‘Then they got the call': Time Fades Away reissue was already pressed when Neil Young changed his mind

Fans were understandably taken aback when Neil Young suddenly pulled Time Fades Away from the list of releases for Record Store Day, though they likely assumed he simply wanted to continue tinkering with the out-of-print 1973 live document.

After all, he’s long expressed dissatisfaction with the album, which featured new songs recorded during a particularly difficult tour in support of Harvest featuring Young and the Stray Gators. After its initial run, the album simply disappeared — becoming an iconic item along the way.

Finally, however, Time Fades Away was to be reissued this spring, as part of a deluxe four-disc Official Release Series vinyl package featuring Tonight’s the Night and others. A limited run of 3,500 boxes was announced by Warner Bros. Now, Michael Kurtz, who co-founded Record Store Day, says the Time Fades Away release is being moved back to the fall and Black Friday.

So, what happened? It wasn’t because of a desire to get things just right. Dismiss the official line about Young’s being focused on other projects, too.

Turns out, the albums were already pressed and ready to go. Then, the ever-mercurial Young did what the ever-mercurial Young does: He changed his mind.

Kurtz says that means stacks of Time Fades Away are sitting in a storage facility.

“Neil had put it together, Warner Bros. — who’s a good partner with Record Store Day — created it, and they manufactured it, shipped it to the warehouse,” Kurtz says, “and then they got the call from Neil: ‘I don’t want to do that. We’re going to wait and put those out on Black Friday.’ They were already ordered; the stores were expecting to get it.”

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