Decade (Neil Young album)

Decade (Neil Young album)
Greatest hits album by Neil Young
Released October 28, 1977
Recorded 1966-1976
Genre Country rock, folk rock, rock
Length 143:40
Label Reprise
Producer Neil Young, Elliot Mazer, Tim Mulligan, David Briggs
Neil Young chronology
American Stars 'N Bars
Comes a Time

Decade is a triple album compilation by Neil Young, released in 1977, now available on two compact discs. It contains 35 of Young's songs recorded between 1966 and 1976, among them five tracks that had been unreleased up to that point. It peaked at #43 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.



Compiled by Young himself, with his hand-written notes about each track, Decade represents almost every album from his career and various affiliations through 1977 with the exception of Four Way Street and Time Fades Away. Of the previously unreleased songs, "Down to the Wire" features the New Orleans pianist Dr. John with Buffalo Springfield on an item from their shelved Stampede album; "Love Is a Rose" was a minor hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1975; "Winterlong" received a cover by Pixies on the Neil Young tribute album from 1989, The Bridge; and "Campaigner" is a Young song critical of Richard Nixon. The track "Long May You Run" is a different mix to that found on the album of the same name, featuring the harmonies of the full Crosby Stills & Nash before David Crosby and Graham Nash left the recording sessions.

For many years, Decade was the only Neil Young compilation album available. A 1993 compilation called Lucky Thirteen was released, but it only covered Young's 1982–1988 output. It was not until 2004 that Reprise Records released a single-disc retrospective of his best-known tracks, titled Greatest Hits. Throughout the 1980s and '90s, Young promised fans a follow-up to the original Decade collection, provisionally titled Decade II; eventually, this idea was scrapped in favor of a much more comprehensive anthology to be titled Archives, spanning his entire career and ranging in size from a box set to an entire series of audio and/or video releases. The first release of archival material since Decade and Lucky Thirteen would appear in 2006, Live at the Fillmore East, a recording from a 1970 concert featuring Crazy Horse with Danny Whitten. Several other archival live releases followed, and in 2009 the first of several planned multi-disc box sets, The Archives Vol. 1 1963–1972, was issued.

Alternate early version

Initially, Decade was to be released in 1976, but was pulled at the last minute by Young. It was shelved until the following year, where it appeared with two songs removed from the original tracklist (a live version of "Don't Cry No Tears" recorded in Japan in 1976, and a live version of "Pushed it Over The End" recorded in 1974). Also removed were the following comments on those two songs and Time Fades Away, from Young's handwritten liner notes[1]:

Time Fades Away. No songs from this album are included here. It was recorded on my biggest tour ever, 65 shows in 90 days. Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while. I was becoming more interested in an audio verite approach than satistfying [sic] the public demands for a repetition of Harvest.

Don't Cry No Tears. Initially titled 'I Wonder,' this song was written in 1964. One of my first songs. This is a live recording from Japan with Crazy Horse.

Pushed It over the End. Recorded live on the road in Chicago, 1974. Thanks to Crosby & Nash's help on the overdubbed chorus, I was able to complete this work. I wrote it for Patty Hearst and her countless brothers and sisters. Also, I wrote it for myself and the increasing distance between me and you.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (A)[3]

The album has been lauded in many quarters as one of the best examples of a career retrospective for a rock artist, and as a template for the box set collections that would follow in the 1980s and beyond. However, in the original article on Young from the first edition of the Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll and a subsequent article in the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide, critic Dave Marsh used this album to accuse Young of deliberately manufacturing a self-mythology, arguing that while his highlights could be seen to place him on a level with other artists from his generation like Bob Dylan or The Beatles, the particulars of his catalogue did not bear this out. The magazine has since excised the article from subsequent editions of the Illustrated History book; a transcription of it can be found at the link below (despite his scathing view of Young's career, Marsh gave the album the highest possible rating).

Track listing

All songs written by Neil Young.

Side one

  1. "Down to the Wire" – 2:25
  2. "Burned" – 2:14
  3. "Mr. Soul" – 2:41
  4. "Broken Arrow" – 6:13
  5. "Expecting to Fly" – 3:44
  6. "Sugar Mountain" – 5:43
    • recorded live in concert on November 10, 1968 at the Canterbury House, Ann Arbor, Michigan; released as the b-side to "The Loner," 1968

Side two

  1. "I Am a Child" – 2:17
    • appears on the Buffalo Springfield album Last Time Around but features no members of the band other than Neil Young and drummer Dewey Martin
  2. "The Loner" – 3:50
  3. "The Old Laughing Lady" – 5:59
  4. "Cinnamon Girl" – 2:59
  5. "Down by the River" – 9:16

Side three

  1. "Cowgirl in the Sand" – 10:01
  2. "I Believe in You" – 3:27
  3. "After the Gold Rush" – 3:45
  4. "Southern Man" – 5:31
  5. "Helpless" – 3:34

Side four

  1. "Ohio" – 2:56
    • performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; released as a single, 1970
  2. "Soldier" – 2:28
  3. "Old Man" – 3:21
  4. "A Man Needs a Maid" – 3:58
  5. "Harvest" – 3:08
  6. "Heart of Gold" – 3:06
  7. "Star of Bethlehem" – 2:46

Side five

  1. "The Needle and the Damage Done" – 2:02
    • recorded live in concert on January 30, 1971 at Royce Hall, Westwood, California; appears on the album Harvest
  2. "Tonight's the Night" [Part I] – 4:41
    • appears on the album Tonight's the Night
  3. "Tired Eyes" – 4:33
    • appears on the album Tonight's the Night
  4. "Walk On" – 2:40
  5. "For the Turnstiles" – 3:01
  6. "Winterlong" – 3:05
    • previously unreleased; appeared on certain acetate pressings of Tonight's The Night
  7. "Deep Forbidden Lake" – 3:39
    • previously unreleased

Side six

  1. "Like a Hurricane" — 8:16
    • performed by Neil Young & Crazy Horse; previously unreleased; different lead vocal dub than version on American Stars 'n Bars
  2. "Love is a Rose" — 2:16
    • previously unreleased
  3. "Cortez the Killer" — 7:29
    • performed by Neil Young & Crazy Horse; appears on the album Zuma
  4. "Campaigner" — 3:30
    • previously unreleased
  5. "Long May You Run" — 3:48
    • performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; previously unreleased; original mix (without Crosby and Nash) appears on the Stills-Young Band album Long May You Run

The CD release combined sides 1-3 onto disc one, and sides 4-6 on disc two.


  • Elliot Mazer – Producer
  • Neil Young – Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vibes, Vocals



Year Chart Peak
1977 Billboard Pop Albums 43


  1. ^ Williams, Paul. Neil Young: Love To Burn. p. 115. ISBN 0-934558-19-1. 
  2. ^ "Allmusic review". 
  3. ^ "CG: Neil Young". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 

External links

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