Neil Young Songs 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 of more than 75 million records. Here are all Neil Young songs ranked.

Listen to the timeless songs of this Canadian born singer. Click below and experience Neil Young’s music.

20. Thrasher (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)

“On one level it details Young’s breakup up with CSN&Y but on another describes the feelings of all many people who have walked away from one form of life to start another. In many ways it is as much a poem as a song. When listening to Thrasher I always want to dig out some road films, such as Vanishing Point, or watch again Five Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson.”

19. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (After The Gold Rush, 1970)

“This is the song I involuntarily start playing when I’m on a long bike ride. what a simple but beautiful song. Always brings a tear to my eye. Just BEAUTIFUL – and sad…”

18. Mr. Soul (Buffalo Springfield Again, 1967)

“Love moody music that reminds you of how shallow we are. Some of Neil’s best guitar work with some of the best lyrics in his whole career”

17. Powderfinger (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)

“I remember the first time I really took in the lyrics of this song outside of my work in a driving rainstorm in my car. It was so powerful and I felt the tragedy and had to wait for numerous minutes until my eyes were no longer damp. It is rare artist that can move instead of merely entertain.”

See more: Neil Young Albums Ranked

16. Ohio (Solo Trans, 1984)

“Fantastic guitar song. Neil at his angriest, and rightfully so. Neil’s best “story” song. I think you could easily make a movie based on this song.”

15. Long May You Run (Long May You Run, 1976)

“Wonderful song that just flows through a beautiful melody and wonderful lyrics, positive and heartfelt, will lift you up! If you like Neil Young you will like this song.”

14. Southern Man (After The Gold Rush, 1970)

“Classic hard hitting guitar and great lyrics. And it inspired another great song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. One of my all time favorites.

13. The Needle and the Damage Done (Harvest, 1972)

“Great story revolving around the pains of addiction. Beautiful music that finds its way into your heart. What an amazing guitar player. Touching tribute song to Danny Whitten. Fun song to play on guitar, too. Well written.”

12. Down by the River (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, 1969)

“I believe Howard Stern said this was his favorite song and he played it for Robin who said it was so depressing. Howard said I think Neil is some kind of genius. Killer guitar with Crazy horse.”

11. Cinnamon Girl (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, 1969)

“Three-minute rock genius with the phenomenal guitar but no long jam. Maybe the best of its kind. To fully appreciate you need to hear it live in a crowd, very charged.”

10. Harvest Moon (Harvest Moon, 1992)

“It’s so different from his other songs, yet perfect for him at the same time. Neil can rock out on a song like “Free World”, yet come back and sing an incredibly tender love song like this. He’s been going strong since 1967! Incredible career.”

9. Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)

“While my real love is actually with this songs counterpart “my my hey hey (out of the blue)”, which in my opinion has much more of Neil’s passion and feeling in the vocals, this song changed me as a person and as a musician. One of the greatest songs ever written. Without a doubt his best work in my opinion.”

8. My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) (Rust Never Sleeps, 1979)

” Being an acoustically dark ominous ballad, and the flips being the electric counter part to the former. The concept is genius, the music is even more so. The phenomenal guitar work from Young on both is among some of the greatest he ever recorded, as are the often simplistic lyrics.

7. Cowgirl In the Sand (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, 1969)

“This is classic Neil. Deserves more respect on the list. A great song in the electric version, or in the acoustic version. Love this song. Fun to play, fun to listen to, fun to jam with–just a fun song.”

See more: Stephen Stills Albums Ranked

6. Like a Hurricane (Decade, 1977)

“The Bootleg versions of this song are better than most of the other hailed Rock songs from then or now. Great song with all the elements of awesome Rock & Roll. Casual listeners are not aware that Neil is the only guitar player on the song and Poncho is just draping the high simple sustained organ sound fill.”

5. Old Man (Harvest, 1972)

“Haunted and haunting, sublimely wistful, each syllable floated high into the ether on his utterly unique coyote soprano…this gets my vote for not only the best song of Neil’s, but maybe the best song ever, by anyone.”

4. Cortez the Killer (Zuma, 1975)

“Other than the totally incorrect line “Hate was just a legend, and war was never known”(the Aztecs were one of the biggest war mongers in history), this is a beautiful song with some of Neil’s best laid-back and soulful guitar work. “Cortez, Cortez… What a killer.”

3. After the Gold Rush (After the Gold Rush, 1970)

” “After the Gold Rush” is a cryptic tale of looming environmental catastrophe. Arriving when it did – at a point where even the Nixon administration was ready to acknowledge America’s many ecological crises – the song was both timely and prescient. That it was delivered in what may be Young’s most heart-rending melody only adds to the song’s deep sense of foreboding.”

2. Heart of Gold (Harvest, 1972)

“Even Bob Dylan himself said he couldn’t stand listening to this song because it reminded him of himself. Dylan was very jealous of this song. The harmonica and guitar in this song are just legendary. One of the best songs ever written!”

1. Rockin’ in the Free World (Freedom, 1989)

“It’s strange for a rock song to be more powerful in it’s acoustic version, but with “Rockin’In The Free World” that’s exactly the deal. The live and acoustic version is stronger. Neil’s best work. He probably feels the same. One of the all time great rock songs ever sung and played. The guitar work is unbelievable.”