Greatest Hits

Greatest Hits

4.5 9
by Neil Young

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Neil Young has long been perched atop rock's list of true perfectionists, a fact that ensured he wouldn't release a standard "best-of" until he knew he could get everything just right. Well, thanks to sonic advances, he's finally agreed that the time has come for this wide-ranging sampler to make its way to fans. Mixed in DVD-stereo from the original masters, the disc… See more details below


Neil Young has long been perched atop rock's list of true perfectionists, a fact that ensured he wouldn't release a standard "best-of" until he knew he could get everything just right. Well, thanks to sonic advances, he's finally agreed that the time has come for this wide-ranging sampler to make its way to fans. Mixed in DVD-stereo from the original masters, the disc boasts warm and utterly enveloping versions of material as varied as the gossamer acoustic plaint "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and the sinewy stomper "Southern Man." The reworked sound is amply evident on those songs -- "Like a Hurricane" and "Cowgirl in the Sand," to name a pair -- that spotlight Young's singular soloing. In these surroundings, his playing is even more vivid, more stinging than on any CD version heard before. The set covers nearly a quarter century of Young's career, presenting him alone, with Crazy Horse, and with CS&N, culminating with the winsome title track of 1992's Harvest Moon. And while it's not a complete portrait of Neil as an artist -- that would require a hefty box set -- it's certainly the sort of snapshot any fan would be proud to display.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It may be hard to believe, but 2004's Greatest Hits is not only the first retrospective Neil Young has released since 1977's Decade, it's the first ever single-disc collection of his best-known songs. That's a span of 27 years separating the two collections, which is an awful long time to resist a Greatest Hits disc -- many of his peers succumbed, offering countless comps during those years -- and such a resistance to a compilation may not be much a surprise from the legendarily prickly Young, but what is a surprise is that 11 of the 16 songs on Greatest Hits were also on Decade. Of the five songs that were not on Decade, only two date from after the '70s -- 1989's "Rockin' in the Free World" and 1992's "Harvest Moon" -- while one of the remaining three (1970's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart") comes from the time chronicled on Decade; the other two, 1978's "Comes a Time" and 1979's "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)," arrived in the two years of the '70s not covered on the 1977 compilation. All this means is that Greatest Hits offers the basic canon, with no frills and none of Neil's trademark idiosyncrasy. Some may miss that cantankerous spirit, pointing out that this contains nothing from his towering twin masterpieces of dark introspection -- Tonight's the Night and On the Beach -- or that there's nothing from Buffalo Springfield (which was covered on Decade) and that noteworthy songs like "Powderfinger," "Cortez the Killer," "Lotta Love," and "Long May You Run" are missing. Ultimately, that doesn't matter much, because Greatest Hits has all the songs that every Neil Young fan, from the devoted to the casual listener, agrees are his biggest and best: "Down by the River," "Cinnamon Girl," "Helpless," "After the Gold Rush," "Southern Man," "Ohio," "The Needle and the Damage Done," "Old Man," "Heart of Gold," "Like a Hurricane." And that's why it works as an all-business introduction for the uninitiated and as a concise summary for those not willing to travel down all the long, winding roads Young has traveled over the years. In other words, it's as good a compilation as it could have been. [Greatest Hits was released in several editions. In addition to the basic single CD, there was a limited edition containing a DVD video with the promo clips for "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Harvest Moon." There was another limited edition with a bonus 7" record. Finally, it was also released as a high-resolution DVD Audio disc.]

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Product Details

Release Date:
Reprise / Wea


  1. Down by the River  - Neil Young
  2. Cowgirl in the Sand  - Neil Young
  3. Cinnamon Girl  - Neil Young
  4. Helpless  -  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  5. After the Gold Rush  - Neil Young
  6. Only Love Can Break Your Heart  - Neil Young
  7. Southern Man  - Neil Young
  8. Ohio  -  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  9. The Needle and the Damage Done  - Neil Young
  10. Old Man  -  Stray Gators
  11. Heart of Gold  -  Stray Gators
  12. Like a Hurricane  - Neil Young
  13. Comes a Time  - Neil Young
  14. Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)  - Neil Young
  15. Rockin' in the Free World  - Neil Young
  16. Harvest Moon  - Neil Young

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neil Young   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Rufus Thibodeaux   Fiddle,Group Member
J.J. Cale   Electric Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Crosby & Nash   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Nils Lofgren   Guitar,Piano
Graham Nash   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Linda Ronstadt   Vocals,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Steve Stills   Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals
James Taylor   Background Vocals,Banjo
Steve Gibson   Acoustic Guitar
Nicolette Larson   Vocals
Vic Jordan   Acoustic Guitar,Group Member
Ben Keith   Pedal Steel Guitar,Keyboards,Group Member
John Barbata   Drums
Bucky Barrett   Acoustic Guitar,Group Member
George Binkley   Strings,Group Member
Grant Boatwright   Acoustic Guitar,Group Member
Kenny Buttrey   Drums
Marvin Chantry   Strings,Group Member
Roy Christensen   Strings,Group Member
Virginia Christensen   Strings,Group Member
Johnny Christopher   Acoustic Guitar,Group Member
Chad Cromwell   Drums
Tim Drummond   Bass
Rita Fey   Autoharp,Group Member
Carl Gorodetzky   Strings,Group Member
Karl Himmel   Drums,Group Member
Teddy Irwin   Guitar
Sheldon Kurland   Strings,Group Member
Lawrence Lasson   Strings,Group Member
Rebecca Lynch   Strings,Group Member
Martha McCrory   Strings,Group Member
Ralph Molina   Drums,Vocals
Farrell Morris   Percussion,Group Member
Spooner Oldham   Organ,Piano,Group Member
Bill Peterson   Flugelhorn
Greg Reeves   Bass
Rick Rosas   Bass
Frank "Poncho" Sampedro   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Dale Sellers   Acoustic Guitar,Group Member
Jerry Shook   Acoustic Guitar,Group Member
Billy Talbot   Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals
Dallas Taylor   Drums
Gary VanOsdale   Strings,Group Member
Carole Walker   Strings,Group Member
Danny Whitten   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Calvin Samuels   Bass
Maryanna Harvin   Strings,Group Member
George Kosmola   Strings,Group Member
Andy McMahon   Piano
Stephanie Woolf   Strings,Group Member
Larry Harvin   Strings,Group Member
Joe Osborn   Bass,Group Member
Gone With The Wind Orchestra   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Neil Young   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,Audio Production
David Briggs   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Ben Keith   Producer
Joel Bernstein   Cover Photo
Niko Bolas   Producer,Engineer
Gary Burden   Art Direction
Chuck Cochran   String Arrangements
Bill Halverson   Engineer
David Hewitt   Engineer
Henry Lewy   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Elliot Mazer   Producer,Engineer
David McKinley   Engineer
Tim Mulligan   Producer,Engineer
John Nowland   Engineer
Elliot Roberts   Director
Henry Saskowski   Engineer
Jeff Blackburn   Composer
Kendall Pacios   Producer
Jenice Heo   Art Direction
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young   Producer,Audio Production
Harry Sitam   Engineer
Volume Dealers   Producer

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