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.

This pumps me up. Amazing song! - Userguy44

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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!

Just perfect

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3 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?!

Young’s best- so beautiful.

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4 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

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5 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...

Unbelievably well written

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6 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.

My absolute Young favorite. What a song...the guitars, the drums. Never surpassed!

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7 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.

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8 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.

Though rocking In The Free World is #1 for me, this song gets my comment.
The first time I saw Neil in concert, he came on stage playing this song. It was amazing. The amps were about to explode it sounded so loud and powerful. It was an experience I will never forget and I realized why some people used to fear rock and roll.

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"


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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.

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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 Contenders

11 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


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12 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

13 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?

If there is such thing as a perfect song, this is it. Young people love it. Old people love it. Top ten? This is top five, easily. Or at least it would be with most artists. Neil’s songwriting is so great that it is hard to choose a top five. Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say...

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14 Cinnamon Girl

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

Three minute rock genius with phenomenal guitar but no long jam. May be best of its kind

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

To fully appreciate you need to hear it live in a crowd, very charged.

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15 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!

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16 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

17 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Makes my Top 10

18 Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Great song.. One of his best

19 Long May You Run


20 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 "

My #1

21 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

22 (See the Sky) About to Rain

Love this song one of Neils best

23 Mr. Soul
24 Comes a Time

This is a great song

Beautiful song - love the fiddle!

20? Totally underrated! My Neil Young's #2

I love it, I have always loved it. Thanks Neil 💜

25 Thrasher

This is a really great song I don't understand why it is not higher. Still everyone has their own favourites lets face it they are all great

This song is beauty. I love the sadness

Quite possibly the greatest lyrical song all time

Amazing song

26 From Hank to Hendrix

One of his saddest songs - BrianScott01

27 Pushed It Over the End

Really underrated - Alpha101

28 For What It's Worth
29 On the Way Home
30 Change Your Mind
31 Words
32 Tell Me Why

Such a good song can't believe this was left out

Amazing song

"Tell me why
Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself
When you're old enough to repaint
But young enough to sell..." - Billyv

33 Sugar Mountain

Underrated. A great song this should be in the top ten.

34 Alabama

Number 36?! What?! Did you not listen to that intro?

35 Unknown Legend
36 On the Beach

This song is just fantastic! This should be #1! Lyrics and Guitar just Blow me away

A brilliant song from a great album few have ever heard of.

Absolutely out of this world.

37 Harvest

How is this so far down on the list?

38 Ambulance Blues

I seriously doubt most so called "fans" have even heard On the Beach (the album). Too bad 'cause it's a classic and this song THE antithetic pop song. All it offers is a lot of soul and some good advice.

I can't believe it wasn't on the list before.

Best album closer - One of Neil Young's best, the lyrics and guitar-work are so intimate and heartfelt. Makes me nostalgic

This song is a gem but it's completely understandable why it's not rated as "top 10". Few have ever bothered to listen to it. They're probably too busy "pissin' in the wind".

39 Birds
40 Pocahontas
41 Downtown
42 Will to Love

Very underrated- amazingly deep lyrics- some of his best!

43 Danger Bird

My Favorite of his, very powerful guitar work!

A dark sound, definitely the best song of neil young.

44 Captain Kennedy

28 isn't bad, but it could be better.


45 Words (Between the Lines of Age)

An awesome song... The best of the best

Suprised this one isn't higher - Doom

46 I Am a Child
47 I've Been Waiting for You

My favorite guitar solo of all time

48 Ramada Inn

For Neil to write and play guitar on a new tune like this at his age, just shows you the energy and talent the guy brings to the table. If he wrote this in 1978, it would sound about the same and be hailed as a masterpiece, which it is!

Classic Neil, up there with CITS and CTK. An epic song.

49 When You Dance, I Can Really Love
50 Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It?

Recorded by Buffalo Springfield, and written by Neil, but with Richie Furay singing lead.
Only very rarely done during Neil's solo concerts, but has popped up at most Buffalo Springfield reunion events.

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Related Lists

Best Songs from Neil Young's Freedom Best Songs from Neil Young's After the Gold Rush Best Song Titles by Neil Young Best Songs from Neil Young's Mirror Ball Neil Young Songs With the Best Lyrics

List Stats

1,000 votes
91 listings
7 years, 126 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

View All 20

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