Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (spesso abbreviato CSN&Y) è un supergruppo musicale statunitense di musica pop/rock che ha avuto un momento di particolare notorietà nei primi anni settanta. I musicisti che lo formavano erano appartenuti a tre gruppi attivi nella metà degli anni sessanta e specializzati nel repertorio folk–rock (gli statunitensi Byrds e Buffalo Springfield e gli inglesi Hollies). Tali gruppi erano considerati una sorta di alter ego dei Beatles e, almeno in parte, un tentativo di risposta statunitense allo strapotere del gruppo di Liverpool
La formazione base era inizialmente costituita dal trio Crosby, Stills & Nash: nel 1969 fu pubblicato il loro primo album il cui titolo era costituito semplicemente dai loro cognomi e che scalò rapidamente le classifiche di vendita. Solo successivamente ad essi si aggiunse Neil Young (in occasione del Festival di Woodstock).
Furono tre gli album pubblicati a cavallo degli anni sessanta e settanta: Déjà vu; So Far (con l’immagine in copertina disegnata da Joni Mitchell); e il doppio live 4 Way Streetche costituisce la summa del loro percorso artistico unitario, che contiene tra le altre la celebre canzone-invettiva Ohio, scritta da Neil Young in memoria dell’eccidio compiuto nel 1970 a Kent (Ohio) dalla polizia che sparò su studenti pacifisti uccidendone quattro, divenuta il loro personale manifesto contro l’impegno statunitense nella guerra del Vietnam.
Altri brani da segnalare nella produzione di quegli anni sono Teach Your Children, The Lee Shore, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Carry On, Right Between the Eyes, Love the One You’re With, e la loro interpretazione di Woodstock di Joni Mitchell.
Anche singolarmente – nel divenire di lunghe anche se non sempre lineari carriere – i quattro componenti del CSN&Y hanno riscosso un notevole successo sia in termini di popolarità che di vendite di dischi. Nel 1998 CSN&Y sono stati inseriti nella Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Più volte scioltisi e più volte ricompostisi – sotto forma di duo o trio, in combinazioni differenti – sono tornati a esibirsi live nella primavera del 2005. CSN hanno poi fatto due tournée, con passaggi anche in Italia, nel 2011 (Padova, Milano, Firenze e Roma) e poi nel 2013 (Brescia e Piazzola Sul Brenta di Padova).
Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is a folk rock supergroup made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. They are known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) when joined by occasional fourth member Neil Young. They are noted for their intricate vocal harmonies, often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, political activism, and lasting influence on American music and culture. All four members of CSNY have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, though Young’s inductions were for work not involving the group.
Prior to the formation of CSN, each member of the band had belonged to another prominent group. David Crosby played guitar, sang and wrote songs with the Byrds; Stephen Stills had been a guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter in the band Buffalo Springfield (which also featured Neil Young); and Graham Nash had been a guitarist, singer and songwriter with the Hollies.
Due to internal friction, Crosby was dismissed from The Byrds in late 1967. By early 1968, Buffalo Springfield had disintegrated, and after aiding in putting together the band’s final album, Stills was unemployed. He and Crosby began meeting informally and jamming. The result of one encounter in Florida on Crosby’s schooner was the song “Wooden Ships“, composed in collaboration with another guest, Jefferson Airplane‘sPaul Kantner.
Graham Nash had been introduced to Crosby when the Byrds had toured the United Kingdom in 1966, and when the Hollies ventured to California in 1968, Nash resumed his acquaintance with him. At a party in July 1968 at Joni Mitchell‘s house, Nash asked Stills and Crosby to repeat their performance of a new song by Stills, “You Don’t Have To Cry”, with Nash improvising a third part harmony. The vocals jelled, and the three realized that they had a unique vocal chemistry.
Creatively frustrated with the Hollies, Nash decided to quit the band and work with Crosby and Stills. After failing an audition with the Beatles‘ Apple Records, they were signed to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegün, who had been a fan of Buffalo Springfield and was disappointed by that band’s demise. From the outset, given their previous experiences, the trio decided not to be locked into a group structure. They used their surnames as identification to ensure independence and a guarantee that the band could not continue without one of them, unlike both the Byrds and the Hollies. They picked up a management team in Elliot Robertsand David Geffen, who got them signed to Atlantic and would help to consolidate clout for the group in the industry. Roberts kept the band focused and dealt with egos, while Geffen handled the business deals, since, in Crosby’s words, they needed a shark and Geffen was it.
Stills was already signed to Atlantic Records through his Buffalo Springfield contract. Crosby had been released from his Byrds’ deal with Columbia, as he was considered to be unimportant and too difficult to work with. Nash, however, was still signed to Epic Records through the Hollies. Ertegun worked out a deal with Clive Davis to essentially trade Nash to Atlantic in exchange for Richie Furay (who was also signed to Atlantic from having been in Buffalo Springfield) and his new band Poco
Il disco contiene due singoli di successo, Marrakesh Express e Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, che raggiunsero rispettivamente la posizione numero 28 e la 21 nella classifica statunitense Billboard Hot 100. L’album stesso si classificò al numero 6 della Billboard Top Pop Albums.
L’album fu un debutto importante per la band, catapultandoli istantaneamente nei posti alti delle classifiche e rendendoli delle star. Il disco, insieme a Sweetheart of the Rodeo dei Byrds e Music from Big Pink della The Band dell’anno precedente, contribuì al cambiamento radicale nella musica popolare anglosassone che si distaccò dalla formula più volte sperimentata negli anni sessanta dei tanti gruppi che suonavano musica rock influenzata dal blues con una massiccia dose di chitarre elettriche.Crosby, Stills & Nash presentò un nuovo modo di intendere le proprie radici rock, utilizzando folk, blues, e persino il jazz senza assomigliare specificatamente a qualche artista del passato, e senza indugiare nella mera duplicazione di formule standard. I tre musicisti, non solo armonizzavano all’unisono le proprie voci, ma miscelarono anche le loro personalità ed influenze stilistiche differenti, Crosby incentrato sul commento sociale e i pezzi d’atmosfera, Stills per l’utilizzo di elementi folk e country in complesse strutture rock, e Nash per l’accattivante gusto melodico pop; per creare un amalgama di sicuro successo. In aggiunta ai singoli sopramenzionati, Crosby, Stills & Nash include alcune delle canzoni più conosciute del gruppo, come Wooden Ships e Helplessly Hoping. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes venne composta per Judy Collins, e Long Time Gone era una risposta al recente assassinio di Robert F. Kennedy.
Crosby, Stills & Nash is the first album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, released in 1969 on the Atlantic Records label. It spawned two Top 40 hit singles, “Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of October 25, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.
The album was a very strong debut for the band, instantly lifting them to stardom. Along with the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo and The Band’s Music From Big Pink of the previous year, it helped initiate a sea change in popular music away from the ruling late sixties aesthetic of bands playing blues-based rock music on loud guitars.Crosby, Stills & Nash presented a new wrinkle in building upon rock’s roots, utilizing folk, blues, and even jazz without specifically sounding like mere duplication. Not only blending voices, the three meshed their differing strengths, Crosby for social commentary and atmospheric mood pieces, Stills for his diverse musical skills and for folding folk and country elements subtly into complex rock structures, and Nash for his radio-friendly pop melodies, to create an amalgam of broad appeal. Eventually going multi-platinum, in addition to the above mentioned singles, Crosby, Stills & Nash features some of their best known songs in “Wooden Ships” and “Helplessly Hoping“. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” was composed for Judy Collins, and “Long Time Gone” was a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Stills dominated the recording of the album. Apart from drums, handled by Dallas Taylor, he played nearly all of the instruments on the album. Nash did acoustic guitar on two tracks and Crosby rhythm guitar on a few. Stills played all the bass, organ, and lead guitar parts, as well as acoustic guitar on his own songs. “The other guys won’t be offended when I say that one was my baby, and I kind of had the tracks in my head,” Stills said.
David Crosby bristled over the plan for “Long Time Gone” as he thought he should at least play rhythm guitar on his own song. Stills convinced him to go home for a while and when he returned Crosby was won over by the music track that Stills and Taylor had recorded.
The group performed songs from the album at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. In late 1969 the group appeared on the Tom Jones TV show and performed “Long Time Gone” with Tom Jones sharing vocals.
This album proved very influential on many levels to the dominant popular music scene in America for much of the 1970s. The success of the album generated gravitas for the group within the industry, and galvanized interest in signing like acts, many of whom came under management and representation by the CSN team of Elliot Roberts and David Geffen. Strong sales, combined with the group’s emphasis on personal confession in its writing, paved the way for the success of the singer-songwriter movement of the early seventies. Their utilization of personal events in their material without resorting to subterfuge, their talents in vocal harmony, their cultivation of painstaking studio craft, as well as the Laurel Canyon ethos that surrounded the group and their associates, established an aesthetic for a number of acts that came to define the “California” sound of the ensuing decade, including The Eagles, Jackson Browne, post-1974 Fleetwood Mac, and others.
The album has been issued on compact disc three times: mastered by Barry Diament at Atlantic Studios in the mid-1980s; remastered by Joe Gastwirt at Ocean View Digital and reissued on August 16, 1994; reissued again by Rhino Records as an expanded edition using the HDCD process on January 24, 2006. On December 6, 2011, a gold compact disc edition of the album was released on the Audio Fidelity label.
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