Southern Cross (Crosby, Stills and Nash song)

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"Southern Cross"
Single by Crosby, Stills & Nash
from the album Daylight Again
Released June 21, 1982
Recorded 1981
Genre Rock
Length 4:41
Label Atlantic Records
Writer(s) Stephen Stills
Rick Curtis
Michael Curtis
Producer(s) Crosby, Stills and Nash
Audio sample
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"Southern Cross" is a song written by Stephen Stills, Rick Curtis and Michael Curtis and performed by the rock band Crosby, Stills & Nash. It was released in 1982 on the band's Daylight Again album. Stephen Stills sings lead vocals throughout, with Graham Nash joining the second verse. Because David Crosby did not rejoin the band until the album was already underway, his vocals are not featured on the album version of the song, although he is featured in the video and subsequently sang the song with the group in live versions.

The song, which peaked at #18, is about a man who sails the world following a failed love affair. During the voyage, the singer takes comfort in sailing ("We got eighty feet of waterline. / Nicely making way."), in the beauty of the sea, and particularly in the Southern Cross, a constellation by which sailors in the Southern Hemisphere have traditionally navigated (the Southern Cross is not visible from most of the Northern hemisphere, the more tropical latitudes being the exception). But his final consolation is music ("I have my ship / And all her flags are a flyin' / She is all that I have left / And music is her name."). The video for the song, which got heavy play on the early MTV network, featured Stephen Stills sailing a large boat (called Southern Cross), intercut with images of the band singing.[1]

Southern Cross is based on the song "Seven League Boots" by Rick and Michael Curtis. Stills explained, "The Curtis Brothers brought a wonderful song called 'Seven League Boots,' but it drifted around too much. I rewrote a new set of words and added a different chorus, a story about a long boat trip I took after my divorce. It's about using the power of the universe to heal your wounds. Once again, I was given somebody's gem and cut and polished it."[2][3]

Original recording[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

"Southern Cross" has also been covered by:


The song mentions a number of locations that one may visit on a sailing voyage from Southern California to the South Pacific, following the "Coconut Milk Run".[4] In order of appearance in the song (and reverse order of the sailor's southwestward journey), they are:


  1. ^
  2. ^ CSN Boxed Set
  3. ^ "Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills & Nash". Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "A starlit revel on the Coconut Milk Run". Retrieved 3 October 2011.