Neil Young Readies Lost 1982 Album 'Johnny's Island'
The LP formerly known as 'Island in the Sun' will soon surface
Published Feb 01, 2021While he's already due to deliver Way Down in the Rust Bucket later this month, Neil Young is wasting no time in sharing word of another new archival release.
On his Neil Young Archives website, the songwriter shared plans to unearth lost 1982 album Island in the Sun, which he has now renamed Johnny's Island.
Young wrote that the album "includes a majority of unrelated tracks including 'Big Pearl,' 'Island in the Sun,' and 'Love Hotel,' plus others you may have heard before...It's a beautiful record coming to you soon."
Island in the Sun was set to be Young's first release for Geffen Records. Halfway through recording, label boss David Geffen flew out to Hawaii to hear Young's latest songs, which he would later describe as "a tropical thing all about sailing, ancient civilizations, islands and water."
As Young would tell biographer Jimmy McDonough in 2003's Shakey, "Geffen thought it was OK, but he didn't think it was good enough," Young told McDonough. "[He said], 'Neil, you can do more with these songs. Keep going.'"
Young would shelve Island in the Sun for Trans, an vocoder-heavy album that was inspired by Young's relationship with son Ben Young, who was born with cerebral palsy and unable to speak. While the majority of Island in the Sun's songs were never released, "Like an Inca" and "Hold on to Your Love" were a pair that made the cut for Trans.
"The mistakes all started when I caved and didn't give [Geffen] Island in the Sun," Young would later write of his tumultuous time on the label in his 2012 book Waging Heavy Peace. "They wanted me to be commercially successful, and I wanted to be an artist expressing myself-those two goals are not always compatible. I was expecting to have the same artistic freedom that I had at Asylum Records, but Geffen Records wanted me to be a smash, selling millions of records. Most important, Geffen was not a hands-on at Geffen Records. He had other people doing that. It showed."
McDonough writes in Shakey that the shelved Hawaii sessions saw Young record with Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina, Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer, pedal steel mainstay Ben Keith, guitarist Nils Lofgren and more. Their material was said to be "mellow in the extreme: lightweight love songs and odd acoustic numbers."
Johnny's Island is the latest addition to Young's slate of archival projects, which already includes Way Down in the Rust Bucket, '80s rarities collection Road of Plenty, Promise of the Real live album Noise and Flowers and a planned bootleg series.
On top of all that, Young shared with a fan last year that brand new material is not far away, writing on his website, "I have started a new album. It's solo. I've been waiting a long time."