Stills nacque il 3 gennaio 1945 a Dallas nel Texas. Il padre di Stills era un membro delle Forze Armate e la famiglia si trasferì diverse volte. Stills iniziò già da bambino ad interessarsi al blues e al folk. Durante un periodo passato in Costa Rica e nella Panama Canal Zone (dove completò le scuole superiori) conobbe anche la musica latino-americana.
Nei primi anni sessanta, Stills decise di intraprendere la carriera di musicista e abbandonò la University of Florida. Fu membro di diverse band di scarso successo, tra le quali ricordiamo i Continentals, in cui suonava anche Don Felder (poi chitarrista degli Eagles). Alla fine approdò a un gruppo corale composto da nove elementi, gli Au Go Go Singers, in cui incontrò Richie Furay. Il gruppo incise un album e intraprese un tour del Canada, durante il quale Stills e Furay conobbero il chitarrista Neil Young. Poco tempo dopo, gli Au Go Go Singers si sciolsero.
Stephen Arthur Stills (January 3, 1945) is an American musician and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young). He performed on a professional level in several other bands as well as maintaining a solo career at the same time.
Stills was ranked #28 in Rolling Stone Magazine‘s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and #47 in the 2011 list. Stills became the first person to be inducted twice on the same night into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with CSN and Buffalo Springfield.
Stills was raised in a military family. Moving around as a child, he developed an interest in blues and folk music. He was also influenced by Latin music after spending his youth in Gainesville and Tampa, Florida, Louisiana, Costa Rica, Panama Canal Zone and El Salvador, where he graduated from high school, and is an avid sailor. He also attended Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida and Saint Leo College Preparatory School in Saint Leo, Florida.
Stills dropped out of University of Florida to pursue a music career in the early 1960s. He played in a series of bands including The Continentals, which featured futureEagles guitarist Don Felder. Stills could also be heard singing solo at Gerde’s Folk City, a well-known coffee house in Greenwich Village. Stills eventually ended up in a nine-member vocal harmony group, the house act at the famous Cafe Au Go Go in NYC, called the Au Go Go Singers, which included future Buffalo Springfield bandmateRichie Furay. This group did some touring in the Catskills and in the South, released one album in 1964, then broke up in 1965. Afterwards, Stills, along with four other former members of the Au Go Go Singers formed The Company, a folk-rock group. The Company embarked on a six-week tour of Canada where Stills met a young guitarist named Neil Young. On the VH1 CSNY Legends special, Stills said that Young was doing what he always wanted to do, “play folk music in a rock band.” The Company broke up in New York within four months; Stills did session work and went to various auditions. In 1966 he convinced a reluctant Richie Furay, then living in Massachusetts, to move with him to California.
Stills made an unsuccessful attempt to become one of The Monkees. He was turned down, not due to any lack of ability, but because of a conflict with his existing music publishing contract. So instead, he recommended his friend, multi-instrumentalist Peter Tork