Crosby, Stills & Nash (album)

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Crosby, Stills & Nash
Studio album by Crosby, Stills & Nash
Released May 29, 1969
Recorded February–March, 1969
Studio Wally Heider's Studio III
Los Angeles, CA
Genre Folk rock
Length 40:52
Label Atlantic
Producer Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash chronology
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Déjà Vu
(1970)Déjà Vu1970
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 was certified four times platinum by the RIAA for sales of over 4,200,000.[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 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, 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", "Long Time Gone" (a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy), "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (composed for Judy Collins) and "Wooden Ships" (co-written with Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane).

Stills dominated the recording of the album. Apart from drums, handled by Dallas Taylor, he played nearly all of the instruments on the album. Nash played acoustic guitar on two tracks and Crosby rhythm guitar on a few. 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]

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.[4] In a more recent interview, Crosby contradicted his earlier statement, stating that he had played guitar on the track.[5]

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

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.

The album has been issued on compact disc three times: mastered by Barry Diament at Atlantic Studios in the mid-1980s;[6] 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, for no particular reason, 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.[7]

Dallas Taylor can be seen looking through the window of the door on the rear of the sleeve.[8] 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[9]), 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
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[11]
The Village Voice B+[12]

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.[13] Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic in The Village Voice: "I have written elsewhere that this album is perfect, but that is not necessarily a compliment. Only Crosby's vocal on 'Long Time Gone' saves it from a special castrati award."[12] 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".[10] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Crosby, Stills & Nash number 259 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[14]

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.[15] 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. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" Stephen Stills Stills 7:25
2. "Marrakesh Express" Graham Nash Nash 2:39
3. "Guinnevere" David Crosby Crosby with Nash 4:40
4. "You Don't Have to Cry" Stephen Stills Stills with Crosby & Nash 2:45
5. "Pre-Road Downs" Graham Nash Nash 3:01
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Wooden Ships" David Crosby, Paul Kantner, Stephen Stills Crosby with Stills 5:29
2. "Lady of the Island" Graham Nash Nash 2:39
3. "Helplessly Hoping" Stephen Stills Stills with Crosby & Nash 2:41
4. "Long Time Gone" David Crosby Crosby 4:17
5. "49 Bye-Byes" Stephen Stills Stills 5:16
2006 bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Notes Length
11. "Do for the Others" Stephen Stills Stills and Nash demo 2:49
12. "Song with No Words (Tree with No Leaves)" David Crosby Crosby and Nash 3:18
13. "Everybody's Talkin'" Fred Neil Stills with Crosby and Nash on harmonies 3:14
14. "Teach Your Children" Graham Nash Nash and Crosby demo 3:14




AlbumBillboard (North America)[19]

Year Chart Position
1969 Black Albums 35
Pop Albums 6

SinglesBillboard (North America)[19]

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


  1. ^ "RIAA – Soundscan". Greasylake. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  3. ^ David Wild, Crosby, Stills and Nash booklet, 2006 release, 6.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Interview: David Crosby on History and Harmonies - Fretboard Journal". 25 April 2013. 
  6. ^ CSN Remaster or Original CD – SH Forums.
  7. ^ "FAQ Crosby, Still & Nash and Neil Young, CSNY". Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  8. ^ "FAQ Crosby, Still & Nash and Neil Young, CSNY". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  9. ^ Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography By Dave Zimmer, Henry Diltz. Da Capo Press. 2008. 
  10. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Crosby, Stills & Nash". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 201. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (July 31, 1969). "Consumer Guide (2)". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 26, 2016. 
  13. ^ Franklin, Barry (26 July 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (38): 36. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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."
  16. ^ "Interview: David Crosby on History and Harmonies - Fretboard Journal". 25 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "CSN Box Set Tracklist". 
  18. ^ "Interview: David Crosby talks Crosby, Stills & Nash's debut album track-by-track". 
  19. ^ a b "Crosby, Stills & Nash: Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2013.