NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, "BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF THE SUMMER"
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, "TOP PICK"
FORBES, "COOLEST CALIFORNIA GIFTS FOR DAD!"
"The interwoven tale of four of the rock and roll era's most beloved, influential, and controversial stars, David Browne's Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young has it all: the great songs, the terrible feuds, the drugs, the love, the money, the damage done, and the spark that never quite dies. A clear-eyed portrait not just of four singer-songwriters but of the rise, triumph, and collapse of their generation's idealistic youth. Smart, poetic, and probing, the book is a revelation."Peter Ames Carlin, author of Bruce and Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon
"Few rock and roll sagas are as genuinely epic as this one, in which, over nearly five decades, four enormous talents/egos come together, find musical perfection, and fall apart in seemingly unlimited ways. With unparalleled skill and wry insight, David Browne chases down the details of CSNY's unique collaboration, uncovering larger truths about creativity and collaboration, debauchery and recovery, and a generation's harmonizing heart."Ann Powers, author of Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music
"The long, tangled, thorny story of CSNY requires a writer of David Browne's immense skill to unravel, and he delivers beautifully. Sympathetic without being fawning, as astute a critic as he is a conscientious reporter, Browne chronicles the lives and music of these four iconic artists with unfailing intelligence, humor, and grace. This is a riveting read from beginning to what may or may not be the end of this fascinating band."Anthony DeCurtis, author of Lou Reed: A Life
"A vivacious journey into a collision of four oversized egos-three of them producing a harmony as strange and inspired as any in rock and roll, a fourth achieving work of such strange and stunning genius that the world has yet to catch up. Beneath those harmonies was much clangor and static, even more than we knew, and Browne captures it all in this magnificent and definitive book."David Yaffe, author of Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell
"[Browne] appears to have talked to nearly every living soul with a part to play in the band's long career. . . . An excellent portrait of a troubled partnership ... celebrates those fine moments when the band merged to make such epochal songs as 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' and
'Ohio.'"Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[An] ultimate deep dive into rock and roll's most musical and turbulent supergroup."Werd.com
"[Written with a] sharp eye and even hand... [this] isn't the first book on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and it won't be the last, but it's certainly the best."No Recess
"Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is for music lovers, but it should also be required reading for students of group dynamics."Washington Post
"An exhaustive biography of the frictional quartet ... As a document of how art, commerce, decadence and monstrous egos intertwine, Browne's book could be a set text."Mojo
"Browne has written the book that CSNY fans have been waiting for a long time (with a long time gone) ... A worthy, substantive, and comprehensive look at the saga of the rock group with a name like a law firm."Houston Press
"Browne's book gives a definitive look at the 20th century American rock supergroup."Ears to the Ground Music
"The meticulous detail in Browne's book provides the most wide-ranging and in-depth treatment we have of CSNY, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock's Greatest Supergroup ably lives up to the promise of its subtitle."No Depression
Drawing on archives of folk rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, as well as new interviews with the band members’ friends and fellow musicians, Browne (Fire and Rain) delivers an authoritative chronicle of the rise of the short-lived folk rock quartet, whose songs, such as “Woodstock” and “Ohio,” galvanized a generation. In meticulous detail, Browne describes the making of the band’s self-titled debut album that launched the trio of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash in 1969, and the several hits that followed after Neil Young joined them in 1970 for the recording of Déjà Vu. Weaving together the careers and talents of each musician (with the Byrds, Crosby’s “harmony parts encased each song in a warm glow”; “Stills wrote and sang pleading or cautious love songs” while in Buffalo Springfield; “Nash’s high register blended with lower tones”), Browne illustrates the genius each artist brought to the group, as well as the obstacles that drove them apart—particularly Stills’s arrogance and Young’s unpredictability and aloofness. By 1971, the band split up; it came together only twice more to record as CSNY for 1988’s American Dream and 1999’s Looking Forward. In what is the most comprehensive biography of the group to date, Browne compiles a fun and fast-paced music history. Agent: Erin Hosier, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Apr.)
A warts-and-all—mostly warts—look at the legendary musical group.
Judging by Rolling Stone contributing editor Browne's (So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead, 2015, etc.) latest book, it's altogether improbable that all four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young should still be alive and perhaps even more improbable that they smoothed out their feuds and egomania enough to record together for so long. The story begins with David Crosby and Stephen Stills plotting to lure Graham Nash from the Hollies. Characteristically, the three can't agree on where they first sang together, but it appears to have been a Hollywood street outside a club where the British band was playing in February 1968. Stills emerges in these pages as a stern taskmaster given to running the trio—and, intermittently, quartet, with the addition of fellow Buffalo Springfield alum Neil Young—as a military outfit, staying up with chemical help for days at a time to get exactly the right sound down on tape. For his part, Nash often figures as peacemaker and go-between, although Browne makes it clear that the peace-and-love avatar has both an ego and a temper. Throw the head-in-the-clouds Crosby into the mix, and it's a perfect recipe for volatility—and magic. The author appears to have talked to nearly every living soul with a part to play in the band's long career, except for Stills and Young, who disagreed on nearly everything about the group but came together in keeping mum. Says Crosby, meaningfully, "We had a good band. It was easy. I made a good paycheck. But we had gotten to the point where we really didn't like each other." Though the narrative takes some of the bloom off the Flower Power rose, it also celebrates those fine moments when the band merged to make such epochal songs as "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and "Ohio."
Fans of CSN(Y) may find this disenchanting, but Browne delivers an excellent portrait of a troubled partnership.