Like most everyone else, I'd have to say it would be pretty tough to pick a favorite song/album. Songs that readily come to mind though...Out on the weekend, Everybody knows..., A man needs a maid, just for the sheer "Neilness" of it. I mean, who hasn't fallen in love with an actress 'cos she 'was playin' a part I could understand'? Needle and the Damage done, Powderfinger, Sedan Delivery, Why do I keep fuckin up? and the list could go on and on.
As for albums, I would have to put Everybody knows, Harvest, Rust (studio and Live), After the goldrush, Old Ways, This note's for you, Greendale and Mirrorball on any 'favorite list'. Just off the top of my head
I think I would have to agree with a previous post, that the song or album that one is currently digging on has alot to do with where you are at that moment in life. In my opinion Neil is one of those very rare artist that can really speak to you in a very personal way, speak to you on a level that he probably never intended, but still manages to reach you. For me, Jerry and Dylan are the only other artist that have every really done that for me. Maybe Jackson Browne's first 3 or 4 albums as well.
As far as his impact, I know nothing about Canada, but I think in general it says something that he has a universal appeal across all ages. I'm 33 and have been listening to neil all my life, through my dad. My 23 year old brother is and has been for many years a fan...23 to 33 to 53. I dunno, that says alot to me
Goin' home, goin' home
By the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul