Wrecking Ball (Neil Young song)

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"Wrecking Ball"
Song by Neil Young
from the album Freedom
GenreSoft rock, heartland rock
Songwriter(s)Neil Young

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"Wrecking Ball" is a 1989 song by Neil Young, included in the album Freedom.[1] The song was covered by American singer Emmylou Harris.[2]


The song was written by Neil Young. Rather than referring to a real demolition wrecking ball, the lyrics are wordplay and the song refers to a dance or ball.[3] Aside from the 1989 album version "Wrecking Ball" exists also in a different version with a separate set of lyrics.[4]

Young sang harmony on the Emmylou Harris version, which became the title track of the Grammy Award-winning album Wrecking Ball.[5] Although the song was released by Harris as a 2-track CD single with Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World", reviewers did not consider the title track the high point on the album.[6]


  1. Brian Keizer, Dave Marsh Neil Young - 1996 Page 116 "The mature elegance of such ballads as "Wrecking Ball" and "Hanging on a Limb" (featuring Linda Rondstadt) rivaled the ease of composition and structural beauty of Comes a Time."
  2. Michael Ray -Disco, Punk, New Wave, Heavy Metal, and More 2013 "Her 1995 release, Wrecking Ball, on which she performed songs written by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix, among others, was especially notable."
  3. Kenneth G. Bielen The words and music of Neil Young - 2008 Page 68 "Rather than referring to the object used in demolition, in "Wrecking Ball" the term refers to a formal dance or "ball." The song possesses a mesmerizing ambiance. The track begins with a quiet piano figure and Cromwell keeping time with a drumstick tapping the edge of the snare. The lyric begins with an autobiographical glimpse. Young sings that one can "read" his "life" on the "radio". And reflecting again on the down side of celebrity, he says there is "nowhere to hide."
  4. Johnny Rogan -Neil Young: Zero to Sixty : a Critical Biography 2001 -- Page 572 "In common with 'Dance Dance Dance'/'Like A Rose', 'Wrecking Ball' exists in two different versions with separate sets of lyrics."
  5. The Journal of Country Music 1996 Volume 18 - Page 11 "One can hear that same sort of ache, an almost primordial loneliness, running through the whole of Wrecking Ball, her Grammy-winning current album. Having drawn on the catalogs of Earle, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and ..."
  6. CD Review Volume 12, Issues 1-9 - Page 13 1995 "Wrecking Ball peaks not with the Neil Young-penned title cut (with its author singing harmony) , but in the one-two punch of Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World" followed by Jimi Hendrix's "May This Be Love.".

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