Karla News

Celebrating 45 Years of Neil Young as a Solo Artist

Gold Rush

The twelfth year of the century proved a great one for music legend Neil Young, who not only published an autobiography but also recorded a new album. The book, titled Waging Heavy Peace, delighted his fans with stories about everything from his classic cars to his new sound invention to his family and music relationships.

The new album, titled Psychedelic Pill, received great reviews. It was Young’s first album with the band Crazy Horse in almost two decades, and its contents were reminiscent of classics such as “Cowgirl in the Sand” and “Cortez the Killer.”

The year 2013 should also be an important one for Young, as it marks the 45th anniversary of his first solo release. That self-titled debut hit record stores in 1968, a record which would prove that Young was a talented entity separate from Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

To celebrate the 45th birthday of Neil Young as a solo artist, I offer this list of the best songs in his vast and varied discography.

Tell Me Why” from After the Gold Rush: This acoustic gem is an ambiguous song with rich lyrics, such as Sailing hearts drift through broken harbors.

“Old Man” from Harvest : One of Young’s most famous songs, this acoustic ode has become somewhat of an anthem from the younger generation to its elders.

The Needle and the Damage Done” from Harvest: The chord and note sequence makes this a favorite among Young fans who love to play acoustic guitar.

Southern Man” from After the Gold Rush : The Canadian folk-rocker took some heat for this anti-racism epic, but no one could criticize its cool electric guitar riffs.

See also  Movie Review: St. Louis Blues

“After the Gold Rush” from After the Gold Rush: The title references drug use, and the slow, mournful piano has the calming effect of any number of opiates.

“Distant Camera” from Silver and Gold : Young returned to his acoustic roots and image-laden lyrics on this song, imagining lines like “If life is a photograph fading in the sun, All I need is this song of love to sing for you.”

“Harvest Moon” from Harvest Moon: The acoustic guitar riff is sparkling on this somewhat belated follow-up to its platinum Harvest predecessor.

“Cinnamon Girl” from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere : The fuzz-effect of this electric single established yet another characteristic of Young, as well as reinforcing his appreciation for the psychedelia of the Springfield.

“Harvest” from Harvest : This lyrically enigmatic title track has a contagious rhythm and chorus, making it one of Neil’s finest efforts.

Cowgirl in the Sand” from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere : “Purple words on gray background” paint the picture, while the lengthy electric guitar bridges provide the soundtrack.

“Like a Hurricane” from Stars ‘n Bars : The chord sequence is simple, establishing the calm that usually precedes the storm alluded to in the chorus.

“Hey Hey My My” from Live Rust: Both the acoustic and electric versions of this tune are great, just as both the electric and acoustic sides of Neil Young.

“World on a String” from Tonight’s the Night : The fast-paced rhythm here is a welcome change from the overall somber tone of Tonight’s the Night, one of Young’s most underappreciated sets.

See also  Columbia, California's Historic Ghost Town: A Great Weekend Getaway

Borrowed Tune” from Tonight’s the Night : Look at the closing line of this piano-based crawler, slow and quiet like the desired situation during a hangover: “I’m singing this borrowed tune that I took from the Rolling Stones, Alone in this empty room too wasted to write my own.

“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere : This title track shows the country side of Neil Young, both lyrically and musically.

“The Loner” from Neil Young: An appropriate title for a solo effort, especially from a guy who spent many years in the shadows as a member of other groups.

“Sugar Mountain” from Live Rust: This acoustic classic, as nostalgic as CSNY’s “Helpless,” was one of the first songs Young ever wrote.

“Long May You Run” from Unplugged : Originally recorded for the Still-Young collaboration in the 70s, the song found new life on MTV’s “Unplugged” series.

“Buffalo Springfield Again” from Silver and Gold: Here Young reminisces about his first band, and even contemplates the idea of getting them back together.

“I Am a Child” from Rust Never Sleeps : This song is perhaps Young’s finest contribution to the Springfield, but his solo version is clearly superior.