Neil Young will forever be one of those names that we will always associate with country and folk rock. With a career spanning almost six decades, Young has started from The Squires, became a member of the legendary CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), and has even collaborated with Pearl Jam on an album.
To look back at the work of this prolific Canadian singer-songwriter, here are some of the hits popularized by Neil Young, based on their Billboard charting history:
Four Strong Winds (1978)
Young recorded this popular song for his album "Comes A Time." It featured backing vocals from American pop singer Nicolette Larson. What non-Canadian fans might not know is that it was actually a cover from the Canadian duo Ian and Sylvia. The original song was released in 1963.
When Young covered "Four Strong Winds" in 1978, it peaked at No. 61 on the July 1979 edition of the Billboard Hot 100. It enjoyed heavy rotation on album-oriented rock and classic rock radio stations. The unofficial anthem of Alberta, Canada is also one of Young's fan-favorite songs, a regular part of his live show repertoire.
Cinnamon Girl (1970)
Before it was released as a single in 1970, this Neil Young and Crazy Horse single made its debut in their album "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" from the year before. Together with "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down by the River," "Cinnamon Girl" was famously written by Young while he was fighting flu and high fever in his California home.
The popular song narrates a hopeless romantic daydreaming for love to come. Upon its release, it reached the 55th spot at the US singles chart, staying in the Hot 100 for nine whole weeks. Since then, several artists have been covered and performed, including The Who, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and Foo Fighters.
Only Love Can Break Your Heart (1970)
The third track from Young's landmark album "After The Gold Rush" was supposedly written for Graham Nash. It marked Young's first hit to break through the Top 40, peaking at No. 33 in the Hot 100.
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" would return to the airwaves by 1990. The British band Saint Etienne covered the popular song as a part of their debut album "Foxbase Alpha." Saint Etienne recorded the track for less than two hours and secured a record deal.
Old Man (1972)
Neil Young wrote this popular song as a part of his "Harvest" album. "Old Man" was written for the caretaker of the ranch that Young purchased two years ago, the Broken Arrow Ranch in North Carolina. The song illustrates the similarities and differences between a young and an older man.
Interestingly, fellow country legend James Taylor played the six-string banjo while Linda Ronstadt sang backup on the track. It peaked at No. 31 on the Hot 100 and has been heard in a variety of movies and television shows.
Heart of Gold (1972)
A surprising fact to some fact, while Neil Young has released a lot of popular songs, he only snagged the top spot of the Hot 100 charts in the US once. "Heart of Gold" was released in the US in 1972. However, Young had been performing the song during his shows before he even recorded it. It would go down as his only chart-topper to date.
It appeared as a part of his album "Harvest," together with "Old Man." It was covered by several artists, including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Tori Amos, and James Taylor himself.