Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock's Greatest Supergroup


By David Browne

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“Riveting.” People Magazine“This is one of the great rock and roll stories.” -New York Times Book Review Even in the larger-than-life world of rock and roll, it was hard to imagine four more different men. Yet few groups were as in sync with their times as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Starting with the original trio’s landmark 1969 debut album, their group and individual songs-“Wooden Ships,” “Ohio,” “For What It’s Worth” (with Stills and Young’s Buffalo Springfield)-became the soundtrack of a generation. But their story would rarely be as harmonious as their legendary vocal blend. Over the decades, these four men would continually break up, reunite, and disband again-all against a backdrop of social and musical change, recurring disagreements, and self-destructive tendencies that threatened to cripple them as a group and as individuals. In Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup, Rolling Stone senior writer David Browne presents the ultimate deep diveinto rock and roll’s most musical and turbulent brotherhood. Featuring exclusive interviewswith band members, colleagues, fellow superstars, former managers, employees,and lovers-and with access to unreleased music and documents-this is the sweepingstory of rock’s longest-running, most dysfunctional, yet pre-eminent musical family,delivered with the epic feel their story rightly deserves.



“What a story,” Graham Nash said to me, shaking his head, during an interview for this book. “What a fucked-up foursome.” It was late 2017, and at that moment, Crosby, Stills and Nash—and sometimes Young—appeared to be shattered for good, the result of beefs and grievances that had been festering for years and had finally discharged. Even after nearly five decades of upheaval, you could only shake your own head at the disarray of it all.

But way back in more innocent times, it was the voices, not the drama, we noticed. On a family drive sometime in the early ’70s, I can still recall turning on the AM radio on the dashboard and the inside of the car unexpectedly being engulfed in massive, densely packed harmonies, the lyrics saying something about returning to some sort of garden. Instantly drawn to the sound, I reached forward from the back seat to pump up the volume dial, probably to my parents’ annoyance. Afterward, the DJ informed us we had just heard a group called “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.”

As one of those kids who often walked around with a transistor radio and its white, one-ear bud, I must have heard some of the records each of them had been a part of before: the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man” or “Turn! Turn! Turn!”; the Hollies’ “Bus Stop”; Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” I’d probably chanced upon Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Marrakesh Express” or the shortened version of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” on New York’s biggest AM station. All I knew was that, from the singing to the grinding organ to the jabbing guitar solo midway through, I’d never heard anything quite like “Woodstock” before. It made everything outside the window, especially the dreary car dealership on Route 35 in New Jersey where my mother worked, seem somehow more uplifting—an early power-of-song moment.

Not long after, thanks to birthday-gift money and whatever allowance I could scrounge up in my entering-teen days, I joined the millions of people who had already bought copies of the evolving group’s first two LPs, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Déjà vu. The covers reflected their different moods. On the former, three guys, dressed hippie-casual in denim and boots and lounging on a tattered couch, stared directly at the camera; they looked like more charismatic versions of my friends’ older brothers. On the latter album, those three were joined by three more people—and a dog—in a duskier, Old West setting, none of them looking happy. Using the songwriting credits as my guide, I was struck by the way David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young each sang in a distinctive voice and had a songwriting style his own, yet still managed to create a unified sound together. The lyrics had an unguarded directness I wasn’t accustomed to hearing in much rock at the time. Getting into Bob Dylan’s head on his records was a challenge, as was discerning his intention; with these people, their feelings of confusion, romantic anguish or anger were entirely out in the open. You never forget how eerily chill and singular a song like “Guinnevere” sounded or how Young’s voice on “Helpless” was so fragile, high and spooky.

I read what I could on them at the time, mostly in magazines like Rolling Stone and its scrappier music competitors Creem, Circus and Hit Parader. I learned that the group featured members of Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and the Hollies. Some writers called them a “supergroup,” whatever that was. They were ubiquitous and mythological, and I also learned they were already defunct.

I spent the next few years buying everything else of theirs I could find. It was like entering the world of an extended musical family but with siblings who were all from different clans. How could the person who made a rattled and jittery record like Young’s Time Fades Away be in the same band with the guy who made Nash’s far more crafted and precise Songs for Beginners? How could both harmonize with a guy like Stills, whose force-of-nature voice and musicianship almost swallowed up albums like Stephen Stills? And how could any of them bond with the indolently blissed-out hippie at the center of Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name? This was a band?

Well, it was and it wasn’t, as many of us came to realize. I’d read in 1974 that they were playing together again. To my eternal regret, I didn’t go to the concert; my parents frowned on me venturing to nearby Jersey City, warning it was an awful place. Once that tour was over, we all awaited a new album from them—but it never came. Instead they went back to their separate worlds. I first saw them onstage in 1977, when Crosby, Stills and Nash, no Young, reformed for an album and tour. Even in the nosebleed seats where my friend Chris and I sat, it was pretty thrilling to behold them in person and watch Stills run around the parameters of the stage by way of a wireless guitar. (How did he do that, we thought?) But a year later they’d shattered again. And so it went: they would reform as a trio or a quartet (Young generally seemed to keep as much distance as possible), resurrect their songs and vocal interplay, make more money than most of us would in a lifetime, then burst into pieces and go about their own business before starting up the cycle again. One of their former employees told me they’d broken up eight times during his tenure with them.

Over the years that followed, this experience was at once fascinating, exasperating and disheartening. The records they made separately or in pairs alternated between tremendous and enervated, and as the decades wore on, they increasingly looked and sounded ravaged by their lifestyles. As anyone who recalls the full quartet’s deflating reunion at 1985’s Live Aid will attest, the sight wasn’t always pretty. Their relationships surely weren’t as exquisite as their music, which seemed to sum up something about all of them: How could a group so identified with harmony fall into such regular discord and disarray?

And, just as important, why have so many of us remained riveted by this saga despite the merry-go-round of glories, letdowns and buzzkills? Naturally, the music they made remains the fundamental reason. Fifty years on, their finest moments are permanently interwoven with the fabric of rock history. Stills’ chilly voice and Young’s two-note guitar on “For What It’s Worth.” The rush of voices and guitars at the start of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Crosby’s warm-blanket harmonies on “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and Nash’s on the Hollies’ “On a Carousel.” Later Nash-written hits, like “Wasted on the Way” and “Just a Song Before I Go,” now soft-rock talismans. Entire albums, like Rust Never Sleeps or Déjà vu (along with plenty of others that should be considered classics but aren’t). Crosby’s fringed jacket. Stills’ immortal words at Woodstock (“We’re scared shitless!”). Young’s guitar, Old Black. Their collective sideburns. The mere sight of the four of them sitting onstage with their chairs and acoustic guitars, like some sort of adult campfire summit. For all the imitators who came in their wake, no one ever sounded quite like them, and on a good night, the combination of their voices remained peerless. And just when you were ready to count them out, they somehow managed to unleash a song or performance that gave new meaning to the phrase “keep hope alive” well into the current century.

Nonmusical reasons lured us into their legend, too. Feuding rock bands are nothing new, and pop history is larded with tales of rancor, splendor and excess. But few such sagas have stretched out over five decades and had as many twists and turns as that of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—rock’s longest-running soap opera, starring its most eternally dysfunctional musical family. Long before social media, they were duking it out in public in interviews and even in song; one could compile an entire album of the barbed tunes they wrote about each other. As Crosby told me during one of our conversations, “It’s always been strange. It never wasn’t strange. Right from the beginning.”

Their story is also unique in the way it has mirrored so much of what was happening around them and us. From the never-cut-my-hair ’60s to the solipsism of the ’70s to the way excesses caught up to their generation in the ’80s to the lessons learned along the way, their narrative, for better and sometimes worse, is that of the baby-boom generation. If the boomers were coddled, few were indulged more in the industry than these four. Along the way, they encountered and reacted to everything around them, from Vietnam to the antinuke movement to the Iraq War, chronicling those events in song.

But why else do we still care? It’s a question I posed one day to a friend, fellow author, and group chronicler, Dave Zimmer. We both mulled it over before Dave said, aptly, “Because they’re such characters.”

He was right, of course, and I would take a step further. Another part of the ongoing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young allure lies with each being an archetype we can relate to or even want to be. Crosby was the shoot-from-the-hip rebel who couldn’t help but stick it to the man. Stills, especially during his early years, was the driven careerist—always on the go, go, go—as well as the eternally unrequited romantic. Nash was the sensitive lady killer with the taste for quality possessions, the proto-yuppie. Young was the elusive, changeable outsider who couldn’t quite commit to any one thing at any one time.

How those public personae jibed with reality was another matter; they weren’t always the people their fans thought they were. But it’s easy to suppose that many could, and still do, relate to at least one of those prototypes and their foibles. We’ve all had the wind at our backs and blown opportunities. We’ve all had hotheaded moments. We’ve all had times when we’ve wanted to be team players and others when we craved alone time. We’ve all said hurtful things to friends or family members, maybe without intending to. We’ve all worn clothes that seemed fashionable at the time but that we later regretted. We’ve all struggled with one compulsion or another (even if not to their extremes). To paraphrase Nash, we’ve all been fuckups at some point. They are us, we are them, and telling their story allows us to understand why.





The experiment began almost by accident and, befitting the way it would toggle between love and something far from it, on Valentine’s Day. February 14, 1968, had been an overcast midwinter day in Los Angeles, but the weather didn’t deter the city’s pop music royalty from making its way to the Sunset Strip that evening. Commandeering the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Clark Street in West Hollywood, the hulking Whisky a Go Go had been a Bank of America branch until the building was transformed into a dance-crazy pop nightclub in 1964. Since then, the five-hundred-seat nightspot, with its incongruously old-fashioned awning over the front door, had hosted rock-and-roll mavericks as well as more soul and R&B acts than any other club in town; it was the place to catch everyone from the Doors and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention to Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and the Miracles, often with woozy lights and bubbles projected on the wall.

Crammed next to each other at one table tonight were David Crosby, best known for his affiliation with the Byrds, and Cass Elliot, the beloved and gregarious member of the Mamas and the Papas, whose enveloping harmonies had done their best to calm the country down over the past three years. Nearby were Nancy Sinatra, Frank’s pop-singer daughter, former Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian, and at least three of the Monkees, the fabricated but socially connected TV pop band. Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield, one of the most beloved if combustible of Los Angeles pop bands, was also in the crowd; one account also placed his bandmate Neil Young there. All were primed for a rare Hollywood performance by peers from across the ocean named the Hollies.

In light of the grim drumbeat of the nightly news, it made sense to want to escape for an evening. The war in Vietnam was thousands of miles away but hitting closer to home by the day. Weeks before, North Vietnam had stunned the world with the Tet Offensive, a barrage of surprise attacks on over a hundred cities in South Vietnam. That February day, just after it was announced that peace talks between North Vietnam, the United States and other nations had collapsed, the beleaguered US President, Lyndon Johnson, signed off on sending another 10,500 troops into war. Asked if nuclear bombs would be used to defend Marine outposts in South Vietnam, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “refused to speculate.” (Decades later, it would be revealed that Johnson had vetoed a plan that week to install nukes in South Vietnam as a last resort against the North.) Even the local news was unsparing: an eighteen-year-old living near the University of Southern California had been arrested for allegedly shooting his father in the face with a 16-gauge shotgun after a family argument.

Little intruded on the festivities at the Whisky a Go Go. In their native England, the Hollies had played the Cavern Club in Liverpool right after the Beatles; starting in the now far-off 1963, they had become a hit-making machine all their own. In the States, the Hollies were a regular pop radio presence—with kicky, full-voiced charmers like “Bus Stop” and “Carrie Anne”—but had yet to fully graduate to the counterculture world of FM radio. At the Whisky, one reason why they hadn’t was clear: they looked sharp in now-unfashionable matching dark jackets, and only one of them, goateed rhythm guitarist and harmony singer Graham Nash, sported facial hair. But the band’s even sharper-cut vocalizing, courtesy of Nash, lead singer Allan Clarke and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, was dazzlingly precise; onstage, the Hollies sounded exactly as they did on record, no easy feat in the sound-system-challenged days of the ’60s. Slicing through the arrangements, Nash’s keening, high-pitched voice, which Paul McCartney had once mistaken for a trumpet, was particularly impressive.

When the show ended, Stills and Crosby, who had been circling each other over the past year, two ambitious musicians in search of a magic combination to vault them to the top, loitered on the sidewalk outside the Whisky, near its yellow awning. Each was at a crossroads. Crosby exuded a sun-baked, up-for-anything gusto—“What’s the most fun we can have in 20 minutes?” would be his most devilish and successful pickup line—and his droopy mustache, occasional cape and hair flipping down to his shoulders made him one of the most recognizable figures on the city’s music scene, a naughty boy prince of pop. But at twenty-six, the now former Byrd faced an uncertain future after having been fired four months before from one of rock’s leading and most innovative bands. With Buffalo Springfield faltering and at least two of its members regularly missing in action, the blonder Stills—whose flashes of good-old-boy grins and phlegmy laughs could easily give way to an intimidating, penetrating stare that signaled his displeasure—could never tell if his band would exist much longer. When a newspaper reporter asked him a few months later about the state of the Springfield, Stills, all of twenty-three, mentioned a planned fall European tour but added: “I don’t know, though. You never can tell. You know, we might break up tomorrow.” Although Young had joined him at the Whisky, he was generally off somewhere else, which didn’t surprise Stills in the least; even then, no one could keep tabs on Young.

For all the uncertainty gripping their careers, Crosby and Stills were now caught up in what they’d just witnessed inside the Whisky. Joined by Elliot, who seemed to know everyone in town and delighted in moving around musical chess pieces, Stills and Crosby talked elatedly about Nash’s performance that night. “Maybe we can steal him,” Crosby said out loud, according to one of many varying accounts. Crosby had already met Nash; they’d bonded in Los Angeles and London and had gotten stoned together. The only thing they hadn’t done together was sing, but in front of the Whisky, Stills and Elliot weren’t sure that was an option. In the rules-oriented world of pop in 1968, swiping a member of another group was fairly unthinkable, an affront to the bonds of a rock-and-roll band; legally and morally, there were still rules.

Whether they realized it or not that evening, Crosby, Stills and Nash were each dogged with insecurities; in one form or another, they were in search of acceptance, validation and victory. In due time, those needs, and how they intersected with financial concerns, would also pull in Young. But at the moment, they were men of radically different voices, temperaments and features (Stills and Nash chiseled, Crosby more baby-faced, even at his age) who were hungry for someone to complete them. They wanted what they wanted, and they decided that the established rules would not apply to them.

FOR NASH AND his school friend Harold Clarke, their first taste of a different, less suffocating world beyond working-class Salford, a suburb northwest of Manchester, arrived inside a pub. The two had met in elementary school (Nash had raised his hand when the newly arrived Clarke had shown up in class and needed a seat next to someone), and the two had first noticed the comfortable way their voices blended while singing “The Lord Is My Shepherd” at a school concert. It wasn’t long before they had hustled up guitars and together started singing skiffle—scruffy folk that had originated in the States but had undergone a revival in the United Kingdom—in the Clarke or Nash homes. When Clarke’s older brother overheard them, he thought the two kids, now in their teens, should try singing in public—specifically, at a nearby workingmen’s bar, the Devonshire Sporting Club. Clarke’s brother introduced them to the owner, who asked them to play him a few songs. Satisfied with what he’d heard, he told them they could play at the bar that same day, immediately after a juggling act. “We came offstage and the guy came up to us and said, ‘We like that and here’s 10 bob,’ a half pound in those days, quite a lot of money,” Clarke recalls. “Graham and I looked at each other and said, ‘This is okay.’”

For Nash, the moment would be formative, his first taste of rising above his surroundings and feeling less like an outsider. He’d been born amid the rubble of World War II; the Christmas 1940 bombings of Manchester and Salford had forced expectant mothers to relocate to hospitals in nearby Blackpool, where Nash arrived on the second day of February 1942. (Adolf Hitler had spared Blackpool, thinking it would make for an ideal seaside vacation spot once he had conquered Great Britain.) Nash would long be haunted by memories of the thick “blackout curtains” his family used at night so enemy bombers wouldn’t be able to determine where the towns and villages lay below.

In his teen years, Nash’s face grew lean, and his hair became an overgrown version of a Presley pompadour. But he could never escape the feeling that he was a societal black sheep. His father, William, cast metal in a local foundry. At the Nash family home in Ordsall, the gritty, blue-collar section of Salford, the bathroom was outside and hot water was in short supply. Unlike the more cultured types in London, two hundred miles to the south, Nash didn’t have fashionable clothes; his Manchester-area accent, combined with his frequent salty-sailor expletives, made his working-class roots even more pronounced. One of the few things that made him less than blue collar was music. “I definitely wasn’t cool,” he says. “If the leather wore out on the bottom of my shoes, I wore a pair of my mother’s manly-looking shoes. But when I started to play guitar and sing Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly songs, people started to treat me a little differently, strangely enough. And I realized that. I recognized the power in being popular. And so because I wasn’t ‘cool’ in my normal life, this one little area of playing and singing made me feel a little cooler than I was. And I liked that.”

Once their schooldays had ended, Nash and Clarke both followed their supposed accepted paths in life, working day jobs that, for Nash, included the post office. But their desire to play music and escape their lives was unquenchable. By their later teens, they were giving themselves a string of different names—the Two Teens, the Guyatones (named after the mass-produced Japanese guitar manufacturer), or the Everly Brothers–inspired Ricky and Dane Young—and playing regularly in whatever club or pub would have them. Clarke, who would soon rename himself Allan, had a strong, nasal tone that demanded he be the lead singer, and Nash had startlingly high harmonies that softened Clarke’s delivery. Additional musicians were added until, in 1962, the full group, first named the Deltas, transformed into the Hollies. The name was partly a nod to their hero Buddy Holly; it was also a reference to the Christmas decorations in a club they were playing. Asked to come up with a name before they took the stage, Clarke looked around and told the announcer, “We’re the Hollies,” and it stuck.

An EMI Records executive saw them at the Cavern Club in December 1962. A month later they had followed the Beatles to EMI and were recording their first single, a peppy, breathless cover of the Coasters’ “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me” that hit no. 25 and set the tone for their original sound. “Our lives changed completely,” Clarke marvels. Suddenly, the two childhood friends who’d grown up feeling less than hip were seeing their songs—covers of R&B hits like “Searchin’,” “Stay” and “Just One Look”—on the British charts, and singing before throngs of squealing young women.

In early 1966, the Hollies broke through in America with “Look Through Any Window,” which played to their most charming qualities—swelling vocal harmonies, picturesque lyrics, and drummer Bobby Elliott’s kinetic rhythms. Whether written in-house or by outsiders, the singles that followed—the weather-driven love story “Bus Stop,” the belly-dancer-inspired “Stop! Stop! Stop!,” the Marianne Faithfull nod “Carrie Anne”—were impossibly magnetic radio candy and, deservedly, hits on both sides of the ocean. Nash had a hand in writing many of them, and momentarily, life felt grand: in 1963, he left the Manchester area behind and moved to London, marrying his girlfriend, Rose Eccles, the following year. By then, he and Clarke had even spent an inebriated evening in the studio with the Rolling Stones and Phil Spector, singing warbly backup on throwaways like “Andrew’s Blues.”

For all those accomplishments, the Hollies could never score an aura of hipness. In 1965, they released “Too Many People,” a politely political commentary describing how a million people died in an unnamed war. In fact, the song had its roots in news reports about the Mau Mau, a terrorist organization of the late ’50s and ’60s that was killing white farmers in Kenya to protest their settlements. It didn’t make the Hollies rebels, but it was a start. When the multi-hued late ’60s came into view, the band snazzed up its wardrobe with floral-patterned shirts and beads. “We went along with the flower-power stuff because that’s what was happening,” says Clarke. “We would have gone along with anything if we wanted a hit record.” But the band’s unhipness, the way it now made him feel as out of sorts as he had in grade school, gnawed at Nash, who longed for the credibility of the London scene. “Graham was going down to London and to the clubs and seeing things there that hadn’t come into his life before, like drugs,” says Clarke. “If there was anything happening, Graham wanted to be there. I was enjoying the ’60s, but Graham wanted to take it further.”

In the middle of 1966, the Hollies flew to Los Angeles for the first time to promote one of their records. If the palm trees and beaches he saw from the plane weren’t enticing enough for Nash, the immediate bear hug of the Hollywood music scene was. At a party, he met Elliot, known as Mama Cass, the queen bee of the scene, and Nash took her up on an invitation to attend a recording session for the Mamas and the Papas. To complete Nash’s trip to LA—and to fulfill her desire to make everyone feel connected—Elliot invited him to visit a friend of hers who lived in a wooden house on Lisbon Lane in Beverly Glen Canyon. There, Nash encountered a mustached man sifting through a box of weed—David Crosby of the Byrds—and Crosby promptly got his new acquaintance higher than he’d ever been. “I had better pot than anybody else,” Crosby says. “I got him whacked.” Although Nash didn’t know it at the time, Crosby stashed some of his drugs behind secret cupboards, along with guns and knives.

The trip was a grand awakening for Nash: people like Crosby and Elliot knew who he was and loved his singing. In a heartbeat, he felt hipper, more like an insider, than ever before (the Hollies dabbled in drugs but mostly stuck to drinking). Simultaneously, Nash began to take greater charge of steering the Hollies’ ship. At the same time—and in the same Abbey Road studio where the Beatles were concocting Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in early 1967—the Hollies began recording Evolution, the first of two self-consciously psychedelic albums they would make. Nash played an even larger role in the same year’s Butterfly, which was stuffed with Indian sitars, a song about a flying horse, and another song titled, with trippy pretensions, “Elevated Observations.” They made a valiant effort to sound high, but they still came across as too chipper and perky, and Butterfly would be one of their least successful albums.

That summer Nash brought in his most ambitious undertaking, “King Midas in Reverse,” a self-lacerating account of his own infidelities and growing personal confusion. With its trilling strings and intentionally swervy, hallucinatory harmonies on the chorus, the record was the most ambitious the Hollies had ever made, although not everyone in the band approved. “The producer told us it wasn’t going to be a hit, but Graham was quite adamant,” says Clarke. “He was trying to be the Beatles. Everything but the kitchen sink was on that record. But it wasn’t the Hollies’ approach.” Although a sonic accomplishment, the single peaked at no. 18 on the British charts—about a dozen spots lower than “Carrie Anne” or the equally contagious “On a Carousel.” Although Clarke denies it, Nash feels the song’s lack of impact made the Hollies begin questioning his judgment and decisions.




  • "The interwoven tale of four of the rock and roll era's most beloved, influential, and controversial stars, David Browne's Crosby, Stills, Nash and Younghas it all: the great songs, the terrible feuds, the drugs, the love, the money, the damage done, and the spark that never quite dies. A clear-eyed portrait not just of four singer-songwriters but of the rise, triumph, and collapse of their generation's idealistic youth. Smart, poetic, and probing, the book is a revelation."—Peter Ames Carlin, author of Bruce and Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon
  • "Few rock and roll sagas are as genuinely epic as this one, in which, over nearly five decades, four enormous talents/egos come together, find musical perfection, and fall apart in seemingly unlimited ways. With unparalleled skill and wry insight, David Browne chases down the details of CSNY's unique collaboration, uncovering larger truths about creativity and collaboration, debauchery and recovery, and a generation's harmonizing heart."—Ann Powers, author of Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music
  • "The long, tangled, thorny story of CSNY requires a writer of David Browne's immense skill to unravel, and he delivers beautifully. Sympathetic without being fawning, as astute a critic as he is a conscientious reporter, Browne chronicles the lives and music of these four iconic artists with unfailing intelligence, humor, and grace. This is a riveting read from beginning to what may or may not be the end of this fascinating band."—Anthony DeCurtis, author of Lou Reed: A Life
  • "A vivacious journey into a collision of four oversized egos-three of them producing a harmony as strange and inspired as any in rock and roll, a fourth achieving work of such strange and stunning genius that the world has yet to catch up. Beneath those harmonies was much clangor and static, even more than we knew, and Browne captures it all in this magnificent and definitive book."—David Yaffe, author of Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell
  • "[Browne] appears to have talked to nearly every living soul with a part to play in the band's long career. . . . An excellent portrait of a troubled partnership ... celebrates those fine moments when the band merged to make such epochal songs as 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' and 'Ohio.'"—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • "[An] ultimate deep dive into rock and roll's most musical and turbulent supergroup."—
  • "Riveting."—People Magazine
  • "[Written with a] sharp eye and even hand... [this] isn't the first book on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and it won't be the last, but it's certainly the best."—No Recess
  • "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is for music lovers, but it should also be required reading for students of group dynamics."—Washington Post
  • "An exhaustive biography of the frictional quartet ... As a document of how art, commerce, decadence and monstrous egos intertwine, Browne's book could be a set text."—Mojo
  • "Browne has written the book that CSNY fans have been waiting for a long time (with a long time gone) ... A worthy, substantive, and comprehensive look at the saga of the rock group with a name like a law firm."—Houston Press
  • "Browne's book gives a definitive look at the 20th century American rock supergroup."—Ears to the Ground Music
  • "The meticulous detail in Browne's book provides the most wide-ranging and in-depth treatment we have of CSNY, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock's Greatest Supergroup ably lives up to the promise of its subtitle."—No Depression
  • "Painstakingly detailed ... truly absorbing."—Forbes
  • "David Browne's biography chronicles the story of arguably the most talented, yet most dysfunctional, band in rock history. That such beautiful, groundbreaking music could emerge from such chaos is a testament to the alchemy of talent and creativity."—ChristianScience Monitor, "Top Pick"
  • "This is one of the great rock and roll stories. It's like a Greek myth. .... Browne is very good on the tribulations of David Crosby - his addiction, imprisonment, re-entry and subsequent elevation as a battered talisman."—NewYork Times Book Review, "Summer Reading 2019"issue
  • "The most comprehensive biography of the group to date ... Browne compiles a fun and fast-paced music history.... an authoritative chronicle."—PublishersWeekly
  • "Incisive and astute."—Times Literary Supplement

On Sale
Apr 7, 2020
Page Count
480 pages
Hachette Books

David Browne

About the Author

David Browne is a senior writer at Rolling Stone and is the author of So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead and Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 as well as biographies of Sonic Youth and Jeff and Tim Buckley. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Spin, The New Republic, and other outlets. He lives in Manhattan.

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