On the Beachby Neil Young
Following the 1973 Time Fades Away tour, Neil Young wrote and recorded an Irish wake of a record called Tonight's the Night and went on the road drunkenly playing its songs to uncomprehending listeners and hostile reviewers. Reprise rejected the record, and Young went right back and made On the Beach, which shares some of the ragged style of its two predecessors. But where Time was embattled and Tonight mournful, On the Beach was savage and, ultimately, triumphant. "I'm a vampire, babe," Young sang, and he proceeded to take bites out of various subjects: threatening the lives of the stars who lived in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon ("Revolution Blues"); answering back to Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose "Sweet Home Alabama" had taken him to task for his criticisms of the South in "Southern Man" and "Alabama" ("Walk On"); and rejecting the critics ("Ambulance Blues"). But the barbs were mixed with humor and even affection, as Young seemed to be emerging from the grief and self-abuse that had plagued him for two years. But the album was so spare and under-produced, its lyrics so harrowing, that it was easy to miss Young's conclusion: he was saying goodbye to despair, not being overwhelmed by it.
- Release Date:
- Reprise / Wea
Performance CreditsNeil Young Primary Artist,Banjo,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Wurlitzer
Crosby & Nash Rhythm Guitar
Graham Nash Vocals,Wurlitzer
Rick Danko Bass
Rusty Kershaw Fiddle,Guitar,Violin,Slide Guitar
Ben Keith Organ,Bass,Dobro,Guitar,Drums,Steel Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar,Wurlitzer,Hand Drums
David Crosby Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Tim Drummond Bass,Percussion,Drums
Levon Helm Drums
Ralph Molina Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals,Hand Drums
Billy Talbot Bass
George Whitsell Guitar
Joe Yankee Bass,Harp,Tambourine
Technical CreditsNeil Young Producer,Art Direction,Audio Production
David Briggs Producer,Audio Production
Rusty Kershaw Liner Notes
Gary Burden Art Direction,Repackaging
Mark Henry Harman Producer
Schmitt Producer,Audio Production
Mark Harman Audio Production
Jenice Heo Repackaging
Gary Burdon Art Direction
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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a must have in the neil collection...everyone needs a few albums like this for those rainy days...one of those albums that can make you think about your life...this album is that good....
without a doubt... young best record... finally on CD...
ON THE BEACH, the third part of Neil Young's "doom trilogy" to be recorded (but the second to be released), is one of his best CDs ever. Part of the reason that it stayed in the vaults so long is that Young overcame three disabilities (epilepsy, diabetes, polio) to wield total control over his own career, and as a result, he was able to keep many of his albums from coming out on CD, including this one, for many years. This is unfortunate, as ON THE BEACH showed him creating a unique hybrid of the hippie country-rock of Buffalo Springfield with the hard rock sound of pro-law-enforcement band Montrose, anticipating the musical direction he'd take for many years afterwards. This CD is a must own for any rock fan.
Some records just grab one's attention from the opening notes until the last song's fadeout. Time slips by unnoticed -- or seems to stand still -- and the listener wakes from a trance, not realizing he or she has been hypnotized by art of the highest order. Such is "On the Beach" -- Neil Young's 1974 apocalyptic masterpiece. It's not so much the impact of any one particular song, but the impression left by the recording as a whole, that sticks in the consciousness. The record chronicles Young's crumbling personal life at the time, but he connects the dots to the general angst and malaise of the 1970s, the death of 1960s idealism, Watergate, the end of cheap energy, environmentalism, cults, corporate greed, etc., in eight very concise statements using twelve-bar blues forms. Add gorgeous, understated melodies to some of Young's most memorable lyrics -- "See the Sky About the Rain," "Revolution Blues," "On the Beach," and "Ambulance Blues" in particular -- and this record holds its own with Young's most popular records. Not too many people liked this one 30 years ago, but the tunes have passed the test of time, and stand as one of Young's strongest statements. It's a testament to its strength that this one record had web sites devoted to it alone, and vinyl copies were eagerly sought by collectors who paid mint prices. It's well worth adding to any Neil Young collection -- definitely desert island disc material!