Neil Young Albums Ranked

Neil Percival Young OC OM(born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian-born singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and activist. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, joining Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, and others. Since his early solo albums and those with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has been prolific, recording a steady stream of studio and live albums. Young has received several Grammy and Juno Awards. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him twice: in 1995 as a solo artist and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. In 2000, Rolling Stone named Young the 34th greatest rock ‘n roll artist. His guitar work, deeply personal lyrics, and signature tenor singing voice define his long career. He also plays piano and harmonica on many albums, which frequently combine folk, rock, country and other musical styles. His often distorted electric guitar playing, especially with Crazy Horse, earned him the nickname “Godfather of Grunge” and led to his 1995 album Mirror Ball with Pearl Jam. More recently he has been backed by Promise of the Real. His 22 albums and singles have been certified Gold and Platinum in the U.S by RIAA certification with estimated worldwide sales more than 75 million records. Here are all Neil Young albums ranked.

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10. Freedom (1989)

“A terrific late eighties record by Young that’s highly eclectic and is much more than the anthem like centerpiece song Rocking In The Free World would lead one to believe. Young experiments with hypnotic acoustic based songs with great hooks and thundering bass as well as a few world class acoustic based duets with Linda Ronstadt to go along with some of the high volume electric guitar numbers. There is a distinct disunity of the songs apparent on this album which is easily forgotten about due to each every tune’s high quality. Young nods occasionally to 80’s recording styles without ever over doing it and the overall sound is stellar.”

9. Ragged Glory (1990)

“”Ragged Glory” describes this album perfectly. No one ever said Neil plays perfectly when he goes electric. And Crazy Horse have never been note perfect. If Rust Never Sleeps showcased Neil & the Horse playing short, sharp songs with a post Punk delivery, this album showcases their ability to produce music that predated Grunge jam freak outs.”

8. Comes a Time (1978)

“For me this is the best of the early Neil Young albums. Any couple of songs on this album, could have made a Neil Young album, worthy of purchase. As it is, this is a great collection of songs on one album. “

7. Harvest Moon (1992)

“One of Neil Young’s masterpieces. This rendition lulls you into a soft emotional space and has you rooting for more. This song is great to listen to no matter your mood. Sad – lifts you up. Happy – keeps you happy. Mad – you can’t stay mad listening to this song. Glad – you’ll be glad you bought it because you’ll want to listen to it over and over. Something about this song never, ever gets old.”

6. Zuma (1975)

“This is my favorite Neil Young album, the one that I come back to the most often. I believe this is his best effort with the Horse, and Neil has never solo’d better. Both Danger Bird and Cortez the Killer contain Neil just absolutely on fire solo-wise. And the Horse provide such a wide sonic landscape for his solo’ing which speaks to what the Horse was best at, giving Neil space via power-chord sonic-scapes where he has a lot of room to create and paint with his electric. The rest of the tracks are great as well. This edges out On the Beach for me just because of Neil’s solo’ing. But On the Beach is a must have as well. Neil was awfully hard to beat in the seventies, that’s for damn sure!”

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5. Tonight’s the Night (1975)

“Great album, flaws and all! New guitar player, Nils Lofgren added at last minute, great musician and addition! Now 45 years later same group, shows up to record Colorado (newes Neil Young)! Can’t wait to experience new material with Crazy Horse! Beautiful lp in every way! The words are amazing on Tonight’s the Night shows a Great writing and music! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!”

4. On the Beach (1974)

“This is a great Neil Young album. Its a mixed bag of songs and moods. You have Electric Neil and Acoustic folkie Neil. I prefer it when he does not go overboard on the Electric with feedback etc and he does not on this one. Very underrated album.”

3. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

“This album will make you grow, either as a musician or an appreciator. This is from the time of highly inspired guitar work that alternates between mellow and frenzied, smooth and percussive. I bought it for Cowgirl in the Sand, which I happened to hear on a classic rock radio station a year ago. I knew I had to have that album. Luckily all the songs are fantastic and they blend together really well to create a very solid album. Not a lot of songs, but each one is a very long and thoughtful voyage..”

2. Harvest (1972)

“This was one of his first efforts, and some feel he never quite got this back. Strangely commercial considering Neil Young’s later choices. This album is a masterpiece, and is undoubtedly the most accessible of Neil’s oeuvre. Classic songs, beautifully recorded imho. I would recommend this to most people as it stands the test of time (excepting, Man needs a Maid, which might get some people’s backs up.) Very acoustic sound to the album.

1. After the Gold Rush (1970)

“After The Gold Rush was Neil Young’s third album as a solo artist, and it turned out to be the most beautiful and emotionally moving record in his catalogue. When Neil decided to follow his dream, and pursue a solo career, his first record was controlled by his new record label, and although it had a lot of very good songs on it, and a few stand out tracks, it was terribly over produced by the label that was trying to figure out how to market his unique sound and style, by glossing over his distinctive voice and wide range of musical styles. The end result was disappointing, despite the fact that it had a lot of very well written songs on it, and a couple of stand out tracks, like The Loner, and ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You, which have been Concert favorites for all of these years! So, on his second record, Neil connected with a Rough and Ready band that he renamed Crazy Horse, and he was able to put out an electric guitar based album that featured an amazing collection of long, extended solo guitar based tracks that were not like anything else on record, at the time.”