The song was written in July 1975 with friend and La Honda neighbor Taylor Phelps in the back of his car, (a DeSoto Suburban), when Neil Young was unable to sing because of an operation on his vocal cords. Driven by Young's trademark fierce guitars, the song has been played on nearly every tour Neil Young has done since. It has also appeared on the compilations Decadeand Greatest Hits and on the live albums Live Rust, Weld and Unplugged (this last rendition is played almost entirely on a pump organ).
An edited version of "Like a Hurricane" was released as a single on August 8, 1977, with "Hold Back the Tears" as B-side.
Recorded for music release
- Roxy Music released two live versions, one on the 1983 EP The High Road and a second on Heart Still Beating.
- The song was also covered by The Mission on their second single "Garden of Delight". It was later included on the album The First Chapter (a compilation of their first singles) and Ever After - Live.
- Jay Farrar, backed by country-rock band Canyon, covered this song on his live album Stone, Steel, & Bright Lights.
- Heather Nova recorded the song at a 1995 concert in Hiroshima, released on import-only CDs Maybe An Angel (Japan) and Truth & Bone (Germany).
- Jeff Healey covered the song on his 2008 album Mess of Blues.
- The Coal Porters covered the song on the 2010 album Durango.
- Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings perform the song on their album of cover songs "Bachman-Cummings Jukebox" released 2008
- Adam Sandler covered the song on the 2009 album Covered, A Revolution in Sound, of Warner Brothers artists performing cover songs. He also performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman, to promote the release.
- Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit covered the song on the 2012 album Live From Alabama.
Recorded for film release
- New Orleans singer Theresa Andersson sings it in the 2006 film New Orleans Music in Exile which follows the events after Hurricane Katrina.
Other known performances
- Placebo covered a part of the song on a few occasions (live) as a part of the Placebo song 'English Summer Rain'.
- City and Colour covered the song to end their performance at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music Festival.
- Widespread Panic performed the song at a 2010 concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta, Georgia.