Neil Young is an iconic figure in the music industry. His career as a musician, singer, and songwriter spans five decades. He’s commonly referred to as Canada’s godfather of grunge. The phenomenal artist has 45 albums to his credit. Although not all of them were successes, some dyed in the wool Neil Young fans may beg to differ. To honor his contributions to the world of music, here is a ranking of his 10 best albums of all time.
10. “Comes a Time”
The Guardian ranks “Comes a Time” as his tenth best album. The album is a gentle country-rock style that was released in 1978. Some of the best tracks on the album include “Lotta Love,” and “Look Out for My Love.” The album is packed with what are now considered Neil Young’s classic songs with the title track “Comes a Time” one of the most popular singles of the year for the artist.
“Freedom” is an album that marked a pivotal time in Young’s career. It was released in 1989 after a period of confusion for Neil, and it was the perfect project for him as it showed his true capabilities featuring “Crime in the City,” and a slew of other tracks that were received by audiences with open arms. It marked his return with a stronger and more focused version of himself including “Rockin’ in the Free World” which took the world by storm. There was no sign of musical confusion in this album.
8. “Sleeps With Angels”
“Sleeps With Angels” was released in 1994, after the news had rocked the world about the suicide of grunge superstar Kurt Cobain. Young’s lyrics were quoted in Cobain’s suicide note, and the album was an obvious response to the event that shook Young along with everyone else in the grunge music industry.
7. “Time Fades Away”
“Time Fades Away” was released in 1973. This is an important album in his history as it came on the heels of his commercial breakthrough. The album is loaded with some of the best songs ever performed by young including “The Bridge,” “Don’t Be Denied,” which is an autobiographical song, and “Last Dance.” The album was timely after a chaotic and less than a successful tour, and it helped put Young’s career on a more solid track.
“Zuma” was released in 1975. This album received a higher ranking than some of his other projects referred to as the ditch trilogy, e.gl “Tonight’s the Night,” “On the Beah,” and “Time Fades Away.” Audiences appreciated the lighter tone that brought Young and a rejuvenated Crazy Horse together for an epic album that will forever be a favorite.
5. “On The Beach”
Rolling Stone ranks “On The Beach” as the fifth best album of Neil Young’s career. This album held a number one ranking for several years after it was discovered. The LP was released in 1974 and didn’t get a lot of attention. It faded into the ether until Young re-released it in 2003 as a CD. The result was an instant hit. Even though it’s one of the most depressing records he released, it’s still one of his best. Neil Young commented that when you hit the lowest point, you tend to take a long look around, and you realize it’s a place you don’t want to stay.
4. “Tonight’s The Night”
“Tonight’s The Night” had an even more ominous impact than “On The Beach.” If you thought that one brought you down, you could rank “Tonight’s The Night” as the most depressing and “On the Beach” as a transitional album to help you slowly rise from the darkness of depression. This album was released in the latter part of 1973 in an experiment to see how bad the criticisms could get. Instead of getting flack for the album, it grew on people and became one of his best releases of all time.
3. “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” came after the split of Buffalo Springfield. Neil went out on his own with a 1968 debut album that didn’t do much for the public. He didn’t give up. “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” is his second album release in 6 months and it got the attention of its intended audience with memorable hit tracks “Cinnamon Girl,” which charted, “Cowgirl in the Sand,” and “Down by the River.”
2. “After The Goldrush”
“After the Goldrush” was released in the summer of 1970. It came after Young joined forces with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, adding his name to the trio to make it a quartet. The success of the group also helped to boost Neil Young’s solo career, which he never fully let go of. Some of the biggest hits from the album include”Southern Man,” and “After the Gold Rush.”
“Harvest” was released in 1972. This is the biggest album of his career, containing the most iconic songs of Neil Young. It’s still ranked by most as his best project of all time. Tracks on the album include his biggest hits such as “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man,” and “The Needle and the Damage Done.” These are the songs that made Neil Young an icon and a legend in the music industry. Whether you’re a fan of his or just aware of his contributions, the man has changed the music industry and given us a lot to think about over the past 50 years.