Our Top 10 Nils Lofgren Songs list takes a look at the songs of a great rock and roll journeyman and artist. Nils Lofgren has celebrated a remarkable career in rock and roll. In the late 1960s, Nils Lofgren formed the band Grin. At the same time, at the young age of only 19 years old, he joined the Neil Young Band. Nils wound up recording with Neil Young on Neil Young’s classic After the Gold Rush album. Eventually, Grin was signed to a major label and released four albums between 1971 and 1973. Nils Lofgren would launch a solo career in 1975 with the release of his first solo album entitled Nils Lofgren. From 1975 to 2019, Nils Lofgren has released twenty seven solo albums.
Despite his successful solo career, Nils Lofgren would play a major role in the careers of two of classic rock’s biggest names of all time, Neil Young And Bruce Springsteen. Nils Lofgren was also a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band twice. Nils Lofgren’s association with Neil Young yielded Nils to land recording credits on six Neil Young albums. Nils Lofgren also became a member of Crazy Horse in 1971 and was featured on the band’s debut album. He returned to tour with Crazy Horse in 2018 and was featured on Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s album Colorado which was released in 2019.
ln 1984, Nils Lofgren was called on to replace Little Steven in the E Street Band. There were many people who said that Nils was lucky to get the gig in the E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen, but many of us said “hey wait a second, Bruce is the lucky one to get Nils.” Nils Lofgren, had written hundreds of great songs, released a ton of albums, played on so many legendary records and was a member of Crazy Horse. Yet there was Nils Lofgren onstage with Bruce Springsteen standing in the background doing his job and standing out of the spotlight. Of course, when Nils joined the E Street Band in 1984, Bruce was probably the biggest star on the planet, so in the end it wound up working out for both of them. Nils has become an essential part of the E Street Band and has received credits on ten Bruce Springsteen albums.
Nils Lofgren is an artist, a musician and a performer who has pretty much done it all. As we were going back through Nils career, it became obvious that we would have to write multiple articles to cover all the different aspects of his music. This Top 10 Nils Lofgren songs list will only focus on his solo albums. It will not include any of the music he released with his band Grin. We will save that for another article. We will also be doing a live performance article on Nils, as well as a collaboration article. There is just so much to take a look at and enjoy.
# 10 – Remember You
This song is so beautiful and sad that it can be tough to listen too. It’s so painful to lose a dog. The love and companionship that one cerebrates throughout life with a beautiful loving dog can be so hard to let go of. You can hear it in Nils voice on this one and we can all relate to it. The song “Remember You,” was released on Nil’s latest album Blue With Lou. The album was released in 2019. It’s as an album filed with songs written by Nils Lofgren and Lou Reed. You need to own this one.
# 9 – Old School
Listen to Nils guitar playing on this track. Wait a second, check that. Listen to Nils’ guitar playing on every track, on every album and every live performance. One of the most enjoyable guitar players to listen to of all time. Its as simple as that. This great guitar driven track entitled “Old School,” was the title track from the Nils Lofgren Old School album. The record was released in 2011.
# 8 – Cry Tough
After opening up this Nils Lofgren list with some newer Nils Lofgren material, its time to tun back to some of the classics. While Nils fans are certainly aware of the next set of songs, one must remember that these lists are also written for younger people who are not aware of an artists classic materiel. The great track “Cry Tough,” is definitely classic material.
The song was released on the Cry Tough album in 1976. The song featured a host of musical legends. Al Kooper who had founded the band Blood Sweat & Tears and also produced all the early Lynyrd Skynyrd albums plus is also Al Kopper! played organ on the track. The great Chuck Rainey who was a studio legend and played bass on some of the classic Steely Dan recordings as well as hundreds of other albums was also along for the ride on the song.
# 7 – I Came To Dance
Continuing with our top 10 Nils Lofgren songs list we turn to another classic track. The grooving song “I Came To Dance,” was the title track to the I Came To Dance album. The record was released in 1976. “I Came To Dance,” was the opening track on the album. The song was written by Nils Lofgren. One of the things we love so much about this song was the inclusion of the great piano player Reverend Patrick Henderson on the track. The man played piano with such a soulful funky groove that was a hallmark of some of those classic Doobie Brothers recordings that you thought was Michael McDonald. Sometimes it was, and sometimes it was the Reverend. We will cover that in more detail in another article.
# 6 – No Mercy
Nils Lofgren’s song “No Mercy,” was released on the 1979 album entitled Nils. This was an album in which the record company looked to try and turn Nils into a big name by bringing in a producer named Bob Ezrin who had worked with Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Flo & Eddie. Deep Purple and many other classic rock bands. The result was a brilliant album. But that really wasn’t much of a surprise because all of Nils records leading up to the 1979 album were also brilliant.
# 5 – Keith Don’t Go
This great track stands as one of Nils Lofgren’s most popular songs. Nils is on fire on this one. His guitar playing lights it up all over this track. Written about Keith Richards, this song was released on Nils Lofgren’s first solo album entitled Nils Lofgren. The record was released in 1975. The power trio on this great album featured Nils Lofgren on guitar and vocals, the great Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Wornell on bass.
# 4 – Shine Silently
Nils Lofgren’s song “Shine Silently,” was released on the great Nils album. The record was released in 1979. While Nils is really well known for his killer guitar work, we hope this list defines just how brilliant he was writing ballads. The proof is in the song below.
# 3 – Shot At You
This great song was released on Nils Lofgren’s second Rykodisk album entitled Crooked Line. The album was released in 1993. The album served as the follow up to his very successful Silver Lining album released in 1991. The wonderful 1980s CD label signed a great one with Nils Lofgren.
# 2 – Across The Tracks
Released on the album Wonderland. The record was released in 1983. “Across the Tracks,” was a very popular video on MTV in the early 1980s. Nils Lofgren’s gymnast background was on full display in the video. Such a great song that rocks hard and just make you feel good.
# 1 – Valentine
With a groove that fell somewhere between John Waits “Missing You,” and The Police and Sting’s Every Breath You Takes, Nils Lofgren created his own magical masterpieces with his heart warming song “Valentine.” With Bruce Springsteen supplying backing vocals, Nils wonderful song “Valentine,” presented fans with a song for the ages. Two all star legendary musicians performing together and showing us all how its done. Not just our favorite Nils Lofgren songs, but one of our favorite songs of all time. Thanks Nils! The song “Valentine,” was released on Nils’ Silver Lining album. The CD was released on Rykodisc in 1991.