“A must for CSNY fans.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
The first ever biography focused on the formative and highly influential early years of “rock’s first supergroup” (Rolling Stone) Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young—when they were the most successful, influential, and politically potent band in America—in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock and the formation of the band itself.
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.
Peter Doggett has been writing about rock music and interviewing rock stars for more than thirty years. He is the author of You Never Give Me Your Money, the definitive story of the Beatles’ break-up and its aftermath, chosen as one of the Best 10 Books of the year by the LA Times. His other books include his panoramic history of popular music, Electric Shock; The Man Who Sold the World; There’s a Riot Going On; and Are You Ready for the Country.
"An enthusiastic history of one of rock music’s most significant supergroups. Rock journalist Doggett (Electric Shock: From the Gramophone to the iPhone: 125 Years of Pop Music, 2015, etc.) traces his protagonists from their origins through their early success in the Byrds (David Crosby), the Hollies (Graham Nash), and Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills and Neil Young). As the author shows, the Los Angeles rock scene of the late 1960s was a meeting place for nearly everyone who came to prominence in folk or rock. Prime among them was Crosby, who strutted around in a cape and whose counterculture credentials included introducing the Beatles to LSD. After one night at a popular music venue, Crosby, Stills, and Nash came together for a stoned singing party that gave birth to a new sound. With the addition of Young and the band’s appearance at Woodstock, the legend was underway as well as the melodrama of fights, breakups, reunions, and excess. Doggett frankly admits that he is a fan of the group, and he traces the band’s career from concert to concert, recording session to recording session. In addition to providing the stories behind the better-known songs, the author spends plenty of time on their lives offstage, including their liaisons with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins. Throughout, Doggett does a solid job differentiating among the four members of the group, each an interesting, if not necessarily likable, personality. Young gets most of the blame for the group’s breakups, though with four enormous egos, everyone receives a due share. The author backs it all up with voluminous documentation, including interviews with all the participants and ample quotations from contemporary reviews of almost every record and concert, including the members’ solo projects. The narrative is eminently readable, with few dull passages, even when the protagonists are sulking during one of the band’s numerous fights. A must for CSNY fans and anyone who remembers the era when it ruled the pop charts." —Starred Kirkus Review
"Plenty of nuggets for the diehard fan...a more than welcome addition to the band’s bookshelf."