Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is a folk rock supergroup made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
They are known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) when joined by occasional fourth member Neil Young. They are noted for their intricate vocal harmonies, often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, political activism, and lasting influence on US music and culture. All four members of CSNY have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, though Young’s 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 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 jelled, 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 failing an 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 from having been in Buffalo Springfield) and his new band Poco.
Atlantic Records 1983
Tracks: War Games, Dark Star, Barrel Of Pain, Raise A Voice, Shadow Captain, For What It’s Worth, Wasted On The Way, Blackbird, He Played Real Good For Free & Turn Your Back On Love.
Musicians on the Allies album: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Craig Doerge, Mike Finnigan, Danny Kortchmar, Joe Lala, James Newton Howard, George Perry, Jeff Porcaro, Michael Stergis, Efrain Toro & Joe Vitale.
Atlantic Records 1982
Tracks: Turn Your Back On Love, Wasted On The Way, Southern Cross, Into The Darkness, Delta, Since I Met You, Too Much Love To Hide, Song For Susan, You Are Alive, Might As Well Have A Good Time & Daylight Again.
Musicians on the Daylight Again album: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Roberleigh Barnhart, Richard T. Bear, Joel Bernstein, Craig Doerge, Ernie Ehrhardt, Jay Ferguson, Mike Finnigan, Art Garfunkel, Bob Glaub, Wayne Goodwin, Russ Kunkel, Joe Lala, Miguel Martinez, Dean Parks, George Perry, Jeff Porcaro, Timothy B. Schmit, Lee Sklar, Michael Stergis, Gerry Tolman & Joe Vitale.
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Atlantic Records 1977
Tracks: Shadow Captain, See The Changes, Carried Away, Fair Game, Anything At All, Cathedral, Dark Star, Just A Song Before I Go, Run From Tears, Cold Rain, In My Dreams & I Give You Give Blind.
Musicians on the Crosby, Stills & Nash album: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Ray Barretto, Craig Doerge, Tim Drummond, Mike Finnigan, Jimmy Haslip, Gerald Johnson, Russ Kunkel, George Perry & Joe Vitale.