Crosby, Stills & Nash

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in 2006
Left to right: Nash, Stills, Young and Crosby
Background information
Also known as Crosby, Stills & Nash
Origin California, United States
Genres Rock, folk rock
Years active 1968–1970, 1974, 1977–present
Labels Atlantic, Reprise
Associated acts Crosby & Nash, The Stills-Young Band, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, The Hollies
Website csny.com
crosbystillsnash.com
Members
David Crosby
Stephen Stills
Graham Nash
Neil Young

Crosby, Stills & Nash are an American musical supergroup (an all-star rock band). Its members are David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash. Their name is abbreviated as CSN. They are sometimes joined by Canadian musician Neil Young, and call themselves Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (or CSN&Y) when he was with them. Their songs include "Marrakesh Express", "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", "Teach Your Children", "Ohio" (a protest song, against the Kent State shootings in early 1970), and "Just A Song Before I Go".

Coming together[change | change source]

In the 1960s, Stephen Stills and Neil Young were members of another band, called the Buffalo Springfield. Crosby was a founding member of The Byrds, and British-born Graham Nash was a member of The Hollies. Crosby was fired from the Byrds late in 1967, and the Buffalo Springfield disbanded the next year. Nash went to California, where the others lived and worked, when the Hollies visited there in 1968. Nash and Crosby had met earlier in England, and got back in touch in California. Crosby and Stills had worked together on two songs, called "Wooden Ships" and "You Don't Have To Cry". Performing "You Don't Have To Cry" for Nash, he joined in on harmonies, and the three noticed they had a special sound together. Nash moved to California, and the three formed a band. They signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records.

Stills and Crosby were free to work together, and record for Atlantic, but Nash still belonged to the Hollies, who had a contract with Epic Records. A trade was worked out, between Atlantic and Epic. In exchange for losing Nash, Epic Records got to sign up another Atlantic band, Poco, formed by Richie Furay from the Buffalo Springfield.

CSN's first album was released in the spring of 1969, and quickly became a hit. The cover showed Crosby, Stills and Nash sitting on a couch outside an abandoned house. (They did not sit in their name order; they had not yet named the group. When they decided on their name, they wanted to take another picture sitting in order, but the house had already been torn down.) Stephen Stills had played most of the instruments on the album, with Dallas Taylor playing drums. This worked fine for recordings, but not for live appearances. More musicians were needed. A keyboardist and bass guitarist were hired.

Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun suggested Neil Young, who now had his own band called Crazy Horse, as another guitarist for the group. Stills wasn't sure if Young would work out, but gave him a chance. He fit in so well that CSN made him a full-time member, and added his name to theirs. Young was able to both play with CSN, and keep his own place with Crazy Horse. Their second show as a quartet was at the Woodstock Festival, in August 1969. They toured for the next several months, and released a second album, Déjà Vu, early the next year. They made another performing tour, to support the album, which was also a huge hit.

Coming apart[change | change source]

The group was very successful, but its members had many different ideas, and could not always work well together. Tension grew between them, and they nearly disbanded. Young left to return to Crazy Horse, and tour with them on his own. Each of the four recorded a solo album during 1971, though, and each album became a hit. Nash and Crosby toured together, and Stills formed another band, called Manassas, with Chris Hillman of the Byrds. Another round of solo and duo albums was released during 1972, with Young's Harvest and its single "Heart Of Gold" becoming the biggest hits. Albums by the other members were not as successful, though they still sold well. Crosby and Nash got along very well, and worked together as a duo, while Stills joined Young and Crazy Horse to record Young's "War Song". Crosby also rejoined the Byrds, but the album they recorded together, Byrds, was not a hit.

The four tried to reunite in Hawaii during 1973 to make a new album, Human Highway, but things did not work out. Finally the next year, they reformed and started another tour, with a compilation album, So Far, issued to give them something new to promote. Their shows ran longer than three hours, and there was sometimes trouble. Stills was abusing cocaine, and it made him hard to get along with. The same old tensions also came back. A new CSN&Y project was dashed when Stills and Young erased Crosby and Nash's vocals from the master tapes. Crosby and Nash went off on their own. Stills and Young formed The Stills/Young Band, and released an album, but even that did not work out.

Stills and Young toured together during 1975 and 1976. In July 1976, Young left suddenly between shows, sending Stills a telegram that expressed his unhappiness, and told Stills to "Eat a peach." Stills and Young each had to complete tour dates separately. Meanwhile, Nash and Crosby kept recording and performing together. They also sang background vocals for other artists, including James Taylor ("Mexico") and Joni Mitchell ("Free Man In Paris").

Back together[change | change source]

During one of their shows, Crosby and Nash were joined onstage by Stills, to perform "Teach Your Children". The three worked things out, and reformed their trio. CSN was released in 1977, and "Just A Song Before I Go" became a new hit single.

In the next years, the trio worked together off and on, and also as solo artists. Young's music had become very different from that of the other band members, and he mostly worked with Crazy Horse, but he did collaborate now and then with CSN. Crosby had his own cocaine problems during the 1980s, and ended up serving a prison sentence. He was able to stop abusing cocaine, as Stills had earlier. CSN's later songs included "Wasted On The Way". Nash rejoined the Hollies for a reunion album in 1984, and played shows with them, but the reunion was not a success.

CSN played in Berlin, Germany at the time the Berlin Wall was torn down, at the end of the 1980s. They also played shows during the 1990s and early 2000s, and their 2000 tour was called the "CSNY2K" tour. They recorded other albums, but they were not nearly the hits their early ones had been, and they worked with outside writers, instead of writing all their own songs. Atlantic Records cancelled their contract.

Crosby, Stills and Nash still work together and apart, with Crosby and Nash having the longest and strongest partnership. Neil Young continues on as a solo artist, with and without Crazy Horse, exploring many different kinds of music.