Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)
|Single by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young|
|from the album Déjà Vu|
|Genre||Baroque pop, soft rock, folk rock|
|Producer(s)||Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young singles chronology|
"Our House" is a song written by British singer-songwriter Graham Nash and recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. The single reached #30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song, "an ode to countercultural domestic bliss", was written while Nash was living with Joni Mitchell, recording both Crosby, Stills & Nash and Déjà Vu.
The song originates in a domestic event that took place while Graham Nash was living with Joni Mitchell (and her two cats) in her house on Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles), after they had gone out for breakfast and had bought an inexpensive vase on Ventura Boulevard. Nash wrote the song in an hour, on Mitchell's piano. In a 2013 interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air", Nash elaborated: “Well, it's an ordinary moment. What happened is that Joni [Mitchell] and I – I don't know whether you know anything about Los Angeles, but on Ventura Boulevard in the Valley, there's a very famous deli called Art's Deli. And we'd been to breakfast there. We're going to get into Joan's car, and we pass an antique store. And we're looking in the window, and she saw a very beautiful vase that she wanted to buy...I persuaded her to buy this vase. It wasn't very expensive, and we took it home. It was a very grey, kind of sleety, drizzly L.A. morning. And we got to the house in Laurel Canyon, and I said – got through the front door and I said, you know what? I'll light a fire. Why don't you put some flowers in that vase that you just bought? Well, she was in the garden getting flowers. That meant she was not at her piano, but I was...And an hour later 'Our House' was born, out of an incredibly ordinary moment that many, many people have experienced".
In the same interview, Nash was asked about the harmonies in the song: "It's me and David [Crosby] and Stephen [Stills] doing our best. That's all we ever do. You know, we're lucky enough to be able to do, you know, anything that we want to do, musically. And, you know, these two guys are incredible musicians. Crosby is one of the most unique musicians I know, and Stephen Stills has got this blues-based, South American kind of feeling to his music. And I'm this, you know, Henry VIII guy from England...You know, it's not supposed to work, but it does, somehow".
Legacy and adaptations
Graham Nash once admitted that he was "bored with 'Our House' the day after [he] recorded it", but will play it occasionally "because it does mean so much to so many people". It is praised for its "innocent elegance", though Barney Hoskyns called it a "trite ditty" and wondered what Neil Young, whose protest song "Ohio" was recorded and released by CSNY in June of 1970, would have thought of it: "the journey from 'Ohio' back to 'Our House' seemed to sum up a general failure of nerve in the LA music scene".
It was also used as a commercial jingle for Eckrich sausage in the 1980s, and has appeared in various television shows and films, most notably in the Only Fools and Horses 1996 Christmas special, "Time on Our Hands", which was watched by 24.3 million viewers when it was broadcast in the UK. The song was featured in the fifth season of How I Met Your Mother in an episode called "Home Wreckers". It also appeared as a cover in a 2013 Target commercial for its "Threshold" brand for house and home.
- Bego, Mark (2005). Joni Mitchell. Taylor Trade. ISBN 9781461662020.
- Hoskyns, Barney (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9780879309435.
- Lonergan, David F. (2005). Hit Records, 1950-1975. Scarecrow. ISBN 9780810851290.
- Perone, James E. (2006). The Words and Music of Carole King. Greenwood. ISBN 9780275990275.
- Walker, Michael (2010). Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9781429932936.
- Zimmer, Dave (2004). Four Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader. Da Capo. ISBN 9780786748532.