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7 Best Neil Young Songs To Celebrate His 77th Birthday Rocking The Free World

Happy Birthday to a legend!

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Neil Percival Young turns 77 years young today, and he’s still rocking in the free world. The Canadian-American musician has recorded more than 1100 songs in his career as part of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and as a solo artist. To celebrate the icon’s birthday, check out seven of our favorites, in no particular order.

(Also, a reminder: You can’t listen to most of Neil Young on Spotify, so you’ll have to stick to iTunes, or, as we prefer, vinyl records.)

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7. “Cinnamon Girl”

The beautiful lyrics and masterful guitar playing make this an instant classic. Among the lovely lyrics: “A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night/You see us together chasing the moonlight/My cinnamon girl.”

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6. “Old Man”

Come on, admit it: Every time you hear this song, you sing along… trying to imitate Young’s unique voice. Plus, some folks are at the age where they can totally relate to every word of this tune.

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5. “Harvest Moon”

Come a little bit closer, and hear what he has to say. “Harvest Moon” remains one of Young’s sweetest songs, complemented by gorgeous background vocals. Perfect for slow dancing.

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4. “Sugar Mountain”

Young was feeling the passage of time even before he turned 20, and this ode to youth and the joys and fears of leaving home is a heartbreaker. Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain.

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3. “Down by the River”

This is one of Young’s most interesting and mysterious songs, with long instrumental sections (including jagged, angry guitar riffs) and the enigmatic lyric, “Down by the river, I shot my baby.” Who or what is the baby? A cheating lover? An addictive drug? It’s open for interpretation, and Young himself has offered different explanations over the years.

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2. “Let’s Roll”

“Let’s Roll” isn’t Young’s greatest song, but it’s one of his most important and timely (not unlike “Ohio”). He wrote it shortly after 9-11 as a tribute to Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer. The opening is chills-inducing and the rest of the song is amazing.

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1. “Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue”

Exquisite, haunting song about the permanence of rock and roll, and the impermanence of our beloved rock and rollers. It’s terrifying how many performers have taken so literally the lyric, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” (Editor’s note: The Noel Gallagher-sung Oasis cover is solid, too.)

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