Zuma (album)

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Neil Young-Zuma.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 10, 1975
RecordedJune 16, 1974 – August 29, 1975
StudioBroken Arrow Ranch, Redwood City, CA and Pt. Dume, CA
GenreHard rock, folk rock, country rock, roots rock[1]
ProducerNeil 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
AllMusic4.5/5 stars [1]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[2]

Zuma is the seventh studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released on Reprise Records in November 1975. Co-credited to Crazy Horse, it includes "Cortez the Killer," one of Young's best-known songs. Upon release, it peaked at #25 on the Billboard 200. In 1997, the album received a RIAA gold certification.[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 remained stable until 2018 when Sampedro decided to take a break from touring and Nils Lofgren was recruited to play guitar for the live shows[5].


Zuma was the first album released after the famed Ditch Trilogy, comprising the albums Time Fades Away, 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."[6] 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.[7]

"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."[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Neil Young.

Side one
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
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"

Additional musicians


  1. ^ a b Ruhlman, William. Neil Young: Zuma > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 November 2005.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: Y". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ "Neil Young / Crazy Horse: Time Fades Away/Zuma Album Review - Pitchfork". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". Riaa.com. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  5. ^ https://ultimateclassicrock.com/nils-lofgren-frank-poncho-sampedro-crazy-horse-2018/
  6. ^ Stone, Rolling (23 February 2011). "RS Fact-Checks Famous Rock Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Cortez the Killer by Neil Young Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  8. ^ Jimmy McDonough. Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. New York: Random House, 2002, pp. 488-506. ISBN 0-679-42772-4

External links[edit]