Recording Studios: The second half of the decade would prove to be a more positive one for Young, who teamed up once more with Stephen Stills to record Long May You Run, which reached No. 26 on the charts and went gold. In 1977, he released the more country flavored Stars ’n Bars as well as the triple-LP compilation Decade, which featured a handpicked selection of his work up to that point. Things got even better the next year, when Comes a Time broke into the Top 10, he married Pegi Morton (who was waitress at a restaurant near his ranch and would inspire many of Young’s songs in the future, most notably, “Unknown Legend”) and embarked on a tour with Crazy Horse called “Rust Never Sleeps,” during which they showcased songs from an upcoming album. Released in 1979, Rust Never Sleeps echoed the structure of the concerts, alternating between quiet, acoustic tracks and aggressive electric numbers. Among its highlights is one of Neil Young’s best-known tracks, the anthem “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).” A double LP recording from the tour, Live Rust, was released later that year, reaching No. 15 on the charts.
Recording Studios: Neil Young: Hawks and Doves
Young began the 1980s by indulging his experimental urges, not always to the best results. His first album of the new decade, Hawks & Doves, was more or less a collection of acoustic and country-flavored songs recorded several years earlier, and their at times politically right-leaning sentiments alienated some of his audience. He followed with an abrupt about-face in 1981, releasing the hard-edged Re-ac-tor, before mixing it up even more with Trans, incorporating synthesizers and vocoders into his songs and further confusing fans and critics and underwhelming his new label, Geffen.
The year 1983 was a tough one for Young, whose poorly received rockabilly offering Everybody’s Rockin’ was the last straw for his label, who filed a $3 million lawsuit against him for producing what they termed “unrepresentative” music. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend Carrie Snodgress was also suing him for child support and he was coping with the disabilities of his and Pegi’s two recently born children, Ben (cerebral palsy) and Amber Jean (epilepsy).