Graham Nash

It’s Graham Nash’s birthday today, which seems like a jolly good reason to reacquaint yourselves with some of the fine music he has helped create down the years, or perhaps, lucky you, discover some of it for the first time. From the joy-filled pop classics of The Hollies to the stunning vocal harmonies that came about when working with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and occasionally Neil Young, the trio that became a quartet were counter-culture standard-bearers whose songs have brought solace to many during turbulent times.

Two lines stand out. From ‘Teach Your Children Well’, originally written for The Hollies, from Déjà Vu (1970):

“You of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by”

The other is from ‘To the Last Whale (A. Critical Mass/B. Wind On the Water)’, which closes 1975’s Wind On the Water, the second Crosby & Nash album:

“It’s a shame you have to die to put the shadow on our eye”

Great lines that make you pause to think. Maybe you have a favourite lyric that resonates strongly with you.

I’ve always loved Hollies hits and those exquisite three-part harmonies with Messrs Crosby and Stills equally, yet perhaps, on reflection, I admire Graham Nash most of all for always speaking his mind – for example, here, here, on ‘Almost Gone (The Ballad of Bradley Manning)’, written with James Raymond, or here.

OK, just about any interview with Graham Nash is worth a read. Or a view, as this recent conversation with Rita Coolidge ably demonstrates.

And yes, Crosby, Stills & Nash is still one of the coolest album covers ever, don’t you think?

One of the musical highlights from the last year was This Path Tonight, Graham’s sixth solo studio album, released in April; I’m listening to his second as I write this, 1974’s Wild Tales – ‘Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier)’ and ‘Prison Song’ are its stand-out tracks for me.

For his political activism, his support of liberal and environmental causes (not to mention his backing of Gary McKinnon) and for the incomparable beauty he and David Crosby added to On an Island, both live and in the studio, I hope you can raise a glass of whatever it is you like to drink in a toast tonight to one of music’s most frank and fearless servants.

35 comments

  1. Taki

    Those harmonies are incredible… Only Queen did almost as good harmonies in their songs.

    Happy birthday Mr Nash! (raising a single malt just before going to bed 😉 )

  2. Maya

    Happy birthday to Graham Nash. CSN is a wonderful album indeed. Many an early morning in my youth was welcomed with their gentle harmonies.

    We’ve had another birthday recently, too. Mr. Mason just turned 73. And, of course, March 6 is coming right up.

    I miss being able to see Gilmour live. I’m greedy, I know. I’m sorry.

  3. Hannouresk

    Thanks FEd for appreaciating the wonderful Graham Nash. Love to read it.

    I really like This Path Tonight; it’s a melancholic and consoling album. And I like the album Graham Nash David Crosby from 1972, my father heard it a lot, so it became very familiar to me from early on. And I understood embarrassingly late that “Miss Mitchell” was of course Joni Mitchell.

    And I think Nash is a very kind and balancing person which was maybe necessary in CSN(Y).

    Happy birthday Mr. Nash.

      • laterr

        They call that “interview” now?

        I liked his words about having no clue “what was she doing with me”. Don’t know how much irony there was in the words, but having just a minute listened to her, you think yes, nobody probably could match her indeed ..

        Personally I prefer things like holes of chair’s back to be a bit more obvious, easier recognizable. But the face is perfect, I agree, very good moment catching.

  4. TW

    Happy belated birthday to the master of the harmonies!

    I love the music by CSN and their performance of “Find the Cost of Freedom” in 2006 with David was amazing.

  5. Suzy Smith

    Hope that Mr. Nash had a wonderful Birthday.

    His music has provided much thought throughout decades and is still relevant today and for time yet to be.

    Take Care, Suzy

  6. Lizzy

    CSN from Crosby, Stills and Nash was one of my first LPs (ah, yes, back in the days when you still bought vinyl, browsing in record stores for hours, listening to the album first in one of those cabins … How I miss all that).

    I really love The Hollies though, especially ‘Bus Stop’. It still plays like a film in my head every time I hear it, wonderful song.

  7. Maya

    Hi hi! Oh god, welcome back. Don’t leave me again. You are an oasis inside my incessant twitter war with Trump. I really do have a sad new life without you.

  8. laterr

    What was it that happened yesterday FEd? A ‘fatal error’ the Blog was saying.

    Anyone seen? Or was it just me?

      • Suzy Smith

        Hey laterr~

        I noticed it too. “Fatal error” sounds so, well-fatal.

        Relieved all is up and running. I was near panic attack mode. Had to take deep breaths and go for a walk. I would be very sad if I lose connection.

        Thank you FEd from getting everything back to normal. With all the disturbing and unsettling occurrences going on in the World at this time it is reassuring to have The Blog to calm one’s soul.

        Take care,
        Suzy

        • laterr

          Computer errors don’t always mean what they say, but yes, you described it all well Suzy. Quite nervous moment. I even forgot to say happy birthday to Mr Nash, and how much I like his work on “On an Island” and on “A Boat Lies Waiting”.

          My first thought was that people in China can not see YouTube, and someone else (North Korea, I think) even blocks Wikipedia, I heard.

  9. William Cheng

    I’ve seen Graham Nash with CSNY, CSN, Crosby and Nash, was fortunate enough to be at the RAH show where Crosby and Nash sang backup in 2015. The odd thing was that they sang backup on ‘A Boat Lies Waiting’ but didn’t stay onstage to sing harmony on ‘The Blue’ which followed immediately (they performed it with him 2006).

    Not only a great musician and songwriter, but from the interviews and stories I’ve read he seems like a beautiful human being as well.

    Happy Birthday Graham and I am looking forward to seeing you perform again!

  10. Heather

    Noticed the other day that come March a female singer will be releasing her latest album. To celebrate her 100th birthday Dame Vera Lynn is bringing out a new album….don’t think though that there’s a track along the lines of ‘Does anybody here remember Pink Floyd’!

    Good Luck Dame Vera and long may she continue….along with everybody else.

    Best wishes
    Heather

  11. Damian Cunningham

    May 26th – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. I remember that night well, thank you Graham. Although having to walk past Old Trafford nearly spoilt the day for me. And all the Man United fans asking me where the ground was, LOL.

    Damian

  12. Melissa (*_*)

    Helpless, helpless, helpless
    Baby, can you hear me now?
    The chains are locked and tied across the door,
    Baby, sing with me somehow.

    Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
    Yellow moon on the rise,
    Big birds flying across the sky,
    Throwing shadows on our eyes.
    Leave us

    Helpless, helpless, helpless. – CSN

    Happy belated birthday Mr. Nash.

    Melissa (*_*)

  13. MaryAnn

    My very first concert was CSN at The Boston Garden in the late Seventies. I was in high school and like a lot of firsts in life, it was quite an event for me and my friends. I still remember exactly where I sat. I have been in love with live music since that show. Have seen them in various configurations (CSN, C & N, CSNY) many times over the years, their harmonies are breathtaking. “Find The Cost of Freedom” with David is amazing.

    A funny story on a memorable lyric (although not written by Nash, but by Stills) is about the song “Love The One You’re With”. It caused a minor uproar at my high school when at the end of the my senior school year, one of the English teachers brought in his guitar and brought his class outside to sit on the grass and listen to him play (he was one of the cool teachers). There was a lot of nervous whispers and giggles throughout the school about him singing “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with”. What a different world it was then. Can’t imagine that these days it would even garner a second of attention….

    Happy Belated Birthday to Mr. Nash, he is very much appreciated.

  14. Damian Cunningham

    50 million pounds’ worth of cocaine found on a Norfolk beach. Do you think the police will give it to the person who found it if the owner doesn’t claim it?

    Damian

  15. Suzy Smith

    An exciting time for sky watch with the full “Snow” moon.
    For some there was a lunar eclipse.
    Also a comet passing by.
    Then on the 26th a solar eclipse.
    Many celestial occurences.
    I have always enjoyed such events.
    They are exhilarating, exciting, beautiful, and free.

  16. Tom

    Of what I know of Graham Nash, he seems to be a very down to earth person who has dedicated his life to the arts. I admire that. He is a role model and one of my heroes!

    Come to speak of heroes, because I listen to it right now and because I think a lot of people like this kind of music reading this blog: Have a look at Steve Rothery’s Music (just YouTube “best solos of Steve Rothery”)… you won’t be disappointed… I must say very Gilmoury in style 😉 … now it’s time for some CSN though.

    -Tom

  17. frank

    Happy Birthday Graham. As harsh as it may seem, I also love Stephen Stiils as an artist, and a Canadian Neil Young, with in my opinion too much attitude, yet a legend in his own right. Bravo to them. David Crosby I feel may have been the glue! But, what do I know anyway! LOL.

    P.S. FEd, where did you go for winter break this year? Was it warm or a cool venue?

    TY.

  18. laterr

    Totally engaged with “The Girl in the Yellow Dress” at the moment. Can’t think of anything but how incredible it is, and the whole album, and you can’t not fall in love with David Gilmour just hearing him! And yet there is “Dancing Right in Front of Me”, many surprises and discoveries to come.. . Do you envy FEd? 😀

  19. Rino

    There is something wrong in the chat event…… On Calendar the chat is tomorrow (Friday 17) but in the countdown it’s in 7 days (and some hours)

    As usual …. sob… sob…. I’ll miss this one because of Friday……have a great chat people!!!!! and also great days!!

    • FEd

      The same to you, Maya.

      I was feeling poorly all week so my entirely predictable Valentine’s Day post didn’t make it beyond my notebook and a series of lazy scribbles, unfortunately.

      Is there another excuse to discuss the best – and worst – love songs ever written and recorded? An International Love Song Day, something like that? Because that would be handy.

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