CSNY: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

CSNY                                                          PETER DOGGETT

1969 to 1974 were true golden years of rock n’ roll, bookmarking an era of arguably unparalleled musical power and innovation. But even more than any of their eminent peers, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young channeled and broadcast all the radical anger, romantic idealism, and generational angst of their time. Each of the members had already made their marks in huge bands (The Hollies, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds), but together, their harmonies were transcendent.

The vast emotional range of their music, from delicate acoustic confessionals to raucous counter-culture anthems, was mirrored in the turbulence of their personal lives. Their trademark may have been vocal harmony, but few—if any—of their contemporaries could match the recklessness of their hedonistic and often combative lifestyles, when the four tenacious, volatile, and prodigal songwriters pursued chemical and sexual pleasure to life-threatening extremes.

Including full color photographs, CSNY chronicles these four iconic musicians and the movement they came to represent, concentrating on their prime as a collective unit and a cultural force: the years between 1969, when Woodstock telegraphed their arrival to the world, and 1974, when their arch-enemy Richard Nixon was driven from office, and the band (to quote Graham Nash himself) “lost it on the highway.”

Even fifty years later, there are plenty of stories left to be told about Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young—and music historian Peter Doggett is here to bring them to light in the meticulously researched CSNY, a quintessential and illuminative account of rock’s first supergroup in their golden hour for die-hard fans, nostalgic flower-children, and music history aficionados alike.


A book about how the group CSNY came together. The author refers to them as a supergroup and growing up listening to their music I really never looked at them that way. I knew Neil Young had a successful solo career and really did not like to tour. In the book, the author explains how when he was with the Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills how Young stopped showing up for shows like the Carson T.V. show then the Monterey Jazz Festival. I had known that they had been with Springfield that Nash was with the Hollies because I really liked the groups at the time. I did know of the Byrd’s I just was not a big fan and was not following that group. So I later knew Crosby came from them. Like Young he would not show up either to shows or recording sessions and when there was always difficult to work with. The author takes to how the three CSN meet at the Whiskey club, I had always heard it referred to as Whiskya’ go-go, and have albums recorded live from that venue. The group itself CSNY only have recorded three albums, but CSN has a total of fourteen. What I found interesting was the influence of Mama Cass and Joni Mitchel. It was always interesting how Stills seemed to bring everyone together and work through everything, for me, he is the one that I got that the music was more important than all of the other stuff going on around them. Also, their early songs really spoke to what was going on in the country, “Ohio” for example was about the shooting at Kent State, and another song was about the death of Robert Kennedy just months after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Then into the ’70s, they were still speaking to the people. I really listened to their music up to the last few years, out of their 14 albums I have 11 plus some of their solo ones, I just can’t get into some of their new stuff. An interesting group that I grew up listening to that now I guess maybe I will think as a supergroup even though they would not want that title. Maybe a super Folk group would be better. A good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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