Decade is a compilation by Neil Young, originally released in 1977 as a triple album, now available on two compact discs. It contains 35 of Young's songs recorded between 1966 and 1976, amongst them five tracks that had been unreleased up to that point. It peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1986.[2]


Compiled by Young himself, with his hand-written liner notes about each track, Decade represents almost every album from his career and numerous 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 a large number of 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 wasn't 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 favour 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 after 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 additional 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:

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 amongst 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 fitting 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.


The album has been lauded in a large number of 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. Notwithstanding 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 can be seen to place him on a level with additional artists from his generation like Bob Dylan or The Beatles, the particulars of his catalogue didn't bear this out.[5] The magazine has after excised the article from subsequent editions of the Illustrated History book.

Track listing

All songs written by Neil Young.

Side one

  1. "Down to the Wire" – 2:28
  2. "Burned" – 2:15
  3. "Mr. Soul" – 2:48
  4. "Broken Arrow" – 6:11
    • Performed by Buffalo Springfield; appears on the album Buffalo Springfield Again
  5. "Expecting to Fly" – 3:45
    • Appears on the album Buffalo Springfield Again but no band member additional than Neil Young appears on the track
  6. "Sugar Mountain" – 5:43

Side two

  1. "I Am a Child" – 2:17
    • Appears on the Buffalo Springfield album Last Time Around (1968) but features no members of the band additional than Neil Young and drummer Dewey Martin
  2. "The Loner" – 3:50
  3. "The Old Laughing Lady" – 5:59/5:38**
    • Appears on the album Neil Young (** - Edited version on 1990 CD reissue)
  4. "Cinnamon Girl" – 2:59
  5. "Down by the River" – 9:16/9:00**
    • Performed by Neil Young & Crazy Horse; appears on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Side three

  1. "Cowgirl in the Sand" – 10:01
    • Performed by Neil Young & Crazy Horse; appears on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  2. "I Believe in You" – 3:27
  3. "After the Gold Rush" – 3:45
    • Appears on the album After the Gold Rush
  4. "Southern Man" – 5:31
    • Appears on the album After the Gold Rush
  5. "Helpless" – 3:34

Side four

  1. "Ohio" – 2:56
    • Performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; released as a single, June 1970 and later appeared on So Far, 1974
  2. "Soldier" – 2:28
  3. "Old Man" – 3:21
    • Appears on the album Harvest (1972)
  4. "A Man Needs a Maid" – 3:58
    • Appears on the album Harvest
  5. "Harvest" – 3:08
    • Appears on the album Harvest
  6. "Heart of Gold" – 3:06
    • Appears on the album Harvest
  7. "Star of Bethlehem" – 2:46

Side five

  1. "The Needle and the Damage Done" – 2:02
  2. "Tonight's the Night" (Part 1) – 4:41
  3. "Tired Eyes" – 4:33
    • Appears on the album Tonight's the Night
  4. "Walk On" – 2:40
  5. "For the Turnstiles" – 3:01
    • Appears on the album On the Beach
  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 (but originally recorded in November 1975); different lead vocal dub than version on American Stars 'n Bars (Regular version on 1990 reissue CD)
  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 (1975)
  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 (1976)

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




1977Billboard Pop Albums43