For the longest time, I had no idea that this band was sometimes a trio. I had very little knowledge about their backstory and troubled history together. Truthfully, most of the songs I enjoyed probably weren’t even CSNY and might be CSN or SY or CN. Yeah, this is going to be a crazy ride.
The Backstory of CSNY and Me
It’s odd that a group ranked so high would not have many life memories attached. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young would not show up until after high school and are not directly linked to any pertinent moments. But, they had some awesome music.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, and Stewart
There is not a single moment where I remember hearing CSN(Y). I don’t remember my dad ever listening. My mom seems like she would have liked them but never listened. Todd, my brother, never played their albums. My only guess is Erik Stewart.
Team Erick in high school, Erik Stewart was one of my closest friends. Although a year older, Erik and I were good high school friends. His brother, Kyle, was in my graduating class and we probably met in 1997. There were ten of us that hung out regularly. Most of us bonded over our backyard wrestling federation. Erik and I commonly bonded over music.
He (Erik – pronouns, pal) was the first of our friends to drive. Part of getting a license was driving around the streets of Martins Ferry – for no particular reason. Making new CDs for the drives seemed to be something we did on a weekly basis. This was when we both suggested and introduced each other to new sounds.
If memory serves me correct, Erik’s father was a fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I remember Erik asking if I ever heard them. How ridiculous of a name for a band, I thought. I bet the first song was “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”.
Even though I have no musical background (besides the half-year I played trumpet), I love playing around and mixing music. This started when I would make music videos of my backyard wrestling federation with two VCRs and a cassette player. When I got Adobe Premiere, it only enhanced my options.
Remember those MTV CDs that would have one song bleed into the next track? Party to Go, I think they were called. My sister had one in the mid-90s and I thought it was the coolest thing. Of course, I wanted to recreate this in the 00s.
I started by gathering all of the hit songs from 1970. I was going to create a mix with my favorite songs and edit them together on Adobe Premiere and export each track. Everything worked as planned. It was a great mix.
I remember having John Lennon’s “Power to the People” and a few other classics. The best transition and best songs was “Our House” by CSNY. I don’t remember the exact transition, but every time I hear that song – I remember that CD.
CSNY Now vs. CSNY In 2007
This biggest factor between now and then is the actual group. In 2007, I probably wasn’t aware that CSN and CSNY are different. Sure, they sound the same – but we are missing one whole member. If it were just one album, I probably would feel okay lumping them together. We are talking about multiple albums. This is going to shake things up a bit.
Adding Crosby, Stills, and Nash to the List
Officially, I had CSNY on the 2007 list. This version of the group is who I ranked #9. Since I am using a formula based on the band name, we will rank them separately. I won’t write up an entire backstory for both, but I will treat them as separate bands for everything else.
Check out where they rank on my current list.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Metrics
By The Numbers
- Qualified Songs: 36
- Greatest Hits: 3
- Four Star: 15
- Three Star: 15
- Two Star: 3
- One Star: 0
The group of CSNY only has 36 qualified songs. Their entire discography could literally be the same size as The Beatles White Album (I’m sure its just a few songs more). The fact that Deja Vu was CSNY and not CSN spiked their total number.
A Deep Dive Into the Current Score
When I listened to the discography, I didn’t just go with CSNY albums. I went in order of release for CSN and CSNY. This makes it a little harder to see the progression or decline of the artist. Especially since this group broke up and reunited several times. Hands down the reason they scored well are for their ’60s/’70s work and not the ’80s/’90s.
CSNY Podcasts for Reference
Deeper Digs in Rock – This was a cool little podcast. Good quality. Told the story about the band and it’s pretty crazy.
The Morning Show with Anthony Podcast – Author David Browne was featured on this podcast and went over his book all about CSNY. Very similar to the Deeper Digs in Rock Podcast, but worth a listen.
Volcano Vinyl – I had a good time listening to this podcast. They did a review of American Dream and listened along. This was a unique take on a not-well-known album. Listen if you like CSNY (which you probably do if you are reading this entire post).
CSNY Videos for Reference
VH1 Legends (YouTube) – The history of CSNY is something else. VH1 used to be one of my favorite channels because of documentary videos like this one. It was a nice 40-minute look at the troubled history of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation (Netflix) – I watched this documentary hoping that CSNY would be prominent. They weren’t. Honestly, it wasn’t even that exciting or interesting so I turned it off. I probably shouldn’t even list it here – but I wanted to prove that I tried to find more information.
CSNY/Déjà Vu (Amazon Prime) – I just found this documentary when I was searching for the year of the Deja Vu album. I will watch and report back.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Fifty By Four (Amazon Prime) – Sometimes I forget that you can get free movies on Amazon Prime. I usually head to YouTube first for documentaries. Although late to the party, I found this documentary. This is exactly what I wanted. It tells the history of the group and doesn’t try to cram it into a made for TV 40 minute special.
The Battle of CSNY Albums
There is not much of a debate that the earliest (1970) album is the best. This is truthfully when the group was in their prime.
The Greatest Hit from CSNY
We had three albums and we had three greatest hits. You would think this would be super easy – but I really love those 5-star songs. I don’t even get to use my 2007 hit as a tiebreaker.
Previous Greatest Hit
“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”
Yes, I ranked a song that wasn’t truly CSNY. Sorry. It is still a damn good song even without Neil Young.
If there is a song that screams CSNY, it’s “Carry On”. Yes, I still like “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” more, but this tune is a solid #1b.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have a wonderful, definitive sound. They were absolutely fantastic with their 1970 album Deja Vu but didn’t keep the pace going for the last two albums. I have a feeling that they will not be able to remain in the top ten rankings for years to come, but they will still always have some of the best 5-Star songs.
September 7, 2019
It’s very hard to believe that there were only three songs that were 5-star caliber. In the future, I might have to review this again and see if there were any 4-star songs that get the nudge.