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Rock Hall Anniversary: Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Singer/songwriter Neil Young performs at the Dolby Theatre on March 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Singer/songwriter Neil Young performs at the Dolby Theatre on March 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In 1969, two former members from the recent disbanded Buffalo Springfield would release breakthrough albums of their own. And Neil Young would be the first.

In May of that year, he released the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. It would be the musician’s first album with the backing band Crazy Horse, and second overall. Among the seven tracks on the album, three songs would go on to become Young’s biggest standards, in both in record and performance. They were “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand”. Consequently, these three songs were also known for the fact they were written around the same time Young was suffering with a 103˚ fever.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere became Young’s first charting album, peaking in the top forty in both America (where it would also go platinum) and his native Canada. Upon its release, reviews were mostly positive, yet some critics felt the album fell short of having “the lyricism of his 1968 debut” (as mentioned by one critic in Rolling Stone).

As time went on, critical reception for the album became more positive, credited for its rejection for the polished effort, something that Young would be known for. In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 210 in their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Most importantly, the album marked the beginning for the eventful moments that will mark Young’s career in the coming years.