Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash

ON THIS DATE (43 YEARS AGO)
May 29, 1969 – Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# Allmusic 5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Crosby, Stills & Nash is the eponymous first album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, releasedon this date in May 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 abovementioned 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.
REVIEW
It was big news in 1969 when former key members of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the Hollies–three of the finest bands of the ’60s–splintered off to form their own trio. Despite their already-proven talents, few could have imagined the gossamer vocal blend that would become the trademark of supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash. The band’s debut effectively provided the soundtrack to the summer of ’69.
For his part, Steve Stills keeps exploring the progressive folk-rock sound that he’d pioneered with Buffalo Springfield; signature tune “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is an expansive, multi-section affair that makes full use of the group’s vocal skills. Fresh from the Hollies, Graham Nash adds an accessible pop sensibility, epitomized by the effervescent ditty “Marrakesh Express.” David Crosby, always the wild card in the Byrds, here adds rough edges and flashes of mystery with his cutting protest rocker “Long Time Gone” and the exquisite art-folk of “Guinnevere.” With this kind of firepower under its belt, it’s no wonder CSN quickly became one of the biggest groups of their era.
One of the most enduring musical partnerships of our time, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Crosby, Stills & Nash are revered for their peerless vocal harmonies, inspired songwriting and musical virtuosity. When the trio first sang together at a friend’s Laurel Canyon house in 1968, their uncanny harmonic convergence was immediately apparent, and CSN took shape. Each member came to the new venture from other high-profile bands-Crosby from the Byrds, Stills from Buffalo Springfield, and Nash from the Hollies-and together, they formed that rarest of musical entities, a “supergroup” that lived up to its billing. CSN’s 1969 self-titled debut album is one of the true masterpieces of the rock ‘n’ roll canon, and 1982’s Daylight Again is a brilliant portrait of their musical evolution. Still touring and recording together, CSN is an American treasure.
TRACKS:
Side one             
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Stills) – 7:25          
Marrakesh Express (Nash) – 2:39             
Guinnevere (Crosby) – 4:40       
You Don’t Have to Cry (Stills) – 2:45         
Pre-Road Downs (Nash) – 3:01 
               
Side two             
Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills, Paul Kantner [uncredited]) – 5:29
Lady of the Island (Nash) – 2:39
Helplessly Hoping (Stills) – 2:41 
Long Time Gone (Crosby) – 4:17               
49 Bye-Byes (Stills) – 5:16            
               
2006 Expanded Edition 
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Stills) – 7:24          
Marrakesh Express (Nash) – 2:38             
Guinnevere (Crosby) – 4:39       
You Don’t Have to Cry (Stills) – 2:44         
Pre-Road Downs (Nash) – 2:57 
Wooden Ships (Crosby, Paul Kantner, Stills) – 5:27           
Lady of the Island (Nash) – 2:38
Helplessly Hoping (Stills) – 2:41 
Long Time Gone (Crosby) – 4:17               
49 Bye-Byes (Stills) – 5:12            
Do for the Others (Stills) – 2:49 – Stills & Nash     
Song with No Words (Tree with No Leaves) [New Remix] (Crosby) – 3:18 – Crosby & Nash            
Everybody’s Talkin’ (Fred Neil) – 3:14     

Teach Your Children (Nash) – 3:14 – Crosby & Nash

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Filed under 1969, Atlantic Records, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Steven Stills

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