43 Best Neil Young Songs

Contents

“Four Strong Winds” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1978

Originally written and recorded by Ian & Sylvia, Neil Young's version of “Four Strong Winds” is a song worth listening to on a quiet night. The lyrics portray a story about a failing love.

The narrator suggests he understands the relationship he and his lover had didn't work out, but he still hopes they can rekindle their bond, despite the odds.

“Lotta Love” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1978

Despite its upbeat guitar instrumentation, “Lotta Love” incorporates bittersweet lyrics about love. Building and changing a relationship takes plenty of time and effort, making this song relatable to anyone having difficulty finding love.

“Lotta Love” appeared on the album Comes a Time. During the same year, Nicolette Larson recorded a cover, giving the lyrics a more optimistic tone about love.

“Are You Ready for the Country” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1972

If you're looking for a fun country-rock song to play on your phone while driving with your friends, consider listening to “Are You Ready for the Country.” The song incorporates lyrics centered around dread, following the right or wrong path, and God versus death, giving it a slightly religious undertone.

Following the release of the single on Young's album Harvest, Waylon Jennings recorded a cover in 1976 that peaked on several country music charts.

“Harvest” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1972

“Harvest” is a Neil Young song you can listen to if you're facing the woes of love and can't shake the feeling of uncertainty. It's about a man wondering about his potential relationship with a woman and how much love he'll receive and embrace, curious if it will satisfy his expectations.

The song’s slow tempo embodies the feeling of uncertain love vividly as the guitar accompaniment gives it a distinctively country sound.

“Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1970

Songs about the hardships of love resonate with all kinds of people, and Neil Young's “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” hits the mark with its relatability. This ballad expresses how love keeps people from becoming lonely, but makes them susceptible to heartbreak.

It ranked 33rd on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart. Since its release, several artists have recorded covers of this classic single, including Saint Etienne, Stephen Stills, and Florence and the Machine.

“Rockin’ in the Free World” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1989

Although “Rockin' in the Free World” might sound upbeat, the lyrics are anything but. In this song, Young shows his anger at American society, especially the increasing violence and poverty throughout the nation. Young recorded two versions of this song: an acoustic arrangement and the well-known electric rendition.

Its political lyrics resonated with people looking for change in a corrupt world. This track ranked second on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Chart and 39th on RPM's Top Singles Chart.

“Thrasher” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1979

“Thrasher” is one of Neil Young's best acoustic songs, with lyrics reflecting his life experiences. This song highlights a difficult period with Crosby, Stills & Nash. It touches on the group’s dwindling relevance and Young’s departure towards a long-lasting solo career.

Young doesn’t hold back on his reflections, and the lyrics express his newfound creative freedom. It’s a great piece that’s relatable to people drifting apart from others.

“Through My Sails” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1975

“Through My Sails” is a hopeful Neil Young song about starting a new life. The lyrics center on leaving your old life behind and creating a blank slate, which could resonate with anyone wanting to move forward and accept change. It’s the type of song best played whenever you need to unwind after a harsh week.

“From Hank to Hendrix” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1992

This song is about a man asking the woman he loves if there's anything they can do to make their failing marriage last.

The song's lyrics and title indicate how the two have been together for several decades. Its slower tempo and steady guitar give it a pleasant sound, despite the context of fading love.

“Tonight’s the Night” by Neil Young

Song Year: 1975

The main inspiration behind Neil Young's “Tonight's the Night” stems from the death of his roadie, Bruce Berry, resulting from a heroin overdose. Young's vocals have a haunting sound, emphasized by the feelings of loss and the rough guitar accompaniment. 

Songs about unfortunate events can impact audiences as much as ones about positivity, especially for those who experienced loss.

Top Neil Young Songs, Final Thoughts

Neil Young's talent has resonated with music lovers throughout the decades, and his music continues to attract new fans, young and old. The best Neil Young songs have an iconic rock sound, with hints of folk and country, showcasing his musical flexibility.

We hope this list can help you find a few new favorite songs. Feel free to comment and tell us which ones you like the most.

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