Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and Young) Debut at Woodstock
We lost a legend of music, David Crosby on January 18th, 2023. He was a folk hero of the 60s and a powerful force of the 70s. Crosby was part of the dynamic trio of Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
At 3:30 a.m. on the morning of Monday, August 18, 1969, Crosby, Stills, and Nash took the stage at Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
By the third and originally scheduled final day of Woodstock (August 17th, 1969), the festival had slowly become controlled chaos. After hundreds of thousands of Woodstock attendees started to overwhelm the festival, Nelson Rockefeller threatened to send in the National Guard. Sullivan County had declared a national emergency. And Stewart Air Force Base even airlifted the talent to beat traffic.
Graham Nash said this about the chaos:
“And it was overwhelming! It was like Blade Runner, like looking down on L.A. in the year 2050,” Graham Nash recalled to Rolling Stone in 2019. “It was both primeval and futuristic. And there was a hell of an energy emanating from it. Coming in to land, something went wrong with the rudder of my helicopter, so we came down very heavily, and that was scary. When we got out of the helicopter, we were greeted by John Sebastian. We lit up one and had a party in Sebastian’s tent.”
The trio had just released their self-titled album Crosby, Stills, and Nash in May 1969. It had broken the top ten at #6 on the Billboard 200. Two singles “Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” were also major hits.
This was the trio’s second show and they were backed by drummer Dallas Taylor and an unexpected Neil Young. Neil had just been added to the tour and was not used to playing with the group. He was cranky and did not want to be filmed during the performance.
“I think Neil [Young] was nervous about playing with us,” Nash pondered. “Neil’s not in control when he’s with us — not in the way he likes to be. And so I think that made him a little nervous. I don’t really know why he didn’t choose to be in the movie. To this day, a lot of people think that it was just CSN that did Woodstock, but in fact it was the four of us.”
After Woodstock and Deja’ Vu
Crosby, Stills, and Nash would go on to have great success after Woodstock. But not without a share of problems. The band rarely saw eye to eye and by end of their second tour in 1971 had changed dramatically. With replacements and arguments abound the band separated and went off on their own to have their own successful solo careers.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash were all inducted into the Rock in Roll Hall of Fame, but for other projects. Crosby for the Byrds; Stills for Buffalo Springfield; and Nash for the Hollies. And Neil Young was inducted as a solo artist and as a member of Buffalo Springfield.
But they will always have Woodstock. After Woodstock, the lineup made their second album Deja’ Vu which featured Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. As a bonus, it also had cameos by Jerry Garcia and John Sebastian.
“A lot of us in the years since have shied away from the Woodstock myth. It’s like, if you were at Woodstock and you’re enthused about it, then you’re a ’69 hippie, you’re to be discounted,” Nash continued. “But there’ll never be anything as good as Woodstock, because it was the first and the best. I don’t think you can re-create that. There was a certain glow about the Sixties, a certain naiveté and exploration, an excitement for the future that doesn’t exist anymore.”
Crosby was a wild guy! Crosby gives feedback on rolling joints!