Crosby, Stills & Nash (album)

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Crosby, Stills & Nash
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 29, 1969
RecordedFebruary–March, 1969
StudioWally Heider's Studio III
Los Angeles, CA
GenreFolk rock, soft rock, blues rock
ProducerCrosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash chronology
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Déjà Vu
Singles from Crosby, Stills & Nash
  1. "Marrakesh Express"
    Released: 1969
  2. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"
    Released: September 1969

Crosby, Stills & Nash is the first album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, released in 1969 on the Atlantic Records label. It spawned two Top 40 hit singles, "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of December 6, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It has been certified four times platinum by the RIAA for sales of 4,000,000.[1]


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-1960s 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, David Crosby for social commentary and atmospheric mood pieces, Stephen Stills for his diverse musical skills and for folding folk and country elements subtly into complex rock structures, and Graham Nash for his radio-friendly pop melodies, to create an amalgam of broad appeal. The album features some of their best known songs: "Helplessly Hoping"; Crosby's response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy "Long Time Gone"; Stills' lament for Judy Collins "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"; and "Wooden Ships," a collaboration between Crosby and Stills as well as Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane.

Stills dominated the recording of the album. Crosby and Nash played guitar on their own songs respectively, while drummer Dallas Taylor played on four tracks and drummer Jim Gordon on a fifth. Stills played all the bass, organ, and lead guitar parts, as well as acoustic guitar on his own songs.[2] "The other guys won't be offended when I say that one was my baby, and I kind of had the tracks in my head," Stills said.[3] Even with this dominance, Stills does not appear on the tracks "Guinnevere" and "Lady of the Island," both featuring Crosby and Nash only and an inadvertent precursor of their partnership on record and stage during the 1970s.[4]

David Crosby bristled over the plan for "Long Time Gone" as he thought he should at least play rhythm guitar on his own song. Stills convinced him to go home for a while and when he returned Crosby was won over by the music track that Stills and Taylor had recorded.[5] In a more recent interview, Crosby contradicted his earlier statement, stating that he had played guitar on the track.[6] He is so credited in the liner notes to the 1991 box set.[7]

The group performed songs from the album at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. In late 1969 the group appeared with Neil Young on the Tom Jones TV show and performed "Long Time Gone" with Tom Jones sharing vocals.[8]

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 respect for the group within the industry and galvanized interest in signing similar 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 1970s. 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.

The album has been issued on compact disc three times: mastered by Barry Diament at Atlantic Studios in the mid-1980s;[9] remastered by Joe Gastwirt at Ocean View Digital and reissued on August 16, 1994; reissued again by Rhino Records as an expanded edition using the HDCD process on January 24, 2006. On December 6, 2011, a gold compact disc edition of the album was released on the Audio Fidelity label.


On the cover the members are, left to right, Nash, Stills, and Crosby, the reverse of the order of the album title. The photo was taken by their friend and photographer Henry Diltz before they came up with a name for the group. They found an abandoned house with an old, battered sofa outside, located at 815 Palm Avenue, West Hollywood, across from the Santa Palm car wash that they thought would be a perfect fit for their image. A few days later they decided on the name "Crosby, Stills, and Nash". To prevent confusion, they went back to the house a day or so later to re-shoot the cover in the correct order, but when they got there they found the house had been reduced to a pile of timber.[10]

Dallas Taylor can be seen looking through the window of the door on the rear of the sleeve.[11] In the expanded edition, however, he is absent. The original vinyl LP was released in a gatefold sleeve that depicted the band members in large fur parkas with a sunset in the background on the gatefold (shot in Big Bear, California[12]), as well as the iconic cover art. A long folded page inside displayed the album credits, lyrics, track listing, as well as a quasi-psychedelic pencil drawing.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[14]
The Village VoiceB+[15]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[16]

In a contemporary review, Rolling Stone critic Barry Franklin called Crosby, Stills & Nash "an eminently playable record" and "especially satisfying work", finding the songwriting and vocal harmonies particularly exceptional.[17] Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic in The New York Times, writing that "[Crosby, Stills & Nash] is as perfect as has been expected. But it also demonstrates the dangers of perfection: the wildness that should liberate great rock is so well-controlled that when it appears (as on Nash's excellent 'Pre-Road Downs') it seems to have been inserted just to prove the music is rock: the only exception is Crosby's wailing vocal on 'Long Time Gone.'"[18] In his capsule-review column for The Village Voice, he jokingly said the vocal saves the album from "a special castrati award".[15]

In a retrospective review, Jason Akeny of AllMusic believed some of the songs' themes "haven't dated well" but "the harmonies are absolutely timeless, and the best material remains rock-solid".[13] In 2003 and 2012, Rolling Stone ranked Crosby, Stills & Nash number 262 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[19]. It was voted number 83 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). [20]

Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner was finally credited as co-composer of "Wooden Ships" on the expanded edition reissue, something long acknowledged on his group's version of the song from their Volunteers album, released the same year.[21] David Crosby singing an excerpt of "Come On in My Kitchen" between "Long Time Gone" and "49 Bye-Byes" was left off the 2006 expanded reissue at the request of the late Robert Johnson's estate.[citation needed]

Grammy awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1970 Crosby, Stills & Nash (performer) Best New Artist Won

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"Stephen StillsStills7:25
2."Marrakesh Express"Graham NashNash2:39
3."Guinnevere"David CrosbyCrosby with Nash4:40
4."You Don't Have to Cry"Stephen StillsStills with Crosby & Nash2:45
5."Pre-Road Downs"Graham NashNash2:56
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Wooden Ships"David Crosby, Paul Kantner, Stephen StillsCrosby with Stills5:29
2."Lady of the Island"Graham NashNash2:39
3."Helplessly Hoping"Stephen StillsStills with Crosby & Nash2:41
4."Long Time Gone"David CrosbyCrosby with Stills4:17
5."49 Bye-Byes"Stephen StillsStills5:16
2006 bonus tracks
11."Do for the Others"Stephen StillsStills and Nash demo2:49
12."Song with No Words (Tree with No Leaves)"David CrosbyCrosby and Nash3:18
13."Everybody's Talkin'"Fred NeilStills with Crosby and Nash on harmonies3:14
14."Teach Your Children"Graham NashNash and Crosby demo3:14


  • David Crosby – vocals; guitars on "Guinnevere"; rhythm guitar on "Wooden Ships" and "Long Time Gone"[6]
  • Stephen Stills – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion all tracks except "Guinnevere" and "Lady of the Island"
  • Graham Nash – vocals; rhythm guitar on "Marrakesh Express" and "Pre-Road Downs"; acoustic guitar on "Lady of the Island"
  • Dallas Taylor – drums on "Pre-Road Downs," "Wooden Ships," "Long Time Gone," and "49 Bye-Byes"
  • Jim Gordon – drums on "Marrakesh Express"[22]
  • Cass Elliot – backing vocals on "Pre-Road Downs"[23]



Chart performance for Crosby, Stills & Nash
Chart (1969) Peak


US Billboard 200[24] 6
US Billboard Black Albums[24] 35
UK Album Charts[25] 25
Canadian RPM 100 Albums[26] 2
Australian Go-Set Top 20 Albums[27] 10
Dutch MegaCharts Albums[28] 2
US Cash Box Top 100 Albums[29] 5
US Record World Album Chart[30] 5

SinglesBillboard (United States)[24]

Year Single Chart Position
1969 "Marrakesh Express" Hot 100 28
"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" Hot 100 21


Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP) Gold 100,000*
United States (RIAA) 4× Platinum 4,000,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) Gold 100,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "RIAA – Soundscan". Greasylake. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  3. ^ David Wild, Crosby, Stills and Nash booklet, 2006 release, 6.
  4. ^ Doggett, Peter. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. ISBN 978 1 5011 8304 1. New York: Atria Books, 2019, p. 130.
  5. ^ "Stills played the bass, the organ, the guitar. Dallas played the drums. And it's excellent! It has a wonderful feel to it. When we came back and heard the playback, I just sat there, stunned." David Crosby and Carl Gottlieb, Long Time Gone: The Autobiography of David Crosby. Da Capo Press, 150.
  6. ^ a b "Interview: David Crosby on History and Harmonies - Fretboard Journal". 25 April 2013.
  7. ^ "CSN Box Set Tracklist".
  8. ^ Tom Jones & Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Long Time Gone on YouTube
  9. ^ CSN Remaster or Original CD – SH Forums Archived 2009-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "FAQ Crosby, Still & Nash and Neil Young, CSNY". Archived from the original on 2000-03-02. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  11. ^ "FAQ Crosby, Still & Nash and Neil Young, CSNY". Archived from the original on 2000-03-02. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  12. ^ Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography By Dave Zimmer, Henry Diltz. Da Capo Press. 2008.
  13. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Crosby, Stills & Nash". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  14. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 201. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  15. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (July 31, 1969). "Consumer Guide (2)". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  16. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  17. ^ Franklin, Barry (26 July 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (38): 36.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 8, 1969). "The Byrds Have Flown--But Not Far". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  19. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "262 | Crosby, Stills and Nash – Crosby, Stills and Nash". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Archived from the original on 2012-01-19.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  20. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 69. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  21. ^ David Crosby: "Paul called me up and said that he was having this major duke-out with this horrible guy who was managing the band, and he was freezing everything their names were on. 'He might injunct the release of your record,' he told me. So we didn't put Paul's name on it for a while. In later versions, we made it very certain that he wrote it with us." Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "CSN Box Set Tracklist".
  23. ^ "Interview: David Crosby talks Crosby, Stills & Nash's debut album track-by-track". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
  24. ^ a b c "Crosby, Stills & Nash: Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  25. ^ Brown, Tony. (2000). The Complete Book of the British Charts. Omnibus Press. pp. 200–201. ISBN 0-7119-7670-8.
  26. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 23 May 1970". Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  28. ^ "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young" (ASP). Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  29. ^ "CASH BOX MAGAZINE: Music and coin machine magazine 1942 to 1996". Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  30. ^ "RECORD WORLD MAGAZINE: 1942 to 1982". Retrieved 2020-07-05.