Crosby, Stills and Nash were (and are!) magnificent. Before they formed Crosby, Stills and Nash, David Crosby was a member of The Byrds, Stephen Stills was with Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash was part of The Hollies. They played together in concert for the first time at Woodstock in 1969. Each of three are two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members. And each of the three are amazing musicians. But together, with their pitch-perfect harmonies, they're simply spectacular.
But I confess: Although I love a bunch of Crosby, Stills and Nash songs, and their self-titled debut album, released in 1969, is legendary (and has been a part of my old school record collection since 1969), Graham Nash is far and away my favorite member of the trio. His songs on their first album are my favorites. Like, for example, how great is Teach Your Children, which is virtually anthem-like now (and, ironically, was rejected by the Hollies before Crosby, Stills and Nash formed). And Our House is amazing, too.
Graham Nash was born in 1942, which makes him 75 years old now. Wow! Besides his iconic music career, he's made a name for himself in the photography world as both a collector and photographer.
But, back to music, Graham Nash's solo career is Hall of Fame worthy by itself. His first two solo albums, Songs for Beginners and Wild Tales are filled with sweet, soulful tunes. Although, I admit my bias since their releases in 1971 (when I was in high school) and 1974 (when I was in college) were right in the sweet spot of my music evolution from The Beatles and 50s and 60s pop to singer-songwriter / folk / what-they-now-call-Americana.
And, among my most favorite solo Graham Nash songs is On the Line, which was a staple on my college turntable from 1974 to 1976. And, not insignificantly, it's the song that most reminds me of the days that Andi and I first started going out junior year in college.
I've never seen Graham Nash live in concert. But I did meet him once, at a World Cafe interview taping, which was focused in part on the autobiography that Graham wrote in 2013 called, Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life. He told amazing stories, was forthright and funny, and, although he didn't play any songs for the small group that day, I did get a chance to say hello to him and shake his hand. Which was pretty cool.
So, to honor Graham Nash, here is a live performance of On the Line with just Graham, his acoustic guitar and his harmonica from 1974. (A man after my own heart!) And here is the studio version of On the Line from his Wild Tales album.