American Stars 'n Bars

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American Stars 'n Bars
Studio album by Neil Young
Released June 13, 1977 (1977-06-13)
Recorded December 13, 1974-April 4, 1977
Quadrafonic, Nashville; Wally Heider Studios, Hollywood, California; Broken Arrow Ranch, Redwood City, California; Indigo Recording Studio, Malibu
Genre Heartland rock, country rock, folk rock, blues rock
Length 37:54
Label Reprise, Warner Bros.
Producer Neil Young & David Briggs with Tim Mulligan, Elliot Mazer
Neil Young chronology
American Stars 'n Bars
Singles from American Stars 'n Bars
  1. "Hey Babe"
    Released: 1977
  2. "Like a Hurricane"
    Released: 1977

American Stars 'n Bars is the eighth studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released in 1977. The album included "Like a Hurricane", one of Young's best-known songs. The album was produced by Neil Young and David Briggs with Tim Mulligan ("Star of Bethlehem" was produced by Elliot Mazer).

The album cover was designed by a friend of Young's, actor Dean Stockwell, and features Connie Moskos keeled over with a bottle of Canadian whisky in her hand and an intoxicated Young with his face pressed against the glass floor.

Initially receiving favorable reviews, the album was described as a "sampler...of Young's various styles",[1] even a "hodgepodge."[2] It was not released in digital format until 2003, as a HDCD-encoded remastered version on August 19, 2003, as part of the Neil Young Archives Digital Masterpiece Series.


The tracks on the album are listed by date; they were recorded between November 1974 and April 1977. The earliest tracks ("Star of Bethlehem"[3] and an earlier version of "Homegrown"[citation needed]) were initially intended for a 1975 album that was never released, Homegrown.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau B+[5]
Pitchfork Media (8.3/10)[6]

Paul Nelson, reviewing the album for Rolling Stone commented on the mixed selection of songs and styles, and praising the "gale-force guitar playing" on "Like a Hurricane":

The album can almost be taken as a sampler, but not a summation, of Young's various styles from After the Gold Rush and Harvest (much of the country rock) through On the Beach (the incredible "Will to Love") to Zuma ("Like a Hurricane" is a worthy successor to "Cortez the Killer" as a guitar showcase), with a lot of overlap within the songs.[1]

According to William Ruhlmann, in a review for Allmusic,

Neil Young made a point of listing the recording dates of the songs on American Stars 'n Bars; the dates even appeared on the LP labels. They revealed that the songs had been cut at four different sessions dating back to 1974. But even without such documentation, it would have been easy to tell that the album was a stylistic hodgepodge, its first side consisting of country-tinged material featuring steel guitar and fiddle, plus backup vocals from Linda Ronstadt and the then-unknown Nicolette Larson, while the four songs on the second side varied from acoustic solo numbers like "Will to Love" to raging rockers such as "Like a Hurricane." "Will to Love" is a particularly spooky and ambitious piece, extending the romantic metaphor of a salmon swimming upstream across seven minutes. The album's centerpiece, however, is "Like a Hurricane," one of Young's classic hard rock songs and guitar workouts, and a perpetual concert favorite.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Neil Young, except as indicated.

Side One[edit]

  1. "The Old Country Waltz" – 2:58
  2. "Saddle Up the Palomino" (Neil Young, Tim Drummond, Bobby Charles) – 3:00
  3. "Hey Babe" – 3:35
  4. "Hold Back the Tears" – 4:18
  5. "Bite the Bullet" – 3:30

Side Two[edit]

  1. "Star of Bethlehem" – 2:42
  2. "Will to Love" – 7:11
  3. "Like a Hurricane" – 8:20
  4. "Homegrown" – 2:20

Recording sessions & personnel[edit]

November 1974[edit]

November 1975[edit]

May 1976[edit]

  • "Will to Love"
    • Neil Young - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, organ, piano, vibes, drums, vocals

April 1977[edit]

  • "The Old Country Waltz", "Saddle Up the Palomino", "Hey Babe", "Hold Back the Tears" & "Bite the Bullet"
    • Neil Young, Crazy Horse & the Bullets:
      • Neil Young - acoustic & electric guitar, vocal
      • Frank "Poncho" Sampedro - acoustic & electric guitar
      • Billy Talbot - bass
      • Ralph Molina - drums
      • Ben Keith - pedal steel guitar
      • Carole Mayedo - violin
      • Linda Ronstadt - vocal
      • Nicolette Larson - vocal


  1. ^ a b Nelson, Paul (August 11, 1977). "Neil Young: American Stars 'N' Bars > Review". Rolling Stone (245). Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Schinder, Scott; Andy Schwartz (2008). Icons of Rock. Greenwood. p. 469. ISBN 978-0-313-33847-2. 
  3. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2003). Journey Through the Past: The Stories Behind the Classic Songs of Neil Young. Hal Leonard. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-87930-741-7. 
  4. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. Neil Young: American Stars 'n Bars > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Neil Young". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 10 March 2006. 
  6. ^ Mitchum, Rob (September 30, 2003). "Neil Young: On the Beach/American Stars 'n Bars/Hawks & Doves/Re-ac-tor". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 

External links[edit]