Neil Young – Best albums of the 1970s (and 1969)

A look back on Neil’s 11 albums from 1969-1979

Now when I’ve reviewed “Rust never sleeps”, the last studio album of the seventies, it seemed like a great time to stop and reflect. I have had a look at all eleven albums since the self titled debut album from 1969. With one album per year most of the years, he is really productive our dear friend uncle Neil, I think I will do one of these looking back and rank’em for each and every decade. This is the first one and this decade actually covers eleven years! Strangeness in Neilverse.

The seventies was clearly Neil’s golden era. All albums in this list are more or less great, I enjoy to listen to them all. This is a truly impressive list.

Let me start with the number 11 and work my way down to the number one.


11. Long may you run (1976)

A couple of stellar songs by Neil, especially the title track, is drawn down by his best fiend Mr Stills. Nice overall feeling and a good companion to have when relaxing on the couch.

Songs: “Long may you run”, “Let it shine” 


10. Neil Young (1969) 

A strong debut with some notable songs, but it can’t compete with all the other great albums of the first decade (and on year).

Songs: “The last trip to Tulsa”, “The old laughing lady”



9. Tonight’s the night (1975)

Great album, of course, but it is a little too dreary with all its back grief and sorrow. It was a very interesting and artistically expansive period, the years before this album release. There are a lot of gems to be uncovered in future Archives-releases.

Songs: “Roll another number (For the road)”, “Mellow my mind”



8. Zuma (1975)

Strong album where Neil is backed by Crazy Horse, and it always grows on me when I put it on. But it is still but somewhat lesser than some of their best. As soon as I don’t play it, it slips into oblivion. I think it may be underrated by me.

Songs: “Cortez the killer”, “Lookin’ for a love”



7. American stars n’bars (1977)

Almost impossible to split this and “Zuma” in the rankings, don’t even know what made me choose it over the other. Sometimes it is nothing more than a coin toss.

Songs: “Star of Bethlehem”, “Homegrown”, “Hold back the tears”



6. After the gold rush (1970)

Sometimes I forget how much I love this album. Is it number 6? Could it be higher? Lower? Nah, this is exact right. Will never change. I promise!

Songs: “Only love can break your heart”, “Don’t let it bring you down”



5. Come a time (1978)

Now we come to the five albums that are almost interchangeable in the top. “Comes a time” gives me lovely country flavoured Neil goodness. It is so nice.

Songs: “Human highway”, “Look out for my love”, “Already one”



4. On the beach (1974)

The album in the top five that have the most filling and complete “album feeling” where the album is stronger than the sum of its individual songs. It is a really, really cool album. Easily chosen when I pick a vinyl to spin.

Songs: “On the beach”, “Revolution blues”



3. Rust never sleeps (1979)

Iconic album filled with well know and iconic songs. Some flaws made up by two particular songs though. Its layout is interesting and the music and lyrics are hard to digest. An album that have a loooong life before it gets boring.

Songs: “Thrasher”, “Powderfinger”



2. Harvest (1972) 

Here we have the ultimate country album by Neil. The first tracks are heavenly. So much beauty. There is such a place you know, “Neil’s country”.

Songs: “Harvest”, “Out on the weekend” and “Are you ready for the country?”



1. Everybody knows this is nowhere (1969)

The best of the best. The ultimate Neil Young and Crazy Horse album? Maybe. There will be some strong challenges down the road, but this is crème de la crème.

Songs: “Cowgirl in the sand”, “Down by the river”




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