After 41 years, Neil Young's embargoed album 'Hitchhiker' is finally being released. The legendary singer-songwriter recorded the album all in one night during an epic binge in August 1976.
"I laid down all of the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or cocaine," he wrote in his 2014 book Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars. "One night, [my producer] Mr. [David] Briggs and I jumped into [my truck] Stretch and headed for his favorite place, Indigo Ranch Studios. I spent the night there with David and recorded nine solo acoustic songs, completing a tape I called Hitchhiker. It was a complete piece, although I was pretty stony on it, and you can hear it in my performances."
So could the execs at his record label, who thought the album wasn't suitable for release when he shopped it around.
"The idea I had at the time was to present these new songs in their purest and simplest form, just as they had been written," Young said in a recent Facebook Live event to promote the album's long, long, long-awaited release. "Back then when we played this record for business folks, the reaction was that it was not a real record but a collection of demos. I was advised to record the songs with a band. But the 'Hitchhiker' versions are the true originals."
Even though he was shot down in the 70s, Young never gave up hope that the album would have its day. "I always knew the original album would surface. That time is now....This music is the essence of those times -- pure and undisturbed."
'Hitchhiker' includes 9 songs, including early versions of 'Pocahontas,' 'Powderfinger' and 'Hawaii.' The record hits shelves on September 8, but if you want to check it out beforehand, you can stream the entire set at NPR (click here). Keep an ear out for when he starts playing the album's title song because, as Neil said during the Facebook Live chat, "You may be able to hear the drugs kicking in here."
h/t Rolling Stone