Graham Nash Recalls Joni Mitchell Witnessing To The Birth Of CSN

Elifnaz Yuksel

On the new episode of Raised on Radio, Graham Nash talked about how Crosby, Stills and Nash came to be, and who was there to witness it. The harmony singer set the scene at Joni Mitchell’s house, after a dinner with David Crosby and Steven Stills:

“After dinner, David looked at Steven, he said ‘Hey, play Willie that song that we were working on.’ Now, David had been thrown out of the Birds, and the Buffalo Springfield had broken up and they were trying to work on an Everly Brothers kind of duo kind of thing.”

Graham revealed which song that was and its importance, and told the story of how he got gradually impressed:

“So they sang this song, and it was a song called ‘You Don’t Have To Cry,’ which was on the first Crosby Stills and Nash record. And they sang it, they looked at me, I said ‘First of all, Stephen, that’s an incredibly great song. That’s just wonderful, sing it again.’ They looked at each other, they shrugged, they sang it again.”

Nash also inserted himself into the scene by counting the things he observed, and explained why the song was escalated when Crosby and Stills sang the song third time:

“When they got to the second time I said ‘Okay.’ I’m a pretty decent harmony singer, I’ve learned my part, I know the words, I know David’s body language, I knew when Stephen was going to start and end a phrase, I’m good at what I do, I’ve been doing it for fifty years, you know, by that time. They sang it the third time and after fourty-five seconds, we had to stop and start laughing.”

He finally mentioned why the band had to form after that moment, and revealed that Joni Mitchell was there:

“We had never heard a vocal sound like me and David and Stephen making our three voices into one voice. And we knew that the Hollies and the Birds and the Springfield were decent harmony bands, but this was something completely different. And Joni was the only witness.”

Graham Nash previously talked about his deeply rooted friendship with David Crosby. In another interview, he mentioned the main reason why they were successfull as a harmony band:

“I loved that part of our relationship – the trust that we had with each other. I would say the trust came from being deep friends. It’s because we were so close together – I mean, we could really harmonize, you know. We had a wonderful time. It was great making that particular piece of music [‘Where Will I Be’] because I wanted to stay out of David’s way because he was talking to you or your heart directly, and I only came in when I felt it needed to take another breath.”

You can listen to the whole episode below.

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