Neil Young made history Monday night on The Tonight Show, performing “Crazy” as Jack White pressed the song onto vinyl live before the studio audience. Both artists appeared on the show to promote Young’s new covers LP, A Letter Home, which was recently released on White’s label, Third Man Records.
Young and White spoke to Fallon before the performance, expressing their joint affinity for electric cars and detailing how A Letter Home came to be. White also explained the history of the Voice-O-Graph, the refurbished 1947 vinyl recording booth that Young recorded A Letter Home in. After White had spent a decade looking for the machine and a year and a half renovating it, the booth debuted at Third Man Records for Record Store Day 2013.
After the interview, Young hopped inside the box to perform “Crazy,” a cover of Willie Nelson’s 1961 hit popularized by Patsy Cline. Young, White, Fallon and guest Louis C.K. listened to the vinyl later in the show. Young also performed “Since I Met You Baby,” a cover of R&B singer Ivory Joe Hunter’s 1956 song, on piano while sitting inside the booth. That performance didn’t make it to air, but was posted online by The Tonight Show.
Fallon tweeted news of this wacky venture on Monday afternoon: “Making history tonight,” he wrote. “Neil Young is going to perform and press a vinyl with the help of Jack White live on the show. One take. Fun.”
Young’s Tonight Show appearance has been a long time coming. Fallon, known for his hilarious musical impersonations, has often imitated Young’s nasal balladeer style, most notably when he delivered a Young-styled rendition of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. “I was here a long time ago, looking good,” Young told Fallon, referring to the host’s impression.
White’s no stranger to record-breaking stunts: Last month, the vinyl enthusiast pulled a similar trick at the Nashville headquarters of Third Man Records, recording a live version of new track “Lazaretto” and then pressing it in less than four hours. This broke the Guinness World Record set by Swiss polka trio Vollgas Kompanie, who released their LP Live on August 16th, 2008, the day after recording it.
Meanwhile, the blues-rock singer/guitarist is also prepping an experimental “Ultra” vinyl version of his upcoming studio album, Lazaretto (out June 10th on Columbia and Third Man), which features a pair of hidden tracks pressed underneath the center label of both sides.