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Neil Young Fans Think the “Lost” Album Hitchhiker May Be Released This Summer

INDIO, CA - OCTOBER 08: Neil Young performs with Sir Paul McCartney during Desert Trip at the Empire Polo Field on October 8, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Alongside his huge catalog of official releases, Neil Young has a number of “lost” albums that have never officially seen the light of day: there’s Homegrown, the folksy full-length he revealed immediately before releasing Tonight’s the Night in 1975, and Chrome Dreams, the 1977 record that went unreleased but nonetheless inspired an official sequel in 2007. Now, Neil Young fans are hoping that Hitchhiker, another lost ’70s gem, might get an official release this summer.

As Stereogum notes, the Neil fansite Thrasher’s Wheat has uncovered what they believe is evidence of an imminent Hitchhiker release. In April, they noticed that the website of Gary Burden, Neil Young’s longtime art director, had published an image that looked like a Hitchhiker album cover. (It has since been pulled down.) And now, the UK record retailer Diverse Vinyl has published a listing for the record, accompanied by the same image and a release date of July 14 2017. The listing also includes the following excerpt from 2014 memoir Special Deluxe:

“I spent the night there with David and recorded nine solo acoustic songs, completing a tape I called Hitchhiker.

It was a complete piece, although I was pretty stony on it, and you can hear it in my performances. Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or coke. Briggs was in the control room, mixing live on his favorite console.”

Hitchhiker hasn’t really been canonized in the same way as Chrome Dreams and Homegrown–you’d be hard-pressed to find another mention of it outside of that stray line from the memoir–and there’s no word about what the tracklist might include. Neil has played a song called “Hitchhiker” that dates to the ’70s in live sets on and off for years, and included a version of it on his 2010 album Le Noise. It’s pretty safe to assume that if Hitchhiker really does come out, the title track will show up–but other than that, who knows?

Fans may not want to get their hopes up quite yet, as there’s been no official word about a release from Reprise, Young’s record label. We’ve asked a representative there to confirm or deny the release, and will update this post if we hear back.

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