Neil Young's 'Rust Never Sleeps:' A '60s Rocker Kicks Ass In '79

By Jacob Shelton
Left: Cover art for Neil Young's 1979 album 'Rust Never Sleeps.' Right: Young with Dennis Hopper on the set of 'Human Highway,' directed by Dean Stockwell and Neil Young. Sources:; Caterine Milinaire/Sygma via Getty Images

On July 2, 1979, Neil Young and Crazy Horse released Rust Never Sleeps, a meditation on the ephemeral nature and importance of rock and roll. The record came to define the sound of rock for a generation -- and it was recorded by a guy who'd played Woodstock a decade earlier. Blending his folkie past with the exuberant chaos and fuzz of punk, Neil Young blew up his sound and came out on the other side with one of the greatest records of the 20th century.

Recorded during a theatrical tour and taken into a studio where the audience was edited out while tons of overdubs were added, the record thumbed its nose at the concept of a “live” record while showing listeners exactly what Neil Young was capable of.