Nash & Young
This is a direct excerpt from UNCLE JOE'S RECORD GUIDE - AMERICANS, Volume One, Copyright (c) 1989 by J. Benson Unlimited. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was the first American super-group of the Seventies - successfully established by four well-known, accomplished rock & roll artists. The band was structured in such a way as to give each individual member the freedom to pursue solo projects without jeopardizing the group. The magic of their harmonies, melodies and instrumentation touched millions, and their beautiful songs became permanently imbedded in the memories of a generation. They sold millions of albums and inspired musicians throughout the Seventies.
CSN&Y started with a sophisticated continuation of the musical direction of the Buffalo Springfield, Byrds and Hollies - three and four-part vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars played under searing electric solos and intense lyrical treatments. By the time their third album, the live 4-Way Street, was released, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had splintered to do solo projects. The four principle members worked together in various combinations over the next 17 years. Although they re-united once for a huge tour in 1974, their volatile personalities kept them from recording together as a quartet until 1988.
While each member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young produced magic moments working in various combinations or as solo artists, the special magic of the four singing and playing together has never been duplicated in the history of rock & roll.
CSN&Y Birth Dates
David Crosby - August 14, 1941Crosby, Stills & Nash - Side One
Graham Nash - February 2, 1942
Stephen Stills - January 3, 1945
Neil Young - November 12, 1945
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash (21-21)
1st LP, released 5/2969. Stephen Stills and David Crosby had been close friends since David's group the Byrds had helped Stephen's band Buffalo Springfield get started. As Buffalo Springfield was breaking up in early 1968, the 23-year-old Stills started writing songs with Crosby, who was 26. In June, the 26-year-old Graham Nash was planning on leaving the Hollies when he first met and sang with the other two in Los Angeles. (Graham and David remember that first performance being at Joni Mitchell's Laurel Canyon home; Stills swears at was in the kitchen at Mama Cass Elliot's house.) Encouraged by producer Paul Rothchild (who'd been working with the Doors and Janis Joplin), the trio recorded a five-song demo in New York on a single day in August 1968. The next morning, Graham returned to England. Soon, Crosby and Stills joined Nash in London to write more songs and extract him from the Hollies. Those songwriting sessions and the musicians' interpersonal relationships progressed extremely well. Within six months of recording their demo, Nash officially joined forces with Crosby and Stills, and the three signed a lucrative record contract.
The trio rehearsed in a house owned by their friend John Sebastian (of the Lovin' Spoonful) in Sag Harbor, Long Island during January 1969. They started recording the following month. Stills played virtually all of the instruments on this album except drums-which were handled by Dallas Taylor (of the Clear Light band)-and some rhythm guitar that David Crosby strummed. The engineering was done by Bill Halverson (who'd also worked with the Rolling Stones) and all three principals shared the production job. Partway through the sessions, the group finally decided to call themselves Crosby, Stills & Nash - to emphasize that they were three individuals.
The trio realized that they needed additional musicians to tour, so just before this album was released, they approached Stills' old Buffalo Springfield partners, guitarist Neil Young and bassist Bruce Palmer. Palmer was soon replaced by session man Greg Reeves (who'd worked with the Temptations), and Young agreed to become a full partner.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's first gig was at the Chicago Auditorium with Joni Mitchell opening. Their second public performance was in front of 500,000 hippies at the Woodstock Festival a month after this album was released. By the release of their second album seven months later, CSN&Y had become the biggest, most influential and successful American group of the early Seventies.
This debut album was on every radio station turntable throughout the summer and fall of 1969 and earned Crosby, Stills & Nash the Best New Artist Grammy Award for that year. It charted at #6 and sold over two million copies by October, when CSN&Y went into the studio to record their follow-up, Deja Vu. This effort has aged very well, and the clarity of the compact disc enhances the sterling instrumental work by Stills and the intricate vocal work by David, Graham and Stephen.
- "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes was written by Stephen Stills for his girlfriend, singer Judy Collins. An edited version of this song reached #21 on the singles charts in October 1969. "Long Time Gone" was used as the B-side.
- Graham Nash wrote "Marrakesh Express" while in Morocco. His band, the Hollies attempted to record it, but failed miserably. CSN recorded "Marrakesh Express" before the rest of the album. The drumming was supplied by Jim Gordon (who then went to work with Eric Clapton in Derek & The Dominos). As CSN's first single release, "Marrakesh Express" hit #28 on the American charts in July and #17 in the U.K. in September. Because it gave the group a good laugh, David Crosby's gibberish was left at the beginning of this album track. "Helplessly Hoping" was used as the flipside.
- Crosby's girlfriend, Christine Hinton, provided the inspiration for "Guinnevere." This was one of the songs included on CSN's first demo.
- "You Don't Have To Cry" was another Stills composition inspired by Judy Collins. The trio also recorded this for their first demo. Graham said he knew he had to work with Crosby and Stills when they first sang him their early rendition of this song. Graham and David remember that first performance being at Joni Mitchell's Laurel Canyon home; Stills swears at was in the kitchen at Mama Cass Elliot's house.
- Cass Elliot (of The Mamas & Papas) provided some backing vocals on "Pre-Road Downs," a Graham Nash tune. Stills recorded the backwards-guitar part in the early morning hours when everyone else had gone out for a burger.
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Side Two
- "Wooden Ships" was co-written by Paul Kantner (of the Jefferson Airplane), David Crosby and Stephen Stills a month before forming CSN. Although contractual problems prevented Kantner from receiving a writing credit or royalties for this until 1993, the Airplane later recorded their own version.
- "Lady Of The Island" a Graham Nash song, was recorded on the first take. Graham's previous band, the Hollies, had refused to record this.
- "Helplessly Hoping" a Stills song, was one of the five tracks the trio recorded for their first demo.
- Crosby wrote "Long Time Gone" the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles (June 6, 1968). This was another track included on the group's first demo.
- "49 Bye-Byes" was a compilation of two Stephen Stills songs, "49 Reasons" and "Bye Bye Baby." This was also part of the first demo that secured their record deal.