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.