Wild Tales: a Rock & Roll Life

Graham Nash
Apr 14, 2014

Graham Nash’s autobiography captures the inner workings of three significant bands of the Sixties and Seventies: The Hollies; Crosby, Stills, & Nash; and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. It’s well worth the read.

Musical harmony was a trademark of the three groups. Nash may have named his first group after Buddy Holly, but his major influence came from the distinctive harmonies of the Everly Brothers, a 1950s and early Sixties Nashville duo that is mentioned several times in the course of the book. Crosby, Stills, and Nash astonished themselves when rehearsing Suite Judy Blue Eyes for the first time, claiming that they surpassed even the Everly Brothers on their initial take. While reading this book 3 months after its publication, I heard the news on the radio that Phil Everly had died. That night, I reread that passage of CS&N’s first take of Suite Judy Blue Eyes.

Social harmony was a different story. Steven Stills and Neil Young of the former band, Buffalo Springfield, proved to be difficult partners. Stills destroyed Nash’s master tapes with a blade in a dispute, and Young skipped performances. Drug use was prevalent in the CSN&Y days, and Nash stood by his friends, David Crosby and wife, during their recoveries from heroin addiction. Despite the troubles, CS& N were able to convene again in later years for more performances.

If you appreciate the astonishingly good sounds that the Hollies, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, CS&N, and CSN&Y put on vinyl and the messages they brought to us about the late 60s and 70s, you gotta read this book.

Reviewed by Library Staff