Just a Song Before I Go
|"Just a Song Before I Go"|
|Single by Crosby, Stills & Nash|
|from the album CSN|
|Released||June 17, 1977|
The Albert Brothers
"Just a Song Before I Go" is a song from Crosby, Stills and Nash that appeared on the 1977 album CSN. It was also released as a single and made it to number seven on the Billboard singles charts, becoming the band's highest charting hit. It is also one of the band's shortest songs, with a running time of only 2:14.
The song was written by Graham Nash about leaving loved ones behind before going on a concert tour. It was written in Hawaii in about 20 minutes at the piano while Nash and Leslie Morris were staying with a friend, waiting for the rain to stop before leaving the house. The opening line came from the question: "You've got half an hour, why don't you just write a song before you go?"
In a February 25, 2016 interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Nash stated that the homeowner bet him $500 that he couldn't write a song before he left. Nash said he still has that $500.
"Just a Song Before I Go" is lyrically straightforward about the situation Nash was in at the moment he wrote it, and there is also an undercurrent of regret towards rootlessness, a feeling that Nash — born and raised in England, a resident of the United States who had lived in California and was now living in Hawaii — might very well have had at the time.
Crosby, Stills and Nash arranged "Just a Song Before I Go" as a straight ballad, with mostly acoustic textures anchored by two electric guitar solos from Stephen Stills.
- Liner notes from the 1991 box set Crosby, Stills and Nash: CSN. The commentary on the songs's genesis is from David Crosby.