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:46 AM on June 20, 2010

I'm a vampire baby
Suckin' blood from the earth.
I'm a vampire baby
Sell ya twenty barrels worth.
posted by effluvia at 11:10 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tonight's the Night is the human achievement for which the word "harrowing" was coined, I believe.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:11 AM on June 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

It's too dark to put the key in my ignition
And the morning sun has yet to climb my ... hood ornament.

I can't sit through the second rough take of the title song, but the rest of the album's great.
posted by Killick at 11:35 AM on June 20, 2010

My gift to everybody still looking at this thread: The famous "World On A String" ringtone. It's awesome.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:14 PM on June 20, 2010

Also, my favorite line about this album from I think a Cameron Crowe interview in the 70s: "The input on that one was cheeseburgers and tequila." -- NY
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:16 PM on June 20, 2010

Oh, that's a horrible file download site. Try this one, or just memail me if you want it.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:19 PM on June 20, 2010

Love this album, but can't listen to it (without crying, anyway). Reminds me too much of a part of my life that I'm still coming to terms with.
posted by medeine at 12:42 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's extraordinarily sad music. But the strength of the melodies makes it cathartic, rather than a wallow.

Among my other records, only Maggie and Terre Roche's Seductive Reasoning - also released in 1975 - will make me sing along with every single track.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:42 PM on June 20, 2010

I went to the second night of Young's two-night opening of the Roxy, a club owned (I think) by David Geffen. Tickets were hard to score but this was before Ticketmaster and all you had to do was show up early on the day of sale and wait in line for a long time. Life was more fair, in that regard.

Young's last appearence in LA had been a beautiful solo acoustic concert in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, as part of his acoustic tour.

He came on very wasted, it seemed and around the second number, offered a free go-go boot (the stage was decorated with go-go boots and fake palm trees) to any woman who would get on stage and dance topless. Carrie Snodgrass, his then-wife got up and did just that. He said something like, "Welcome to Miami Beach. Everything is cheaper than it looks!"

I can remember being very jarred by this whole night, although "Tonight's the Night," which he opened the concert with, and "New Mama" were beautiful.

My girlfriend at the time hated the whole thing. While I did not exactly ENJOY it, I had an idea that I'd experienced something memorable. Ditch period is an apt term for this time.
posted by Danf at 3:23 PM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Neal Young & DEVO:
Human Highway
Hey Hey My My
Recent interview with Mark Mothersbaugh mentioning Neal Young.
Heard that Boojie Boy climbs down a rope in the NY film but can't find a video. Point being: NY is weird, long time running.
posted by eccnineten at 7:10 PM on June 20, 2010

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