The Best Neil Young Albums of All Time
'On the Beach'
For many, many years, On the Beach was Neil Young's great lost album. The LP didn't generate a lot of heat when it came out in 1974, and Young didn't release it on CD until 2003. Its absence from the marketplace turned it into somewhat of a mythical album, and those who dug it up in the pre-Internet days discovered an incredibly depressing album about the perils of fame. The opener "Walk On" confronts Young's critics, while the creepy "Revolution Blues" is told from the perspective of a Charles Manson-like serial killer. Side two is a more serene affair. "Ambulance Blues" and "On the Beach" are two of the strongest songs Young has ever written, and two of the saddest.
In the 15 months between the release of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, Neil Young issued a series of recordings in different styles that could have prepared his listeners for the differences between the two LPs. His two compositions on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, "Helpless" and "Country Girl," returned him to the folk and country styles he had pursued before delving into the hard rock of Everybody Knows; two other singles, "Sugar Mountain" and "Oh, Lonesome Me," also emphasized those roots…
Neil Young established himself as one of the most influential and idiosyncratic singer/songwriters of his generation. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll's greatest songwriters and performers". He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997. From the beginning of his solo career in the late '60s through to the 21st century, he never stopped writing, recording, and performing; his official catalog only represented a portion of his work, since he kept countless tapes of unreleased songs in his vaults. This release includes live performances of Neil Young at the Canadian National Exhibition Grandstand, Toronto, August 18, 1988; Santa Cruz, November 2, 1987; The World, Nyc, April 19, 1988; Jones Beach, August 27, 1988; Auburn Hills, September 4, 1988.
Recorded after (but released before) Tonight's the Night, On the Beach shares some of that album’s bleakness and crude production—which came as a shock to fans and critics alike, as this was the long-awaited studio follow-up to the commercially and critically successful Harvest—but also included hints pointing towards a more subtle outlook, particularly on the opener, "Walk On".–Wikipedia