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Friday, June 13, 2014

CSNY: What Might Have Been?

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Backstage 1974
(Click photo to enlarge)

We continue to look forward to the release of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Live 1974 Box Set next month. (Now #20 #19 on Bestseller Listing.)

And while we look ahead, some supposition what might have been in the days that used to be.

We ourselves here at TW pondered what if CSNY had managed to record a couple of more studio albums in the 70s? What if CSNY had managed to play a few more concert tours in the 70s? If so, might CSNY have gone on to become a North American version of The Beatles or Rolling Stones?

And if CSNY had become megastars, is it not highly doubtful that Neil Young would be what he is today? That is, would Neil Young's solo career have survived and thrived all for the better with a successful CSNY? Or would have things turned out better for the CSN guys over the years?

From a comment on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Looking Back Through The Years by Dan1:
In fairness, almost no band survived the 60s-70s unscathed and surely no band that reached the pinnacle of success that CSNY did ...

maybe the Stones aged best but the stones were more of an original band while CSN/(Y) was always a supergroup putting together already famous stars under one umbrella ... the Beatles imploded and never came back ... look at Led Zeppelin they can't even do a reunion tour ... the Stones (who I love) were always unabashedly willing to milk fans for cash with the periodic oldies tour ...

I would argue the Stones music happens to be more timeless while CSN's music was more in the period ... but overall the CSNY flameout experience seems consistent with their peers ... Neil is a rare bird in that he at his core was only about the music and probably disdained the fame as opposed to reveling in it and hence he wasn't consumed by the fame like most of his peers ... and Neil stayed doggedly focused on writing new material throughout ... barely ever taking his eye off the ball except perhaps in the 80s period when he was dealing with that heartbreaking program to help his sons ...

plus Neil was/is a standout songwriting talent heads and tails above most of his peers ...

as such its sad to see the CSNY flameout that happened but its not surprising and it was the rule, Neil was clearly the exception ...
Thanks Dan!

Regardless of what might have been, it need not be said that all the guys are still here with us and making music. And that's a good thing that we're very happy about.

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At 6/13/2014 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Raincheck said...

The difference is that CSN flamed out in 1970, before accomplishing what the Beatles, Stones, Zep, etc accomplished. They flamed out after about, what, 18 months?

There was a 74 tour, a successful 77 reunion. And that is it.

At 6/13/2014 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Honored to have my comments highlights on TW!

Totally agree ... CSNY was unusual as they entered the arena already as a group of famous individuals ... so they achieved super fame really fast and my view is its that kind of super fame which just burns people and bands up ... its like flying too close to the sun ... or too much for the ego to handle and blows people up ... and in that context we look at CSN vs. Neil and its like his trajectory now looks like up and up (some naysayers will disagree of course) and theirs is they peaked 40 years ago and have never been able to regain the flame ... so the contrast if so stark ... but moving Neil aside into his own category (maybe w Dylan and Springsteen, ect..) and compare CSN to their compatriots its basically the same flameout experience (agreed with lots of puts and takes...) .... and to Thrashers point they're really one of the only bands from those days pretty well intact which is pretty special and that alone deserves respect ... the fact that they're still out there doing what they do is really impressive, I think many of us have just been so spoiled by Neil that we can't appreciate that these guys have done really well for mere mortals ...


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