"Triad" is a song written by David Crosby in 1967 about a ménage à trois, a subject perfectly in keeping with the "free love" hippie philosophies of the day. The song was written while Crosby was a member of the rockbandThe Byrds, who were at that time recording their fifth studio album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Although the band did record "Triad" and perform it live during a September 1967 engagement at the Whisky a Go Go, it was not included on The Notorious Byrd Brothers album. According to Crosby, this was due to lead guitaristRoger McGuinn and bass playerChris Hillman feeling that its subject-matter was too controversial, with McGuinn in particular allegedly deriding the song as a "freak-out orgy tune." However, this has since been denied by Hillman who has stated "I don't think it was a moral decision. The song just didn't work that well. David was drifting and bored and wanted to do something else, and that song just added fuel to the fire."
There had been growing animosity between Crosby and the rest of the band throughout 1967, with events finally coming to a head during the recording sessions for The Notorious Byrd Brothers. These tensions had arisen as a result of several factors, including Crosby's displeasure over the band's wish to record the Goffin–King composition "Goin' Back", his fraternization with fellow L.A. musicians, and his controversial remarks to the audience during The Byrds' performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Ultimately, these factors, along with the discord surrounding "Triad", contributed to McGuinn and Hillman's decision to fire Crosby from the band during October 1967. Crosby eventually gave the song to Jefferson Airplane, who recorded it on their 1968 album, Crown of Creation. A live recording of "Triad" was later included on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1971 album, 4 Way Street.