Songs for Beginners
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|Songs for Beginners|
|Studio album by Graham Nash|
28 May 1971|
23 September 2008 (CD+DVD)
Wally Heiders Studio III, Los Angeles and Studio "C", San Francisco
|Genre||Folk rock, country rock|
|Graham Nash chronology|
Songs for Beginners is British singer-songwriter Graham Nash's debut solo studio album, released in May 1971, and 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.
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 Neil'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 album featured the traits that Nash had come to be known for: a good sense of pop song construction, expressions of emotional sincerity, and fervent political activism. The Top 40 track, "Chicago," concerned both the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the infamous trial of the Chicago Eight, articulating the outrage Nash felt concerning those proceedings. The topicality which suffuses the album would always remain central to Nash's work: of the quartet, he and Crosby most directly professed sentiments aligned with those common to the Woodstock Nation. This similarity undoubtedly formed part of the foundation for their long-standing partnership even outside the parent group.
A first generation compact disc was released in the late 1980s, and reissued in 2011. A remixed version supervised by Nash and issued on 180-gram vinyl only by Classic Records in 2001 is currently out of print. A deluxe edition of 'Songs for Beginners was released on 23 September 2008 as 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.
The song "Simple Man" featured in the opening sequence of the 2007 Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle film Reign Over Me, and Sandler's character later praises the album upon finding it in a used record store. The same song was also used in the final minutes of the season 2 finale of the HBO series Looking. 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.
|1.||"Military Madness"||Graham Nash||2:50|
|2.||"Better Days"||Graham Nash||3:47|
|3.||"Wounded Bird"||Graham Nash||2:09|
|4.||"I Used to Be a King"||Graham Nash||4:45|
|5.||"Be Yourself"||Graham Nash, Terry Reid||3:03|
|1.||"Simple Man"||Graham Nash||2:18|
|2.||"Man in the Mirror"||Graham Nash||2:47|
|3.||"There's Only One"||Graham Nash||3:55|
|4.||"Sleep Song"||Graham Nash||2:57|
|6.||"We Can Change the World"||Graham Nash||1:00|
- Graham Nash — vocals; guitar all tracks except "Better Days" and "Simple Man"; piano on "Better Days," "Simple Man," "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"; organ on "Better Days," "There's Only One," "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"; paper and comb on "Sleep Song"; tambourine on "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"
- Rita Coolidge — piano on "Be Yourself" and "There's Only One"; electric piano on "Be Yourself"; backing vocals on "Military Madness," "Better Days," "Simple Man," "There's Only One," "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"
- Jerry Garcia — pedal steel guitar on "I Used to Be a King" and "Man in the Mirror"
- Neil Young — piano on "Better Days" and "Man in the Mirror" and "I Used to Be a King"
- Dorian Rudnytsky — cello on "Simple Man" and "Sleep Song"
- Dave Mason — electric guitar on "Military Madness"
- David Crosby — electric guitar on "I Used to Be a King"
- Joel Bernstein — piano on "Military Madness"
- Bobby Keys — saxophone on "There's Only One"
- David Lindley — fiddle on "Simple Man"
- Sermon Posthumas — bass clarinet on "Better Days"
- Chris Ethridge — bass on "Man in the Mirror," "There's Only One," "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"
- Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels — bass on "Military Madness," "Better Days," and "Be Yourself"
- Phil Lesh — bass on "I Used to Be a King"
- Johnny Barbata — drums on "Military Madness," "I Used to Be a King," "Be Yourself," "Man in the Mirror," "There's Only One," "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"; tambourine on "Chicago"
- Dallas Taylor — drums on "Better Days"
- P.P. Arnold — backing vocals on "Military Madness"
- Venetta Fields, Sherlie Matthews, Clydie King, Dorothy Morrison — backing vocals on "There's Only One," "Chicago" and "We Can Change the World"
- Production personnel
- Graham Nash — producer
- Bill Halverson, Russ Gary, Larry Cox — recording engineers
- Doug Sax - mastering
- Gary Burden — art direction
- Joel Bernstein, Graham Nash — photography
Album – Billboard (North America)
Singles – Billboard (North America)
|1971||"Military Madness"||Pop Singles||73|
|1971||"I Used to Be a King"||Pop Singles||111|