Zuma (album)

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Neil Young-Zuma.jpg
Studio album by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Released November 10, 1975
Recorded June 16, 1974 – August 29, 1975
Studio Broken Arrow Ranch, Redwood City, CA and Pt. Dume, CA
Genre Folk rock, country rock, roots rock, hard rock[1]
Length 36:34
Label Reprise
Producer Neil Young, David Briggs
Neil Young, Tim Mulligan "Pardon My Heart," "Lookin' for a Love," and "Through My Sails"
Neil Young chronology
Tonight's the Night
Long May You Run
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Pitchfork 8.7/10[3]

Zuma is the seventh studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released on Reprise Records in 1975. Co-credited to Crazy Horse, it includes "Cortez the Killer," one of Young's best-known songs. It peaked at #25 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.[4]


The death of guitarist and bandmate Danny Whitten from a drug overdose in 1972 affected Young greatly, and left the Crazy Horse band without its leader and songwriter. Young went out on tour in late 1973 with a band dubbed the Santa Monica Flyers, composed of the Crazy Horse rhythm section of bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina along with guitarist Nils Lofgren, who had played on Crazy Horse's debut album, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Keith, this group recording most of the tracks for what would be his Tonight's the Night album. After the 1974 stadium tour with Crosby, Stills & Nash and another abandoned attempt at the second CSNY studio album, Young formed a new version of Crazy Horse in 1975 with guitarist Frank Sampedro slotted in alongside Talbot and Molina. This line-up first appeared on this album, and has remained stable to the present day.


Zuma was the first album released after the famed Ditch Trilogy, comprising the albums Time Fades Away, and On the Beach, and Tonight's the Night. Young wrote most of the songs in Zuma during his time living on Sea Level Drive in Malibu, California.[citation needed] though "Through My Sails," originally entitled "Sailboat Song," derives from the spring 1974 rehearsals with CSNY, featuring the quartet on vocals and "Pardon My Heart" was recorded around the same period, originally intended to be released as part of Homegrown.

The melody and lyrics of "Don't Cry No Tears" are partially derived from "I Wonder", a song Young wrote in high school which appeared in his Archives in 2009. Young has claimed during a show in 1996 that he'd also written "Cortez the Killer" in high school while suffering "Montezuma's Revenge."[5] The song ends with a fade out because the original cut stopped abruptly due to a power surge, and a final verse Young had written was not recorded. Young's reaction to hearing of this was, "I never liked that verse anyway", and it has never been performed live.[6]

"Danger Bird" interpolates sections of an unreleased song relating to Young's breakup with Carrie Snodgress called "L.A. Girls and Ocean Boys", specifically the line "'Cause you've been with another man / there you are and here I am."[7] Lou Reed once told an interviewer that he felt Young had become a "great guitarist" during this period, specifically citing "Danger Bird" as an example.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Neil Young.

Side one[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Don't Cry No Tears" 2:34
2. "Danger Bird" 6:54
3. "Pardon My Heart" 3:49
4. "Lookin' for a Love" 3:17
5. "Barstool Blues" 3:02

Side two[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Stupid Girl" 3:13
2. "Drive Back" 3:32
3. "Cortez the Killer" 7:29
4. "Through My Sails" 2:41


Crazy Horse
  • Frank Sampedrorhythm guitar all tracks except "Pardon My Heart" and "Through My Sails"
  • Billy Talbotbass all tracks except "Pardon My Heart" and "Through My Sails"; backing vocals all tracks except "Through My Sails"
  • Ralph Molinadrums all tracks except "Pardon My Heart" and "Through My Sails"; backing vocals all tracks except "Through My Sails"



  1. ^ a b Ruhlman, William. Neil Young: Zuma > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 November 2005.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Neil Young: Zuma > Review". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 10 March 2006. 
  3. ^ Pitchfork review
  4. ^ RIAA database retrieved 23 August 2014
  5. ^ Rolling Stone song facts check retrieved 23 August 2014.
  6. ^ Songfacts website retrieved 23 August 2014
  7. ^ Jimmy McDonough. Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. New York: Random House, 2002, pp. 488-506. ISBN 0-679-42772-4
  8. ^ ThrashersWheat.org page: "Jammin' with Neil Young: Influences and Musical Collaborations; Other Artists."

External links[edit]