Neil Young has turned 75! So it’s probably the best day to present to you the click baiting listicle I call The Best Neil Young Songs Of All Time! AND… I have given myself the nigh impossible task of just naming TEN songs! But I think I am well satisfied with this list, keeping my selections to the less obvious and focusing on deep cuts. Without further ado, The Best Neil Young Songs Of All Time (in alphabetical order, natch!)
“Don’t Be Denied” (Time Fades Away, 1973)
Neil’s song about his childhood in Canada. The rallying cry for every freak and geek!
“Eldorado” (Freedom, 1989)
The distinctive Latin flavour of this classic is evident right from the get-go with the guitar figure. From one of Neil’s finer albums.
“Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” (Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, 1969)
The gloriously shambolic title track of Neil’s sophomore effort and his first with Crazy Horse. Showcasing Neil’s wonderful grasp of country-folk dynamics.
“Fucking Up!” (Ragged Glory, 1990)
The appropriately titled Ragged Glory epitomised Neil’s raison d’être especially when working with Crazy Horse. This well received album also confirmed Neil’s status as the Godfather of Grunge, with this song about … y’know fucking up …. the centrepiece of said conceit.
“Inca Queen” (Life, 1987)
Neil’s 80s output was fraught with creative difficulties, landing him in hot soup with Geffen, who sued him for releasing albums that were “musically uncharacteristic of [his] previous recordings”. Life was the final album of his Geffen contract and arguably the best one.
“Ordinary People” (Chrome Dreams II, 2007)
This epic song was the stuff of legends, having been recorded in the latter part of the 1980s but held over and unreleased till 20 years later! Better late than never has always been Neil’s mantra.
“Out on the Weekend” (Harvest, 1972)
The opening track of Neil’s biggest commercial success with its languid appeal is always a sound and attitude that I have been trying to aspire to.
“Powderfinger” (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)
One of Neil’s finest story songs. With its anti-war sentiment and tragic characterisation, it still strikes a chord with fans.
“Revolution Blues” (On the Beach, 1974)
Neil’s commentary on the Manson family – “Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars/But I hate them worse than lepers and I’ll kill them in their cars”. Chilling.
“Thrasher” (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)
Another one from Rust Never Sleeps, this evocative 12-stringed wonder is meditative and dream-like in nature. It’s difficult not to be mesmerised.
“Unknown Legend” (Harvest Moon, 1992)
A paean to his ex-wife Pegi, “Unknown Legend” demonstrates once more Neil’s uncanny country-folk affinity, that guitar riff resonates way before you get to the soaring chorus and pedal steels. Genius.
Yes I know this list does not in any way represent your own choices. But it is what it is. This is after all The Best Neil Young Songs Of All Time. As I see it, of course. Comments, please at our Facebook page.
Happy birthday, Neil! Long may you run!!
… still there’s more …