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40 years of Time Fades Away


Nice article about this dark album. And not yet re-released. We’re waiting for The Archives or PONO. For the Neil-Fans out there, a re-release of “TFA” is a long awaited wish.


40 Years Ago: Neil Young Releases ‘Time Fades Away’ (1973)

TIMES FADES AWAY from test pressing

There are so many albums in Neil Young‘s catalog that most fans wouldn’t miss a stray out-of-print entry or two. But that isn’t the case with his infamous “lost” 1973 live release, ‘Time Fades Away.’

Mostly recorded on a disastrous tour that found Young and his band slowly falling apart over 62 shows in early 1973, ‘Time Fades Away’ should have come at a moment of triumph, since it arrived in the wake of his hugely successful ‘Harvest’ LP. Platinum sales often bring their own set of problems, however, and for Young, mainstream stardom proved a burden that started chafing almost immediately. “I felt like a product, and I had this band of all-star musicians that couldn’t even look at each other,” Young reflected in a 1987 interview. “It was a total joke.”

Of course, Young being Young, he didn’t exactly make the tour easy on himself, chiefly by opting to perform previously unreleased material for crowds expecting to hear the hits. Going on to call ‘Time Fades Away’ “my least favorite record” and “the worst record I ever made” in the same 1987 interview, Young explained, “As a documentary of what was happening to me, it was a great record. I was onstage and I was playing all these songs that nobody had heard before, recording them, and I didn’t have the right band. It was just an uncomfortable tour. It was supposed to be this big deal — I just had ‘Harvest’ out, and they booked me into 90 cities.”

At this point, it’s hard to say who the “right band” would have been for Young, whose mental state grew progressively darker during the tour. All the same, the bloom was probably off the rose from the moment that former Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten, who’d been slated to join Young’s band the Stray Gators for this series of dates, ended up being sent home to sober up — and soon died of a heroin overdose. The bad vibes grew to the point that drummer Kenny Buttrey quit partway through, replaced by the Jefferson Airplane‘s Johnny Barbata [1], and eventually, Young developed a throat infection that made things even worse…

… read more:

| [1] exclusive interview with Human Highway, legendary “rock star drummer” Johny Barbata | Tom’s Sugar Mountain setlists of 1973 Stray Gator Tour |

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2 Responses to “40 years of Time Fades Away”

  • bnbrainer says:

    1973-01-05, Milwaukee Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    w/ The Stray Gators
    Tell Me Why / Cowgirl In The Sand / LA / A Man Needs A Maid / I Am A Child / Sugar Mountain / Borrowed Tune / Old Man / Harvest / Heart Of Gold / Time Fades Away / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / New Mama / Come Along And Say You Will / Last Dance / Lookout Joe / Are You Ready For The Country?

    where have you been then, Shar? 😀

    • Shar says:

      I can’t believe anyone would call it a disastrous tour because it changed my life.

      I was the first time I saw Neil. It was January 1973 and cold and I was just a young girl and we sat cross-legged on the floor in the front of the first row in the Milwaukee auditorium.

      Before the start of the show a bouncer came along and kicked everyone that was sitting on the floor out except us.

      I was with Cindy & Sally, my best friends to this day. We had long hair and beaded earrings and wore faded bell-bottom jeans, crocheted vests, and our suede winter coats with sheepskin lining, earth shoes.

      Neil was so beautiful and we were transformed by his presence and his voice.

      He seemed not real. Now, he feels more grounded in the earth, but back then there was an ethereal quality to him.

      He seemed fragile yet a strange electric energy emanated from him as he stood on stage tall like a young tree and he had long hands and fingers. His hair was like a wild horse.

      What is happening, we thought, and there were flashbacks to past lives. 😉

      This is when it all started. I couldn’t sleep for days.

      I wrote a little about it here and there are photos of him from this concert. I have one on my fireplace mantle.

      Every time I look at Neil, even now, this is how I really see him – how he looked at this concert.


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We\'re having a good time tonight, but we\'re going to kill a lot of people next week.
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