Stephen Stills

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CSN: Crosby Stills & Nash (Atlantic, 1969), 6/10
CSNY: Dejavu` (Atlantic, march 1970), 7/10
Stephen Stills (Atlantic, 1970), 6/10
Stephen Stills 2 (Atlantic, 1971), 4/10
Manassas (1972) , 6/10
Down the Road (1973), 4/10
Stills (Columbia, 1975), 3/10
Illegal Stills (Columbia, 1976), 3/10
Long May You Run (Reprise, 1976), 5/10
Thoroughfare Gap (Columbia, 1978), 3/10
CSN: CSN (Atlantic, 1977), 5/10
CSN: Daylight Again (Atlantic, 1982), 4/10
Right By You (Warner, 1984), 3/10
CSNY: American Dream (Atlantic, 1988), 4/10
CSN: Live it Up (Atlantic, 1990), 3/10
Alone (Vision, 1991), 3/10
CSN: After The Storm (Atlantic, 1994), 3/10
CSNY: Looking Forward (1999), 5/10

Steve Stills, born in Texas but raised in Florida, once the brain behind Buffalo Springfield, spent the late 1960s obsessed with the concept of the "supergroup": first he recorded the Supersession with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield, and then he recruited David Crosby (the former Byrds) and Graham Nash (the former Hollies) to form what will become the epitome of the supergroup in the 1970s.

Crosby Stills & Nash (Atlantic, may 1969) sounds like the laid-back, atmospheric and slightly psychedelic version of what the three had done with their respective bands. Stills' Suite Judy Blue Eyes (1969), Crosby's Guinivere and, best of all, Nash's Marrakesh Express displayed gorgeous vocal harmonies and crystal-clear guitar work.

For the following album, Dejavu` (Atlantic, march 1970), the trio added Neil Young (also a former Buffalo Springfield member) and Young's Country Girl is easily the centerpiece. The others also get carried way, with Stills penning three of his classics (Carry On, 4+20 , Everybody I Love You), Crosby delivering three post-hippie manifestos (Almost Cut My Hair, Dejavu`, Shadow Captain), and Nash indulging in his soulful beat (Teach Your Children, Our House). The album was followed by the single containing Young's vehement political sermon Ohio and by a double live album, Four Way Street (Atlantic, 1971), that was mainly notable for the extended guitar jams. This supergroup had virtually invented a new genre, the sunny, melancholy, thoughtful country/blues/soul that will be called "West Coast sound".

In the meantime Stills had also started a solo career. Stephen Stills (Atlantic, 1970), with Love The One You're With and It Doesn't Matter, took advantage of guests Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and David Crosby, but Stephen Stills 2 (Atlantic, 1971) has little to commend itself (Change Partners).

There followed another ambitious project, this time involving Chris Hillman of the Flying Burrito Bros: Manassas. This band played more straightforward and traditional blues-tinged country-rock on Manassas (1972), a veritable encyclopedia of US music (notably The Love Gangster), and Down the Road (1973), but Hillman soon left to join Poco's Ritchie Furay.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded Human Highway (1974), but the album was never released.

Stills released the solo album Stills (Columbia, 1975) and the nostalgic Illegal Stills (Columbia, 1976), with a band of veterans. A collaboration with Young, Long May You Run (Reprise, 1976), was followed by another mediocre solo album, Thoroughfare Gap (Columbia, 1978).

In the meantime, Crosby and Nash had reunited with Stills to cut CSN (Atlantic, 1977), an uninspired follow-up to their supergroup days. Just A Song Before I Go and Dark Star were the least awful ballads, but the album nevertheless sold four million copies. Crosby, destroyed by drugs, wasn't even singing anymore on Daylight Again (Atlantic, 1982), whose relevant song is Nash's Wasted On The Way. After the live Allies (1983), Crosby was arrested on drug-related charges, and the trio seemed doomed.

Stills returned to his solo career with Right By You (Warner, 1984), then seemed to retire.

When Crosby finally rehabilitated, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young staged a reunion that yielded American Dream (Atlantic, 1988). But it's hardly a revolutionary album, notable mainly for David Crosby apologizing with his acid-rock fans in Compass.

Despite employing a cast of distinguished guests (including Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis), Crosby Stills & Nash's Live it Up (Atlantic, 1990) was an utter failure. The best songs were even't written by them. This was a pop trio in search of a hit.

Following Stills' Alone (Vision, 1991) and another long hiatus, the trio returned with After The Storm (Atlantic, 1994), another disappointing album.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunited one more time for Looking Forward (1999), again as radio-friendly and family-oriented as it gets. Still's Seen Enough is virtually a rewrite of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. Young wastes his talent in Slowpoke, Out Of Control, Looking Forward.

With hindsight, Crosby Stills & Nash were one of the most overrated albums of all times, competing with the Beatles, Emerson Lake & Palmer and other marketing scoops of that caliber.

Steve Stills era stato il cervello dei Buffalo Springfield. Una volta sciolto quel gruppo leggendario, Stills venne ripetutamente tentato dal mito del "supergruppo": prima registra la Supersession con Al Kooper e Mike Bloomfield, e poi raduna David Crosby dei Byrds, Graham Nash degli Hollies e il vecchio compagno Neil Young per formare quello che diventera` il supergruppo per eccellenza degli anni '70.

Nel supergruppo con Nash e Crosby, invece, Stills mise a punto le armonie vocali e il ritmo rilassato che sarebbero diventate sinonimo di "West Coast sound".

In retrospettiva, i Crosby Stills & Nash furono uno dei gruppi piu` sopravvalutati di sempre, insieme ai Beatles, a Emerson Lake & Palmer e poche altre trovate pubblicitarie di quel calibro.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Sedsci)

Steve Stills, un tempo la mente dietro i Buffalo Springfield, verso la fine degli anni '60 era ossessionato dall'idea di "supergruppo". Dapprima registrò la Supersession con Al Kooper e Mike Bloomfield; successivamente reclutò David Crosby (ex Byrds) e Graham Nash (ex Hollies) per creare quella che diventerà l'emblema dei supergruppi nel 1970.

Crosby, Stills & Nash (Atlantic, maggio 1969) sembra la versione rilassata, atmosferico-psichedelica di quello che i tre avevano inciso con i loro rispettivi gruppi. Suite Judy Blue Eyes (Stills), Guinivere (Crosby) e soprattutto Marrakesh Express (Nash) mostravano fascinose alchimie vocali e chitarre cristalline.

Nell'album successivo, Dejavu' (Atlantic, marzo 1970), al trio si aggiunse Neil Young (fuoriuscito a sua volta dai Buffalo Springfield) e proprio la sua Country Girl si dimostra l'apice del disco. Anche gli altri sono in stato di grazia: Stills crea tre dei suoi classici (Carry On, 4+20, Everybody I Love You), Crosby espone tre manifesti post-hippy (Almost Cut My Hair, Dejavu', Shadow Captain) e Nash si crogiola nelle sue ritmiche intrise di soul. All'album seguirono il singolo Ohio, veemente sermone politico di Young, e il doppio live Four Way Street (Atlantic, 1971), che spicca soprattutto per le lunghe jam chitarristiche. Il gruppo aveva virtualmente inventato un nuovo genere: il solare, melanconico, riflessivo country/blues/soul che sarà denominato "West Coast sound".

Nel frattempo Stills aveva dato il via alla carriera solista. Stephen Stills (Atlantic, 1970), che contiene Love The One You're With e It Doesn't Matter, decolla grazie agli ospiti (Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton e David Crosby); mentre Stephen Stills 2 (Atlantic, 1971) ha ben poco di salvabile (Change Partners)

Al supergruppo seguì l'ambizioso progetto Manassas, che coinvolgeva Chris Hillman dei Flying Burrito Bros. Stavolta si suonava, in modo più schietto, un tradizionale country-rock venato di soul. Dopo Manassas (1972), passabile enciclopedia di musica Americana, e Down The Road (1973) Hillman se ne andò.

Crosby, Stills, Nash e Young registrarono Human Highway (1974), che non venne mai distribuito.

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