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SoundTRAX: Neil Young's "Rust Never Sleeps" film and companion album "Live Rust"

The cover of "Live Rust" pictures Neil Young performing live onstage.
Reprise Records

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

44 years ago this week Neil Young's concert film Rust Never Sleeps was released in the U.S.

The tour's title was suggested by none other than Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh, as Young was collaborating with the New Wave band at the time.

The concerts featured Young performing both solo acoustically and full force electrically with his frequent backing band Crazy Horse.

Ever hear of the film's director, Bernard Shakey? Yeah you have, because that was actually a pseudonym used by Young himself.

The film was recorded at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and there are some weird moments that seem a little un-Neil-ish, like oversized props and stagehands inexplicably dressed as Jawas from Star Wars.

The music transcends all the theatrics.

But the music also gets a little confusing because Neil released material from the Rust Never Sleeps tour in three different ways.

First there's the concert film, then an album also called Rust Never Sleeps, which featured the 1978 recordings of the new songs and added overdubs, plus a couple of already existing tracks.

But once the film and album of Rust Never Sleeps became big hits with both fans and critics, Young's record label then requested an actual soundtrack.

To avoid confusion with its predecessor it was named Live Rust, and not only does it feature several songs from the film's Cow Palace performance, there are tunes recorded from other cities from the tour as well.

Live Rust has 15 classic Neil Young songs like "Sugar Mountain," "After the Gold Rush," "Cinnamon Girl," and "The Needle and the Damage Done," plus his Buffalo Springfield days make an appearance with "I Am a Child."

But for today's SoundTRAX selection, I'm going with a great version of one of my favorite Young songs.

For the 44th anniversary of his concert film Rust Never Sleeps, it's Neil Young and Crazy Horse with "Powderfinger."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.