Neil Young, 'Homegrown' (1975)
Neil Young's personal life was in free fall by 1974. His wife, actress Carrie Snodgrass, was gone for good, and attempts to rekindle a working relationship with CSNY only resulted in the aborted Human Highway project and the goodwill-shattering "Doom Tour." It was during this turbulent time that he composed songs for a new record, Homegrown.
"It was intense, like trying to make a record in the middle of 42nd Street, or Vietnam," says producer Elliot Mazer "Here's a guy going through hell, and this is like a fuckin' catharsis for him." Titles like "Frozen Man," "Separate Ways" and "Love-Art Blues" paint a stark portrait of a lonely and heartbroken man. Those who heard the completed album insisted that it was as strong as Young's breakthrough smash, Harvest. Cover art was printed, and label executives braced themselves for a million seller.
And then Young changed his mind. He had assembled friends, including the Band's Rick Danko, at L.A.'s Chateau Marmont to get an opinion on his latest work. As a tape of Homegrown came to an end, a mix of the dark, gritty and unreleased Tonight's the Night came on the stereo by chance.
Danko preferred the raw power of Tonight's the Night to the comparatively delicate Homegrown. Disregarding advice from his label, Young released it instead that June. "[Homegrown] might be more what people would rather hear from me now, but it was just a very down album," he told Rolling Stone at the time. "It was a little too personal. ... It scared me."