Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)

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"Our House"
Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.jpg
Single by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
from the album Déjà Vu
B-side"Deja Vu"
ReleasedSeptember 1970
RecordedNovember 5, 1969
GenreBaroque pop, soft rock, folk rock
Length2:59
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)Graham Nash
Producer(s)Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young singles chronology
"Ohio"
(1970)
"Our House"
(1970)
"Just a Song Before I Go"
(1977)

"Our House" is a song written by British singer-songwriter Graham Nash and recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their album Déjà Vu (1970). The single reached No. 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100[1] and No. 20 on the Cash Box Top 100.[2] The song, "an ode to countercultural domestic bliss",[3] was written while Nash was living with Joni Mitchell, recording both Crosby, Stills & Nash and Déjà Vu.

Origins[edit]

The song originates in a domestic event that took place while Graham Nash was living with Joni Mitchell (and her two cats[4]) in her house in Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles), after they had gone out for breakfast and had bought an inexpensive vase on Ventura Boulevard.[5] Nash wrote the song in an hour, on Mitchell's piano.[4]

In October 2013, in an 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.[6]

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".[6]

Legacy and adaptations[edit]

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".[7] It is praised for its "innocent elegance",[8] 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 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".[9] Perhaps the most famous usage of this song was in The Strawberry Statement, a protest-oriented movie of 1970.

The song has been covered by a number of artists, including Helen Reddy, The Onyx, Phantom Planet, Sheena Easton, Kidsongs and Sharon, Lois & Bram.

It was used as a commercial jingle for Eckrich sausage in the 1980s, and for Sears Kenmore appliance advertisements in 1989.[10] It has appeared in various television shows and films, including the 1996 Only Fools and Horses Christmas special, Time on Our Hands, watched by 24.3 million viewers in the United Kingdom. It was also used in an advert for Halifax Building Society in the 1990s.

Dan Aykroyd sings along to the song while cleaning the house in one of the opening scenes of the 1994 film My Girl 2. A portion of the song's lyrics were spoken in The Simpsons episode “Bart After Dark” by Reverend Lovejoy. The song was featured in the fifth season of How I Met Your Mother in an episode called "Home Wreckers". It appeared as a cover in a Target commercial from 2013, for its "Threshold" brand for house and home. It was the closing song on The Blacklist episode "Marvin Gerard", aired on 2015. An episode of Cheers had Frasier Crane and Lilith singing it in honour of their new apartment, only to stop very abruptly when Diane chimed in. In the 4th season of This is Us, Rebecca, in parallel scenes with her husband Jack and her son Kevin, visits the old home of Joni Mitchell in Los Angeles and relays the story of how “Our House” came to be a song. Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore, and Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia sing a portion of the song.

Nash performs the song on the album Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration, a recording of a tribute concert by a number of artists to celebrate Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday, released on Decca in March 2019.

Chart performance[edit]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lonergan 169.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2016-09-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Walker xii.
  4. ^ a b Bego 65.
  5. ^ Walker 112-13.
  6. ^ a b "Graham Nash Has 'Wild Tales' To Spare". NPR. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  7. ^ Zimmer 222.
  8. ^ Perone 76.
  9. ^ Hoskyns 204.
  10. ^ 1989 Kenmore Our House Commercial, YouTube, accessed 2019-02-24.
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 77. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca.
  13. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz.
  14. ^ [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 61.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.

Bibliography[edit]