Island in the Sun was recorded in 1982 by the same creative team but rejected as his first LP for Geffen Records. He went on to deliver the controversial Trans instead, which featured three tracks that started life on its shelved predecessor.
Young revealed on his website that the LP was now titled Johnny’s Island. He called it “a complete album now being prepared for release,” adding that it “includes a majority of unreleased tracks, including ‘Big Pearl,’ ‘Island in the Sun’ and ‘Love Hotel,’ plus others you may have heard before. … It’s a beautiful record coming to you soon.”
Fan site Human Highway previously offered a “likely” track listing for Island in the Sun, noting that the Trans songs “Like an Inca,” “Hold on to Your Love” and “Little Thing Called Love” were slated for the earlier record. Also provided was a quote from a 1995 interview, in which Young confirmed he offered the LP to Geffen, calling it “a tropical thing all about sailing, ancient civilizations, islands and water. … Actually two or three songs ended up on Trans.”
Released in December 1982, Trans was the 12th studio album of Young’s career. It began a series of records that have been described as “puzzling at best,” as Young indulged in the complete artistic control he’d been granted by his new label, including experimenting with synths and vocoders. Geffen sued him after the release of the 1983 follow-up Everybody’s Rockin’, claiming he had delivered “unrepresentative” and “uncharacteristic” albums.
“They told me they wanted me to play rock ‘n’ roll and told me I didn’t sound like Neil Young,” the singer recalled. “So I gave them Everybody’s Rockin’ and said, ‘This is a rock ‘n’ roll album by Neil Young after someone tells him what to do. This is exactly what you said you wanted.’ And we got way into it.” The label eventually apologized.