Essential Neil Young

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    Essential Neil Young

    Do you agree with the list below?   Any you would subtract?  Or add?   Yes, it's short, and you may think too short, but consider it the type of list you'd give to someone who was getting started. 

    Rust Never Sleeps

    Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

    Tonight's the Night

    On the Beach

    After the Goldrush

     

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    I would recommend to anyone that they start wtih the collection Decade, which is a wide ranging overview of his career during some of his prime years. It's a great collection that turned me on to Neil and I've been a big fan ever since.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    The Needle and the damage done.

     

    This is on my short list of all time favorites.  I was really young when I first heard my older brother playing this.  It was hypnotic.  This and Black Sabbath are the only two songs to ever touch my soul.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    I might also add Harvest

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to devildavid's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I would recommend to anyone that they start wtih the collection Decade, which is a wide ranging overview of his career during some of his prime years. It's a great collection that turned me on to Neil and I've been a big fan ever since.

    [/QUOTE]

    A bit uncanny that you mention this because I had it in my OP, but edited it out, b/c I decided it would mean more if anyone brought it up on their own.   You did.  :)   In the blog I was reading, the blogger said that he recommends Decade over the Greatest Hits by far.  I looked on Amazon to compare the two, and I could immediately see why Decade is a superior choice. 
    Anyhow, you rarely mention Neil Young, so I am happy to see that Decade was what made you a fan.  

    PS I am still kicking myself for not buying a pre-owned box set of The Nuggets when I had the chance.  Still on my list, and still intend to pick it up at some point.  

     

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    A bit uncanny that you mention this because I had it in my OP, but edited it out, b/c I decided it would mean more if anyone brought it up on their own.   You did.  :)   In the blog I was reading, the blogger said that he recommends Decade over the Greatest Hits by far.  I looked on Amazon to compare the two, and I could immediately see why Decade is a superior choice. 
    Anyhow, you rarely mention Neil Young, so I am happy to see that Decade was what made you a fan.  

    PS I am still kicking myself for not buying a pre-owned box set of The Nuggets when I had the chance.  Still on my list, and still intend to pick it up at some point.  

     

    [/QUOTE]

    I have two approaches to fandom. For some artists, collections and box sets suffice. This can have various reasons. A lot of time it has to do with the time the artist recorded. Many of my favorites were recording when the album was yet to become the norm. These artists mainly recorded singles which were later released in album or collection form. This is true of a lot of 50's and earyl 60's rock and blues. I also have a core of artists that recorded after albums became big and I often collect almost all of their output. Graham Parker is a prime example of this. Neil Young is kind of a hybrid for me; I started with Decade but also added a few select albums such as Tonight's the Night, Freedom, and Ragged Glory. Got to see him live solo just before the release of Freedom and it was a great, memorable show.

    Nuggets is one of my staples, especially when my wife and I are traveling. I usually try to play it when she is sleeping because she gets very irritated by it. She feels the same way about my all-time favorite artist, Howlin' Wolf. Her tastes run more toward today's country and stuff like the Osmonds. I usually bring along some old 50's & 60's pop/rock collections so we can sing along together. I guess opposites attract. At least I did turn her on to Alison Krauss ;) 

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    Great topic!! ~:))

    I would agree with most of the choices here.  Decade is probably the best summary of his solo work to that point (set chronologically) along with Live Rust.  

    The Live Archives albums are all excellent: Fillmore East (1970 w/ Crazy Horse), and the solo acoustic releases: Massey Hall (1971), Canterbury House (1969), plus the most recent The Cellar Door (1970), which I've listened to a lot in the past month and is just incredibly touching and intimate.  Of these, Massey Hall is probably the best 'get' with rare tracks and an iconic performance.

    On The Beach and TTN are a personal favorites, but I concur are mood pieces.  ATGR is resplendent.  (Harvest slightly less so, IMO.)  Rust Never Sleeps is an important artifact.

    I'm biased of course, but I would also add Zuma, Ragged Glory, Harvest Moon, Prairie Wind and Psychedelic Pill.

    Neil Young is one of those rare artists in which his failures can be more interesting than others' successes, and which almost everything he's done has its own place and context relative to the rest.

    I would also recommend the expertly done, late-career tribute film by Jonathan Demme, Heart Of Gold, which leans rather country with the Prairie Wind tracks, and also has wonderful cameos by Emmylou Harris and others.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    I agree with Matty.

    Must add Ragged Glory and Zuma.

    'Cortez The Killer' and 'Love And Only Love' are two of his best.

    You can't ignore Freedom either. Rockin' In The Free World is awesome.

    To me any Neil Young is essential.

    My first two favorite Rock artists when I was a teenager were Santana and Neil Young....even before I became a Beatles , Black Sabbath and Deep Purple fanatic. 

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I agree with Matty.

    Must add Ragged Glory and Zuma.

    'Cortez The Killer' and 'Love And Only Love' are two of his best.

    You can't ignore Freedom either. Rockin' In The Free World is awesome.

    To me any Neil Young is essential.

    My first two favorite Rock artists when I was a teenager were Santana and Neil Young....even before I beacme a Beatles , Balck Sabbath and Deep Purple fanatic. 

    [/QUOTE]
    RE: Ragged Glory and other albums post 1990:  I've seen fans (esp. younger fans, yet who love all of the 70's albums, too) who feel that there's a need to divide the two essential components date-wise, pre and post 1990.

    Even though the earlier albums are beyond classic and incomparable, there are fans who equally love his 90's albums, and those that followed (Sleeps With Angels, Greendale ... for example).   So this just adds to the mix for another POV.    

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    I'm a bit of a Neil skeptic so I'm staying out of this, but I had to make a snarky little remark of some kind, didn't I... Smile

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I'm a bit of a Neil skeptic so I'm staying out of this, but I had to make a snarky little remark of some kind, didn't I... Smile

    [/QUOTE]

    He's a fake Canadian.   What else do you have against him?  Laughing

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Great topic!! ~:))

    I would agree with most of the choices here.  Decade is probably the best summary of his solo work to that point (set chronologically) along with Live Rust.  

    The Live Archives albums are all excellent: Fillmore East (1970 w/ Crazy Horse), and the solo acoustic releases: Massey Hall (1971), Canterbury House (1969), plus the most recent The Cellar Door (1970), which I've listened to a lot in the past month and is just incredibly touching and intimate.  Of these, Massey Hall is probably the best 'get' with rare tracks and an iconic performance.

    On The Beach and TTN are a personal favorites, but I concur are mood pieces.  ATGR is resplendent.  (Harvest slightly less so, IMO.)  Rust Never Sleeps is an important artifact.

    I'm biased of course, but I would also add Zuma, Ragged Glory, Harvest Moon, Prairie Wind and Psychedelic Pill.

    [/QUOTE]

    It looks like the basic list holds up pretty well.

    I own After the Goldrush which I love and have listened to countless times, and Harvest, which I also treasure, but on a different level.  

    Seems that the Decade discs are a defining collection, trustworthy and a heck of a deal.   It's brilliant that the songs are arranged by provenance, too.  

    Maybe Hfx should get a copy as well.  

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I agree with Matty.

    Must add Ragged Glory and Zuma.

    'Cortez The Killer' and 'Love And Only Love' are two of his best.

    You can't ignore Freedom either. Rockin' In The Free World is awesome.

    To me any Neil Young is essential.

    My first two favorite Rock artists when I was a teenager were Santana and Neil Young....even before I beacme a Beatles , Balck Sabbath and Deep Purple fanatic. 

    [/QUOTE]
    RE: Ragged Glory and other albums post 1990:  I've seen fans (esp. younger fans, yet who love all of the 70's albums, too) who feel that there's a need to divide the two essential components date-wise, pre and post 1990.

    Even though the earlier albums are beyond classic and incomparable, there are fans who equally love his 90's albums, and those that followed (Sleeps With Angels, Greendale ... for example).   So this just adds to the mix for another POV.    

     

    [/QUOTE]

    That's one way to sub-divide an admittedly long, prolific career.

    Rather, I would say his albums are products of their time and place (even when they're deliberately being nostalgic).

    Sleeps With Angels was produced partly in concert with Kurt Cobain's death, which Neil took particularly to heart (per his biography). "Change Your Mind" is an epic Horse jam.  

    His next LP was Mirror Ball, in which he was backed by Pearl Jam (sort of a younger, more energetic Crazy Horse) which could ONLY have occurred in the mid-90s.

    And then there's Living With War, released in 2006 deep in the throes of the mid-east wars and pretty much speaks for itself.

    Easier might be to separate the plaintive, country-ish, acoustic Young from the angular, edgy, rocking Young...filled in by the more middle-paced, workmanlike Young.

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I'm a bit of a Neil skeptic so I'm staying out of this, but I had to make a snarky little remark of some kind, didn't I... Smile

    [/QUOTE]

    He's a fake Canadian.   What else do you have against him?  Laughing

    [/QUOTE]

    It's hard to explain.  It's somewhat the same way I feel about Bob Dylan, I think.  I know he's a musical giant, but I'm very indifferent to a lot of his music.  It's just personal taste, I guess that's the only explanation.  

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    The album that hardly anyone knows is probably in my top 5 Neil Young albums....Time Fades Away.

    Why do I like this LP?

    Neil Young once said that 'Heart Of Gold' put him in the middle of the road and he much preferred the gutter. I take this to mean that he didn't like the fame that followed Harvest (how else can you take this comment?). 

    Time Fades Away is Neil's return to the gutter. Grittier songs , nothing meant to be Top 40....or even "radio friendly." The songs are all new , never before released, but recorded live. The album alternates rockin' songs with softer acoustic songs. Highlights of the album include 'L.A.' ( sort of Hotel California- like in meaning....he describes the bad things about L.A., then in the chorus he sings "don't you wish that you could be here, too?"). 'Don't Be Denied" a slow tempo rocker about Neil's younger days in Canada. 'Last Dance' a long Crazy Horse jam ( one of the earliest ones). 'The Bridge' and 'Love In Mind", two very emotional slower songs ( I believe the latter is Neil alone on piano). 

    This is a "bare bones" album not meant to be flashy , Neil is sort of going in the opposite direction of most Rock acts in 1973, less polish , more grit ( this is the true beginning of grunge, not quite there yet, but leading up to what would be the first "grunge" album in Zuma.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I'm a bit of a Neil skeptic so I'm staying out of this, but I had to make a snarky little remark of some kind, didn't I... Smile

    [/QUOTE]

    He's a fake Canadian.   What else do you have against him?  Laughing

    [/QUOTE]

    It's hard to explain.  It's somewhat the same way I feel about Bob Dylan, I think.  I know he's a musical giant, but I'm very indifferent to a lot of his music.  It's just personal taste, I guess that's the only explanation.  

     

    [/QUOTE]

    No two artists have added more lyrical meaning to Rock songs than Dylan and Neil Young. They made Rock a music for the intellect, while Disco did it's best to destroy that by taking music back 25 years to senseless dance music, with banal lyrics.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    No two artists have added more lyrical meaning to Rock songs than Dylan and Neil Young. They made Rock a music for the intellect, while Disco did it's best to destroy that by taking music back 25 years to senseless dance music, with banal lyrics ... (Zillagod quote).


    I'm quite suprised that people (apparently you too) consider lyrics to songs being important. To me music is all about the sound, not poetry, and it is the only thing that gravitates me to songs.

    I have found that knowing lyrics to some songs with great sound, beyond the occasional word or sentences here and there, have ruined songs for me, due to nothing being left to the immagination.

    And yeah disco sucks, as none had any good sound to them.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

    No two artists have added more lyrical meaning to Rock songs than Dylan and Neil Young. They made Rock a music for the intellect, while Disco did it's best to destroy that by taking music back 25 years to senseless dance music, with banal lyrics.

    [/QUOTE]

    I never thought disco was about the lyrics in the first place.  "Dance Dance Dance (Yowza Yowza Yowza)" doesn't leave much to ponder, lyrically.

    Quick beats, funky bass, slick production and delusions of grandeur...that was the disco way.

     

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    Now , let's get one thing straight, no one...yes NO ONE!!!....likes a good instrumental as much as I do. Many of my favorite songs are instrumentals.

    ...but, if a song is going to have lyrics, I want intelligent lyrics....meaningful lyrics ( funny lyrics....Commander Cody) I hate music that has pointless lyrics , love music with good, intelligent lyrics....Dylan, Young, Lennon....( others include Stan Ridgway...very under-rated...., Psychedelic Furs, The The, Joni Mitchell, Megadeth ,Bad Religion , and many more). 

    Cannot stand KC and the Sunshine Band ....absolutely the worst music with lyrics ever made. I could tolerate it if it had no lyrics or if the lyrics said something of any type of meaning.

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Now , let's get one thing straight, no one...yes NO ONE!!!....likes a good instrumental as much as I do. Many of my favorite songs are instrumentals.

    ...but, if a song is going to have lyrics, I want intelligent lyrics....meaningful lyrics ( funny lyrics....Commander Cody) I hate music that has pointless lyrics , love music with good, intelligent lyrics....Dylan, Young, Lennon....( others include Stan Ridgway...very under-rated...., Psychedelic Furs, The The, Joni Mitchell, Megadeth ,Bad Religion , and many more). 

    Cannot stand KC and the Sunshine Band ....absolutely the worst music with lyrics ever made. I could tolerate it if it had no lyrics or if the lyrics said something of any type of meaning.

    [/QUOTE]

    What is a pointless lyric? "Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight" has a point, don't you think? All love songs have a point. All you need is love. But is the real point of music to deliver a message only to the mind or to the body as well? Lyrics alone aren't music. Without the melody or the beat lyrics lose much of their luster.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH6Cf9LOJ2I

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Now , let's get one thing straight, no one...yes NO ONE!!!....likes a good instrumental as much as I do. Many of my favorite songs are instrumentals.

    ...but, if a song is going to have lyrics, I want intelligent lyrics....meaningful lyrics ( funny lyrics....Commander Cody) I hate music that has pointless lyrics , love music with good, intelligent lyrics....Dylan, Young, Lennon....( others include Stan Ridgway...very under-rated...., Psychedelic Furs, The The, Joni Mitchell, Megadeth ,Bad Religion , and many more). 

    Cannot stand KC and the Sunshine Band ....absolutely the worst music with lyrics ever made. I could tolerate it if it had no lyrics or if the lyrics said something of any type of meaning.

    [/QUOTE]

    Appreciated.  I'm just saying that disco didn't kill good lyrics and couldn't have even if it tried.

    And yet, you have to admit that there are whole lot of silly, pointless lyrics in rock n' roll.  I'm more drawn to the music than the lyrics, too, but I also love a good turn of phrase (Lou Reed, Elvis Costello) and literate songwriters.

    Led Zeppelin, for example.  Great band...lots of silly lyrics.  Not as bad as some critics seem to think, but still not all that great, either.  Plant was best when he kept it simple (e.g. Rain Song).

    I mean, rock n' roll was started with things like "wop-bop-a-lu-bop-a-lop-bam-boom" and "tutti-frutti-on-a-rutti"...not the most intellectual stuff.  

    And that's fine.  IMO, rock is not supposed to be perfect or smart or totally original all the time.  I think of a song like "Wonderwall".  Great song.  I love it.  But the lyrics are just nonsense, and the writer admitted as such.  "I Am The Walrus"...great song, silly lyrics.

    And I LOVE Neil Young.  Neil's genius is in his writing but also in his delivery and the passion of his playing.  "Heart Of Gold" isn't O'Neill or Wharton or even Dylan, but in Young's hands, it's an all-time country-rock classic.

     

     

     

     
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    Re: Essential Neil Young

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    And that's fine.  IMO, rock is not supposed to be perfect or smart or totally original all the time.  I think of a song like "Wonderwall".  Great song.  I love it.  But the lyrics are just nonsense, and the writer admitted as such.  "I Am The Walrus"...great song, silly lyrics.

    [/QUOTE]

    I think there is a differentiation between the nonsense in lyrics like "Wonderwall" and in "I Am The Walrus".  Lennon's lyrics are nonsense, but in the vein of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll...they're deliberately weird, grotesque, psychedelic, disturbing.

    I'm just quibbling on that one particular point. 

     

     

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