CSNY songs list

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

(CAROLYN KASTER/AP)

He once penned a song “Old Man, ” but he’s always been the grumpy one.

From his earliest days in the Buffalo Springfield and into his solo career and frequent collaborations with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, Neil Young has always been a musical activist, trashing Republicans, Democrats, unions, Southern racism and corporations destroying the planet and the music industry.

America remains as polarized today as it was when Young started out in the mid-1960s — and Young’s music is as relevant as ever. So on the Canadian singer’s 70th birthday, here are a few of his best known protest songs:

"Ohio" (1970)

Opening with the chilling words, "Tin soldiers and Nixon's comingm" this Young-penned CSNY track came out of Young's anger at the killing of four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard.

"Let's Impeach the President" (2006)

The Bush years brought on an entire record's worth of dissent from Young ("Living With War").

"Let's Impeach the President" gives voice to people looking for reasons to impeach President Bush because they disagree with him, with lines like " "breaking every law in the country, " and "misleading our country into war."

Young famously tried to trick the in character, conservative version of Stephen Colbert to play the it as a gag on "The Colbert Report."

"Who's Gonna Stand Up" (2014)

Young's second album of 2014, "Storytone, " features this straightforward call to protect the environment.

The song turns from general platitudes ("save the rivers/starve the takers/and feed the givers") and gets into specific demands to ban fossil fuels and fracking.

"The Monsanto Years" (2015)

Released in June, this collaboration with two of Willie Nelson's sons comes from an album of the same name, which goes after the agricultural biotech giant Monsanto, which Young claims will "make life hell" for farmers. The song ends with a downbeat message, "The seeds of life are not what they once were/Mother Nature and God don't own them anymore."

“Southern Man” (1970) and "Alabama" (1972)

Long before the days of rap beefs, Neil Young created a rock beef with Lynyrd Skynyrd with his bookend songs about racism in the south.

"Southern Man" talks of burning crosses and features a narrator intent on “cutting down” a black man.

“Alabama” asks an entire state to justify its slow entry into the modern Civil Rights era.

Lynyrd Skynyrd evoked both songs in its response, "Sweet Home Alabama, ” calling out Young by name and adding that the “southern man don’t need him around, anyhow.”

Young eventually admitted in his autobiography "Waging Heavy Peace" that he felt the lyrics - "Alabama/You got the rest of the union to help you along/What's going wrong?" — were "condescending."

"Vampire Blues" (1974)

Four decades before "The Monsanto Years, " Young was as worried about the environment as anyone.

Comparing those who consume natural resources to vampires "suckin' blood from the earth, " the song hints at a brighter future, albeit one that is always on the horizon: "Good times are comin'/but they sure comin' slow."

"Homegrown" (1975)

An early pro pot song, “Homegrown” protests those who keep marijuana illegal by suggesting it’s safe because it comes from the ground.

"Homegrown is a good thing/Plant that bell and let it ring, " encourages people to lighten up and trust something that grows in your own soil.

"Payola Blues" (1983)

Ironically, after the album tanked, Young's own record company sued Young for $3.3 million for making non-commerical music. The suit backfired, and label owner David Geffen eventually apologized.

"Mideast Vacation" (1987)

Long before the modern wars in the Middle East that America has ventured into, Young calls into question United States foreign policy in this song from the 1987 album, "Life."

The song paints a sketch of a Middle East where they chant "Death to America" and explosions going off in the distance.

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