43 Best Neil Young Songs

Neil Young has arguably been one of the most influential musicians in rock music. He gained popularity during the 1960s and released several iconic tracks throughout the following decades.

If you're curious about his greatest hits, check out this list of the best Neil Young songs.

Contents

“See the Sky About to Rain” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1974

First up on this list of the top Neil Young songs is “See the Sky About to Rain,” a slow and melancholy single reflecting on the concept of predetermined fate, influenced by Young's disillusionment with the music industry.

Despite its solemn lyrics, it has a lovely guitar accompaniment, complemented by light vocals towards the song’s end. It featured on Young's album On the Beach, which ranked 13th on RPM's 100 Albums Chart.

“Rainin’ In My Heart” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1983

Originally written and performed by Slim Harpo, Neil Young's iteration of “Rainin' In My Heart” is the perfect song to listen to on a lonely night if you've experienced heartbreak.

The lyrics tell the story of a man regretting his actions and wishing for his former love to return to him. Its piano, guitar, and harmonica accompaniment give it a jazz-inspired sound.

“Sugar Mountain” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1977

Songs about growing up resonate with many music lovers. Neil Young's “Sugar Mountain” showcases the bittersweet nostalgia of youth in this mellow single. He initially wrote this track when he was 19, but recorded it a few years later.

The narrator compares youth to a county fair, full of fun and free of worries. Its limited guitar accompaniment goes well with Young's vocals. The song featured on the album, Decade, which ranked 71st on Record World's Album Chart.

“L.A.” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1973

One of the best Neil Young songs with a slightly rougher edge is “L.A.” This song's lyrics describe the destruction of Los Angeles, emphasized by lyrics referencing earthquakes, smog, and crowded streets. It has a slow tempo, which feeds into the song’s lyrics and tone.

“L.A.” was a featured track on Young's live album, Time Fades Away, which peaked within the top 30 of several international weekly charts, including RPM's 100 Albums Chart and Cash Box's Top 100 Albums Chart.

“Journey Through the Past” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1973

“Journey Through the Past” tells the story of a man remembering someone he loved and left behind after he moved. It's a great song to listen to if you miss somebody from your past and wonder if they still think about you.

Unlike many of Young's top songs, it doesn't incorporate guitars into its instrumentation. Instead, it has a slow piano backing track, focused on Young's vocals and lyrics about nostalgic lost love.

“Love Earth” by Neil Young ft. Crazy Horse

Song Year: 2022

“Love Earth” is a down-to-earth anthem dedicated to the beauty of our planet. Young's breathy vocals blend well with the song's subdued piano and guitar accompaniment. It's the perfect song to listen to on a warm, lazy afternoon in the park.

It appeared on Young’s 2022 album, World Record, which ranked within the Top 100 of several international weekly charts, including ARIA's Australian Digital Albums Chart and OCC's UK Albums Chart.

“A Man Needs A Maid” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1972

This Neil Young song is, at its core, about a man wanting to find a woman to love but worrying about the relationship failing, suggesting he's been in failed relationships. It's a relatable song for anyone struggling or nervous about finding love.

The song's piano and string accompaniment play into the emotions of Young's vocals, giving it a sentimental vibe that contrasts his more upbeat singles.

“Like A Hurricane” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1975

Neil Young wrote “Like a Hurricane” following a vocal cord operation, but we consider it one of our favorites because of its superb instrumental segments. The guitar, drum, bass guitar, and synthesizer accompaniment blend well between each solo.

The lyrics tell the story of a narrator remembering someone he loved, almost as if it were a dream. They compare his love's eyes with a hurricane, reinforcing the idea of her being unattainable.

Over the years, other artists recorded covers, including The Mission, Jay Farrar, and Jeffy Healy.

“Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1970

“Cinnamon Girl” is an upbeat track about a man's desire for a girl who matches his ideals. One of the inspirations behind Young's song stems from an encounter with a girl on the streets searching for a musician boyfriend.

This song appeared on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, the first of many collaborating with the backing band Crazy Horse. It ranked 55th on Billboard’s Pop Singles Chart and Record World’s Pop Singles Chart.

“Down by the River” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1969

If you're interested in listening to one of the darker Neil Young songs on this list, consider adding “Down by the River” to your playlist. Although many interpret the lyrics as the story of a man shooting his wife after he catches her cheating, I interpret the song as a metaphor for mistrust.

It has a relaxed beat, with snare drums and electric guitars. This song was showcased on his critically-acclaimed album Down by the River.

“Cowgirl in the Sand” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1969

Another Neil Young song worth listening to is “Cowgirl in the Sand.” Many listeners interpret the lyrics as describing his ideal type of woman. However, Young claims he was influenced by Spain's lush beaches.

The song has lengthy guitar solos, making it an excellent song to immerse yourself in when you're looking for something to play around the house or blast in your car.

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