Music Bullies | The Hollywood Redux Podcast | Episode 108
Join the gang for another episode of The Hollywood Redux Podcast as they discuss their first concerts and we discover that Matt was a little bit of bully before he reformed.
Listen to the sweet tunes by pressing play:
About Crosby Still & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash were a folk rock supergroup made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby and Stephen Stills and English American singer-songwriter Graham Nash. They were known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young when joined by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, who was an occasional fourth member. They were noted for their intricate vocal harmonies, often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, political activism, and lasting influence on US music and culture. Crosby, Stills & Nash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and all three members were also inducted for their work in other groups (Crosby for the Byrds, Stills for Buffalo Springfield and Nash for the Hollies). Neil Young has also been inducted as a solo artist and as a member of Buffalo Springfield.
Formation and initial success:
Prior to the formation of CSN, each member of the band had belonged to another prominent group. David Crosby played guitar, sang and wrote songs with the Byrds; Stephen Stills had been a guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter in the band Buffalo Springfield (which also featured Neil Young); and Graham Nash had been a guitarist, singer and songwriter with The Hollies.
Due to internal friction, Crosby was dismissed from the Byrds in late 1967. By early 1968, Buffalo Springfield had disintegrated, and after aiding in putting together the band’s final album, Stills was unemployed. He and Crosby began meeting informally and jamming. 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.
Graham Nash had been introduced to Crosby when the Byrds had toured the United Kingdom in 1966, and when the Hollies ventured to California in 1968, Nash resumed his acquaintance with him. At a party in July 1968 at Joni Mitchell’s house, Nash asked Stills and Crosby to repeat their performance of a new song by Stills, “You Don’t Have To Cry”, with Nash improvising a third part harmony. The vocals gelled, and the three realized that they had a unique vocal chemistry.
Creatively frustrated with the Hollies, Nash decided to quit the band and work with Crosby and Stills. After an unsuccessful audition with The Beatles’ Apple Records, they were signed to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegün, who had been a fan of Buffalo Springfield and was disappointed by that band’s demise. From the outset, given their previous experiences, the trio decided not to be locked into a group structure. They used their surnames as identification to ensure independence and a guarantee that the band could not continue without one of them, unlike both the Byrds and the Hollies. They picked up a management team in Elliot Roberts and David Geffen, who got them signed to Atlantic and would help to consolidate clout for the group in the industry. Roberts kept the band focused and dealt with egos, while Geffen handled the business deals, since, in Crosby’s words, they needed a “shark” and Geffen was it.
Stills was already signed to Atlantic Records through his Buffalo Springfield contract. Crosby had been released from his Byrds deal with Columbia, as he was considered to be unimportant and too difficult to work with. Nash, however, was still signed to Epic Records through The Hollies. Ertegun worked out a deal with Clive Davis to essentially trade Nash to Atlantic in exchange for Richie Furay (who was also signed to Atlantic by virtue of his membership in Buffalo Springfield) and Poco, his new band.
The trio’s first album, Crosby, Stills & Nash, was released in May 1969. The eponymously titled album was a major hit in the United States, peaking at #6 on the Billboard album chart during a 107-week stay that spawned two Top 40 hits (“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” [#21] and “Marrakesh Express” [#28]) and significant airplay on FM radio. The album ultimately earned a RIAA triple platinum certification in 1999 and quadruple platinum certification in 2001. With the exceptions of drummer Dallas Taylor and a handful of rhythm and acoustic guitar parts from Crosby and Nash, Stills (accorded the moniker “Captain Many Hands” by his bandmates) handled most of the instrumentation (including every lead guitar, bass and keyboard part) on the album, which left the band in need of additional personnel to be able to tour, a necessity given the debut album’s commercial impact.