Crosby, Stills & Nash is the first album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, released in 1969 on the Atlantic Records label. It spawned two Top 40 hits, "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of October 25, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.
The album was a very strong debut for the band, instantly lifting them to stardom. Along with the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo and The Band's Music From Big Pink of the previous year, it helped initiate a sea change in popular music away from the ruling late sixties aesthetic of bands playing blues-based rock music on loud guitars. Crosby, Stills & Nash presented a new wrinkle in building upon rock's roots, utilizing folk, blues, and even jazz without specifically sounding like mere duplication. Not only blending voices, the three meshed their differing strengths, Crosby for social commentary and atmospheric mood pieces, Stills for his diverse musical skills and for folding folk and country elements subtly into complex rock structures, and Nash for his radio-friendly pop melodies, to create an amalgam of broad appeal. Eventually going multi-platinum, in addition to the above mentioned singles, Crosby, Stills & Nash features some of their best known songs in "Wooden Ships" and "Helplessly Hoping". "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" was composed for Judy Collins, and "Long Time Gone" was a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
This album proved very influential on many levels to the dominant popular music scene in America for much of the 1970s. The success of the album generated gravitas for the group within the industry, and galvanized interest in signing like acts, many of whom came under management and representation by the CSN team of Elliot Roberts and David Geffen. Strong sales, combined with the group's emphasis on personal confession in its writing, paved the way for the success of the singer-songwriter movement of the early seventies. Their utilization of personal events in their material without resorting to subterfuge, their talents in vocal harmony, their cultivation of painstaking studio craft, as well as the Laurel Canyon ethos that surrounded the group and their associates, established an aesthetic for a number of acts that came to define the "California" sound of the ensuing decade, including The Eagles, Jackson Browne, post-1974 Fleetwood Mac, and others.
Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is a folk rock supergroup made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, also known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) when joined by occasional fourth member Neil Young. They are noted for their intricate vocal harmonies (similar to Simon & Garfunkel), often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, political activism, and lasting influence on American music and culture. All four members of CSNY have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, though Young's multiple inductions were for work not involving the group.
Prior to the formation of CSN, each member of the band had belonged to another prominent group. David Crosby had performed rhythm guitar and vocals with folk-rock group The Byrds; Stephen Stills had been a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in the band Buffalo Springfield; and Graham Nash had been a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with The Hollies, one of the "British Invasion" acts.
Friction existed between David Crosby and his bandmates in the Byrds, and he was dismissed from the band in late 1967. By early 1968, Buffalo Springfield had also disintegrated over personal issues, and after aiding in putting together the band’s final album, Stephen Stills found himself unemployed by the summer. He and Crosby began meeting informally and jamming, and the result of one encounter in Florida on Crosby’s schooner was the song “Wooden Ships,” composed in collaboration with another guest, Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner.
It was 1969. I lucked out with the draft lottery. Went to work at a daily newspaper in NYC. Center of the action. A great education for a working-class kid. Was in the wire-room when the Kent State murders story came in, the old style AP teletype ringing away. This wasn't just an ordinary Urgent or Bulletin. This was a life-changing event for me anyway. The short-haired Kennedyist liberal would grow the hair long & adding a beard as a symbol of mourning. Friends & family & co-workers didn't know what the heck was going on at first. The kid must be smoking dope. That was very true.
The old middle-class values offering material security & a kind of empty happiness didn't seem to matter anymore. We were in the midst of the Wasteland of the Western World. It was an empire of the walking-dead. Fathers & mothers & daughters & & sons turned on each other.
Things fell apart. There'd be Peace alright. Peace through global thermonuclear war, so what was the point in concentrating on career & raising a family of my own? There wasn't going to be a world very soon. At least not one with human beings in it. Now we were killing our own children. The Vietnam War folly continued. The USA was in its decline despite the temporary revitalization of the reactionary Reagan 80s, a terrible horrible ugly time that's still with us.
The long slow bleed continues. The loveless land withers. The greedy hand moves behind the scenes. The Puritan Jerk Ethic stinks of a 100-billion decomposing murine corpses.
Prosperity for the few will bring nothing but social explosions in the very near future. The Romneyan referred-to 47% must include the free-market fundamentalists whose enterprises would go belly-up without reliance on Big Federal Government contracts. The little guys & gals must be kicked & stepped upon. Squished. Squashed. Eaten & crapped out into the water supply. Again the moribund Puritan Ethic works its suicidal ways. The crowd cheers. The individual is stunted. Look at their faces. Decrepit homunculii on their way to the cities of the plain.
Go east west north south. Sail to Imagination. Sail to the heart. Sail away, sailor. Away from sundown & the funereal Western Lands. Towards the sunrise of the New Sun. Where the Heart dies hard...& is reborn.
My Lady of the Island
Holding you close undisturbed before the fire
The pressure in my chest when you breath in my ear
We both knew this would happen when you first appeared
My lady of the island
The brownness of your body in the fire glow
Except the places where the sun refused to go
Our bodies were a perfect fit in afterglow
We lay, my lady of the island
Letting myself wander through the world inside your eyes
You know I'd like to stay here until every tear runs dry
My lady of the island
Wrapped around each other in the peeping sun
Beams of sunshine light the stage, the red light's on
I never want to finish what I've just begun with you
My lady of the island
-- song written by Graham Nash
1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes 00:00
2. Marrakesh Express 07:25
3. Guinnevere 10:05
4. You don´t have to cry 14:46
5. Pre-road downs 17:31
1. Wooden ships 20:33
2. Lady of the island 26:02
3. Helplessly hoping 28:42
4. Long time gone 31:24
5. 49 bye-byes 35:41