My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Tonight’s the Night was mostly recorded in August and September of 1973. The album chronicles Young’s grief after two close friends (Crazy horse guitarist Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry) died of a drug overdose. The album was delayed in being released until June of 1975.
What I think: Before putting this on, I was aware of the reputation this album had for being one of the most depressing listens of all time, and while it lives up to that there is some beauty in it I wasn’t expecting. Take a song like “Borrowed Tune”, where Young is seemingly at his most hopeless, there is still beauty in that sadness, and in those vocals. I feel like I can hear him believing that things will get better. That glimmer of redemption makes this album really interesting and listenable despite the desperation.
The album feels sort of traditional until things get really interesting in the middle with “Mellow My Mind” and “Roll Another Number” where the wheels feel like they are about to come off. Young’s vocals are all over the place and out of tune, but then things sort of get back together in the end. I’m not a fan of the one live track being included, it just seems out of place with the studio tracks. I do get the significance of it though.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do agree that this should be here. It’s a great expression of grief turned into a somehow palatable piece of work.
Rating (Out of 5) 4.5
Tonight’s the Night Amazon Rating(Out of 5):4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (273/350)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%