Neil Young tunes

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The Godfather of Grunge!

Neil Young is a Canadian-born musician who, apart from his very successful solo career, was also a member of Crosby Stills & Nash, adding his surname to the band name.

His first band with success was Buffalo Springfield which he formed upon arriving in Los Angeles. Stephen Stills was also a member of Buffalo Springfield and wrote their most successful tune, For What It’s Worth.

After three albums, they parted ways. Stephen formed Crosby, Stills & Nash. Neil went solo.

His self-titled debut didn’t have the same success as he’d gotten used to with Buffalo Springfield, we didn’t get any big tunes. However, retrospectively, I’ve Been Waiting For You has been praised by both critics and artists. David Bowie even covered it with the help of Dave Grohl in 2002.

Neil has frequently mentioned how his debut album wasn’t played, it was overdubbed. Perhaps this experience was the seed for his more hands-on approach and protective nature of his art from now on.

His follow-up album, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (1969), did much better with the title track, Cinnamon Girl, and Cowgirl In The Sand which all became Neil Young classics.

Next up we get After The Goldrush (1970) with the title track, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, and Southern Man standing out the most.

1970 also saw the release of his first collaborative effort with old pal Stephen and his bandmates David and Graham. Together they called themselves Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and released Deja Vu.

Teach Your Children and Helpless were the two biggest tunes from this album which since has been included on many best-of lists as well as registered for preservation by the Library Of Congress in 2023.

In 1972, Neil release what many consider his best album, the epic Harvest. Here we find Heart Of Gold, Old Man, and The Needle And The Damage Done. All three are genuine top-class tunes.

Harvest was so great that his next albums paled in comparison. It would take until American Stars ‘n Bars before we got another massive Neil Young hit in Like A Hurricane.

This was followed by a Greatest Hits triple album named Decade and Comes A Time (1978) which didn’t have any hits.

1979 and Neil is back with the classics on the part studio, part live album Rust Never Sleeps. The opening tune My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue), and closing Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) are sensational.

Two more tunes are worth mentioning, Pocahontas and Powderfinger. The same year he also release Live Rust which is a live album recorded during the same tour, here we find most of his classics from previous years.

The 80s wasn’t Neil’s best decade. The first seven albums didn’t have any tunes of the same gold standard we’d gotten used to.

It would take until 1989 before he recorded another part studio/part live album (Freedom). Two tunes stand out here, Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World, which has become one of his signature songs.

The second tune from this album is my all-time Neil Young favorite in terms of lyrics, it’s called Crime in the City (Sixty to Zero, part 1). Here are verse 2’s lyrics:

“The artist looked at the producer, the producer sat back.
He said, what we have got here, is a perfect track.
But we don’t have a vocal, and we don’t have a song.
If we could get these things accomplished, nothing else could go wrong.
So he balanced the ashtray, as he picked up the phone.
And he said, send me a songwriter, who’s drifted far from home.
And make sure that he’s hungry, make sure he’s alone.
And send me a cheeseburger and a new Rolling Stone. Yeah.”

I genuinely feel these are my favorite lyrics, by anyone, ever.

After a few more albums and live albums it’s now 1992, Neil releases Harvest Moon, the title track is my favorite Neil Young tune.

The album did well but 1992 was a huge year in music history so perhaps it didn’t get the attention it deserved. Still, it got to #4 in Canada, #9 in the U.K., and #16 in the U.S., selling 2 million copies in the U.S.

Since Harvest Moon, Neil has kept releasing albums, my favorite being Silver & Gold (2000), but no new hits have appeared since Harvest Moon.

Definitely worth mentioning is his collaboration with Pearl Jam in 1995 on Mirrorball, maybe it was now everyone realised Grunge was so influenced by Neil’s music he was dubbed the Godfather of Grunge.

Personally, I’m more of a fan of his acoustic work. Perhaps that’s why I’ve mainly focused on this side of Neil throughout this article…

Neil Young tunes | Related pages

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon chords

Em7 | Em7 |
Come a little bit closer.
Em7 | Em7 | D5 Dmaj7 | Dmaj7 A/D D | D Dmaj7 | Dmaj7 A/D D |
Hear what I have to say.

Harvest Moon chords.

Heart Of Gold

Heart Of Gold chords

| Em C | D5 G |
I want to live, I want to give.
| Em C | D5 G |
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.

Heart Of Gold chords.

Like A Hurricane

Like A Hurricane chords

Am | Am | G | G |
Once I thought I saw you in a crowded hazy bar.
Fmaj7 | Fmaj7 | Em7 | G |
Dancing on the light from star to star.

Like A Hurricane chords.

The Needle And The Damage Done

The Needle And The Damage Done chords

| Dsus2 | Dsus2/C |
I caught you knockin’ at my cellar door
G6/B | Gm6/Bb |
I love you, baby, can I have some more?

The Needle And The Damage Done chords.

Old Man

Old Man chords

| 6/4 Dm9add4 |4/4 D (Dsus4 Dsus2) |
Old man look at my life I’m a lot like you were.
| 6/4 Dm9add4 |
Old man look at my life I’m a lot like you were.

Old Man chords,

Neil Young on the web

Listen to Neil Young.

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