Songs for Beginners

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Songs for Beginners
Studio album by
Released28 May 1971
23 September 2008 (CD+DVD)
Wally Heiders Studio III, Los Angeles and Studio "C", San Francisco
GenreFolk rock, country rock
ProducerGraham Nash
Graham Nash chronology
Songs for Beginners
Wild Tales
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Allmusic(CD+DVD) 4.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[3]

Songs for Beginners is British singer-songwriter Graham Nash's debut solo studio album. Released in May 1971, it was one of four high-profile albums released by each partner of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping Déjà Vu album of 1970. It peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and the single "Chicago" made it to No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.[4]


Nash brought in an impressive group of guests to assist in the recording, including David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Dave Mason, David Lindley, Rita Coolidge, and Neil Young (under Young's early 1970s pseudonym Joe Yankee). The making of this album directly followed his break-up with longtime girlfriend, Joni Mitchell. Many of the songs are about their time together. The Top 40 track "Chicago" concerned both the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the trial of the Chicago Eight, articulating the outrage Nash felt concerning those proceedings.

"Wounded Bird", was written for Stephen Stills, about the pains he was going through in his relationship with Judy Collins. "Better Days", was also written for Stills, after Rita Coolidge left him for Nash.[5]

A first generation compact disc was released in the late 1980s, and reissued in 2011. A remixed version supervised by Nash was issued on 180-gram vinyl only by Classic Records in 2001. A deluxe edition of 'Songs for Beginners was released on 23 September 2008 as a CD+DVD-Audio pack, featuring a bonus multichannel high resolution audio, all new 2008 video interview with Graham Nash, plus a photo gallery and complete lyrics along with the 11-track CD album remastered.[6]

The song "Simple Man" featured in the opening sequence of the 2007 film Reign Over Me, and a copy of the album appears in it. The same song was also used in the final minutes of the season 2 finale of the HBO series Looking. The song "Better Days" appears in episode 2 of Fox TV's "The Passage," released in 2019. [7]A demo version of "Be Yourself" plays during the closing credits of the film Up in the Air. "Military Madness" has been covered live by Death Cab For Cutie, and was covered by indie-rock band Woods on their 2009 album Songs of Shame.

In 2018, the song "Better Days" was used as the closing credit song in the Showtime miniseries "Escape from Dannemora", Episode 7.[8]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Military Madness"Graham Nash2:50
2."Better Days"Graham Nash3:47
3."Wounded Bird"Graham Nash2:09
4."I Used to Be a King"Graham Nash4:45
5."Be Yourself"Graham Nash, Terry Reid3:03
Side two
1."Simple Man"Graham Nash2:18
2."Man in the Mirror"Graham Nash2:47
3."There's Only One"Graham Nash3:55
4."Sleep Song"Graham Nash2:57
5."Chicago"Graham Nash2:55
6."We Can Change the World"Graham Nash1:00


Production personnel


AlbumBillboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1971 Pop Albums 15

Singles – Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1971 "Chicago" Pop Singles 35
1971 "Military Madness" Pop Singles 73
1971 "I Used to Be a King" Pop Singles 111


  1. ^ Jurek, Thom. Songs for Beginners at AllMusic
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. Songs for Beginners at AllMusic
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review Archived 2 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ RIAA database retrieved 26 August 2014
  5. ^ "Graham Nash on Songs For Beginners - Washington Post".
  6. ^ Songs for Beginners [CD/DVD-Audio]: Graham Nash
  7. ^
  8. ^ SHOWTIIME. 2018.