Best Neil Young Songs

The Top Ten
1 Rockin' in the Free World

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.

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

Yes, #1. Got to see Neil play this at 5 different concerts. Each time was amazing.

2 Heart of Gold

If you think ANYTHING about Neil Young is "brilliant," you're a musical illiterate and likely also tone deaf.
This anti-American bag of scalded cats should by barred by law from coming within 100 feet from a harp OR a mic.

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!

3 Old Man

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

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

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

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.

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!

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

5 Cortez the 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.

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. "

Neil's original comeback album, Zuma. Cortez leading song on the Album. Thanks Neil for helping me comeback so often.

6 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...

This is arguably his best song.
I can't believe people forgot about this one

7 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.

8 Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

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.

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.

9 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.

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

10 Cinnamon Girl

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

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

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

The Contenders
11 Harvest Moon

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...

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.

12 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.

EASILY neils best work. No Song is more fun to jam to than this! In fact the whole album is awesome!

13 Southern Man

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

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

14 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.

15 Mr. Soul
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.

17 Long May You Run

One of the best songs about cars ever written (Springsteen excepted)

18 Only Love Can Break Your Heart

This is the song I involuntarily start playing when I'm on a long bike ride. what a simple but beautiful song

19 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
20 Comes a Time

Love the words. You can tell he's written for someone who meant the world to him.

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

Beautiful song - love the fiddle!

21 (See the Sky) About to Rain
22 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

23 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.

24 From Hank to Hendrix
25 Pushed It Over the End
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