Best Neil Young Songs

The Top Ten

1 Rockin' in the Free World

The title gives me the feeling of awesomeness, How on God's Earth can you hate it?

Deserves to be #1. 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.

This song was ahead of its time.

I really like this song. - Britgirl

V 2 Comments
2 Heart of Gold

Brilliant use of chords on guitar and the harmonica is excellent! Listen to the lyrics closely NUMBER 1

The Harmonica and guitar in this song are just legendary. One of the best songs ever written!

I learned how to play harmonica because of this song! This song should be number 1!

You just can't choose one song, all his work is brilliant, neil is a great musician and song-writer

V 6 Comments
3 Like a Hurricane

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.

Who would not get 'blown away' by two absolutely out of this world solos! - pratyushchauhan

Wow, just wow! Everything in the rock powerhouse masterpiece is amazing! A brilliant vocal from Shakey & to top it all off, one of the best guitar performances in Rock history!

Th most of besutiful song

V 4 Comments
4 Cortez the Killer

Takes me back to the days of kings and queens. One of the greatest songs of all time. If you think Neil's guitar playing in 'like a hurricane' is outstanding and magical, then lemme tell you - this is even better

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. "

The long slow build up instrumental brilliantly conjured up an image of Cortex the Killer crossing the ocean. A masterpiece, should be number one.

The solo is GOOD. (so is the whole song)

V 3 Comments
5 After the Gold Rush

Beautiful haunting song. Sitting in a burned out basement with the full moon in my eyes.

Thinking about what a friend had said and I was hoping it was a lie...

How this so low?!

Very emotional song
O that lyrics, that falsetto

V 1 Comment
6 Old Man

I think this should the top. The chords the lyrics the tone they're all awesome. The perfection to describe a life full of misfortune

All his songs from this time are great. Seeing someone so young but writing a song with so much wisdom is incredible.

This song is just brilliant... It brings out lots of emotions n memories... And you go into a different world of your own...

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. - Rob S, NorCal but sadly not on a ranch

V 4 Comments
7 Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

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.

This song describes rock and roll. The lyrics are just beautiful "out of the blue and into the black, they give you this but you pay for that"

Lyrically,it can't be touched. And can we just talk about the distortion on the guitar? Perfection

Greatst rock song. That songs make me cry

8 Cowgirl In the Sand

This is classic Neil. Deserves more respect on the list. 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.

Come on guys this should be first

Great guitar work. One of the best jams in rock history.

V 2 Comments
9 Down by the River

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.

Great song great the solo

Love this Song, the Live versions are perfect

Esta canción tiene mucho corazón y el sentimiento mas libre de una poca magica.

V 1 Comment
10 My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

"It's better to burn out than to fade away." Such sad lines to a song, they are full of emotion. And also, Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the band Nirvana, out those words in his suicide note... Directly from this song.

This is my favorite Neil Young song, thanks to the guitar melody, and lyrics. - Caleb9000

I just love this song...

The Newcomers

? Grandpa's Interview
? When Your Lonely Heart Breaks

The Contenders

11 The Needle and the Damage Done

The best two minutes in rock. I need not say more, but will. Written to perhaps ease the pain Neil and the rest of Crazy Horse felt upon the heroin deaths of guitarist Danny Whitten, along with a member of the band's crew. Anyone near to addiction can feel the pain delivered in a sad and perfectly executed message. It's real -- all too real. And one of very few songs you can say is actually perfect. Your top 10 is more Freedom songs, which are good but not in this song's class, and the expected Cowgirl and Down by the River. Those are fairy tales next to this song, which can jolt you the first time you hear it -- you know it's special right away.

Great story revolving around the pains of addiction. Beautiful music that finds its way into your heart. What an amazing guitar player.

Too good not to be top10

12 Southern Man

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

This song is one of the most important songs he has. chilling

How do you plan a party in space? You plan-it. Haha funny. Oh yeah and this song rocks

The best Mr. Young's song

13 Powderfinger

No question my favorite. Riveting in all facets. A powerful story with a tragic conclusion. If only the river doesn't take Emmylou? What if the kid's brother went hunting another day? It's a gripping story with a perilous mood set by Neil's singing style and brooding guitar and Crazy Horse giving it that one and only Crazy Horse sound. No. 1, above the more well-known tunes, although I can't argue Like a Hurricane. Powderfinger never appeared on a studio album debuting on Rust Never Sleeps. But it's also found on Weld and Live Rust. Powderfinger and Pocahontas make Rust Never Sleeps the most played here, with back-to-back Weld discs right there. Cortez the Killer could drop out, not in my Top 10, but a powerful yet confusing tune. No, son, I don't think they're here to deliver the mail.

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.

Best song most underrated song with gold rush people are confusing my my hey hey for hey hey my my and it's not nearly as good perhaps this is the most disgraceful list I have ever seen

The best!

V 4 Comments
14 Cinnamon Girl

Come on, how could Cinnamon Girl NOT be in the top 10?

One of the greatest guitar hooks in rock. Simple, yet scorching.

This is surely a mistake

This low level just demonstrates that the masses are asses

15 Harvest Moon

Come on now, how is this at least not in the top ten?

This is one of those songs that can sound so simple yet perfectly beautiful. Writing a song like that must be a thrill.

I agree, are you kidding me this isn't top 10?

Got to be among Neal's top five... beautiful song.

V 4 Comments
16 Long May You Run V 1 Comment
17 Ohio

Seriously, the definitive song of the Nixon presidency can't crack the Top 15. How very sad. My, My, Hey, Hey -- really? Cortez, nada. Even Cinnamon Girl and Harvest Moon should fall below Ohio, an anthem of its time that resonates to this day. Other than Dylan, who has stood the test of time with a consistent run of pure power, such as Ohio, to super folky mellow to cool alt-country? I'm a sucker for Once an Angel. Neil, and no one else I can think of. And to many Neil started with Ohio.

Every band on this site that started in the 70s has a backwards rankings. I feel sorry for all the voters that clearly missed out on 70s rock and roll.

This is by far his greatest song. I knew someone who was at the Kent State shooting. Sad story. - bighercules

18 Out on the Weekend

Was Out on the Weekend off Harvest? I thought it was off Everyone Knows This is Nowhere...

"Can't relate to joy, he tries to speak and, can't begin to say "

V 1 Comment
19 Helpless

Listening to him perform it now on The Last Waltz It is an underappreciated great early song that should move up on the list.

A very good song well worth a listen

20 (See the Sky) About to Rain
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List Stats

1,000 votes
91 listings
6 years, 187 days old

Top Remixes (20)

1. Cowgirl In the Sand
2. Like a Hurricane
3. Comes a Time
1. My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
2. Rockin' in the Free World
3. Harvest Moon
1. Mr. Soul
2. Southern Man
3. Cortez the Killer

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