Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

  • Folk rock supergroup formed in 1968 from Los Angeles California. Members were David Crosby (vocals, songwriting, guitars), Stephen Stills (vocals, songwriting, guitars, keyboards), Graham Nash (vocals, songwriting, guitars), and Neil Young (vocals, songwriting, guitars, harmonica).
  • Each member was part of a prominent band before forming CSN&Y. Crosby was a member of The Byrds, Stills and Young were part of Buffalo Springfield, and Nash was a member of The Hollies. Crosby was fired from The Byrds, and Stills was unattached after Buffalo Springfield split up. They started jamming together. Nash had met Crosby in England when The Byrds toured there, and Nash got re-acquainted when The Hollies toured in California. At a party, he asked Crosby and Stills to sing a new song by Stills – You Don’t Have To Cry – and Nash joined them, improvising a third-part harmony. They sounded great, and as Nash was already frustrated with The Hollies, he quit and joined the other two to form Crosby, Stills & Nash.
  • They signed a record deal in 1968, and they released their debut album, the self titled Crosby, Stills & Nash, in 1969. It was a major success, peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and remaining on the chart for more than 2 years. Two singles were top 30 hits – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and Marrakesh Express – and the album ultimately sold over 4 million copies in the U.S. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes was written by Stills, and it is about his love and ultimate break-up with singer/songwriter Judy Collins. It is ranked #426 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • In 1969, Neil Young was brought into the group. Stills and Nash had reservations, but after several meetings, he was made a full partner, while retaining his freedom to maintain his career with his new band, Crazy Horse. Their second show as CSN&Y was at Woodstock. Their first album as a quartet, Déjà Vu, was released in 1970. It topped the Billboard 200 chart, and ultimately was certified 7x platinum. The album is #147 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Hit singles from the album were Woodstock, Teach Your Children and Our House.
  • Later that year, soon after the shootings at Kent State University, Young wrote the protest song Ohio, which was quickly released as a single without an album. The song peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s #395 on the Rolling Stone list of Greatest Songs.
  • After the success of Déjà Vu, the members of the band clashed over many issues. They went on hiatus, and concentrated on solo recordings. In 1974, the quartet re-assembled for a summer tour – while successful, it was a haze of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and the group split again after the tour.
  • It would be 3 more years before the group would release another album – without Neil Young. In 1977, CSN was released, featuring the singles Just A Song Before I Go – their highest charting single, peaking at #7 – and Fair Game. The album was a bit  more soft rock compared to their earlier work, and as usual, it featured their amazing harmony vocals. It sold over 4 million copies in the U.S., and peaked at #2 on the album chart.
  • In 1982, CS&N released Daylight Again. The project was really a Stills and Nash project – Crosby was brought in late only because the record company refused to reimburse expenses unless Crosby was included. The album includes vocals from Timothy B. Schmit (of Eagles fame) as well as Art Garfunkel. The singles Wasted On the Way and Southern Cross were top 20 songs.
  • Four more studio albums were released between 1988 and 1999. Two of these albums included Young. Since 2000, they had concert tours in 2000, 2002 and 2006, and in later years they have toured without Young. They remain generally pissed off at one another, though they have not ruled out a reunion sometime in the future.
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Young is also inducted, though not as part of CS&N – rather, he is inducted as a solo artist, as well as a member of Buffalo Springfield. Crosby is also inducted as a member of The Byrds; Stills is also inducted as a member of Buffalo Springfield (inducted the same night in 1997 as CS&N was inducted); and Nash is also inducted as a member of The Hollies.
  • If you love harmony, this band is at the top of the mountain, amongst the greatest of all time. Give a listen to them. Note – the live clips on YouTube are not good. Their harmony in the studio is soooo much better than the concert clips. As such, I’ve linked a YouTube clip of the studio version of their song Carry On, where you can hear their amazing harmony.

     

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