Top 10 Crosby, Stills & Nash Songs

Crosby Stills & Nash Songs

Photo: Tony Morelli / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Our Top 10 Crosby Stills & Nash Songs list looks at one of the most legendary groups in classic rock history. Sometimes known as CSN but more often defined as Crosby Stills & Nash, the group was a different band than the group that recorded and performed with Neil Young as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The dynamics, the sound, the music, the spirit, and the performances were very much different when Neil Young was in the band. We are not going to say which was better or argue anything about that point; we are only making the stance that there was a dramatic difference between the two groups for many reasons. That’s why we have created two separate top 10 lists on this website for the two configurations of these very talented and legendary musicians and songwriters.

As a group, Crosby Stills & Nash released six studio albums together. As Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the group released three studio albums, two live albums, and the greatest hits album So Far. There were also many compilations and box sets released over the years. This Crosby Stills & Nash songs list will ONLY look at the material released on the six original Crosby Stills & Nash studio albums.

# 10 – Camera

This little-known great tune from the band’s underrated album After The Storm is opening up our top 10 Crosby Stills & Nash songs list. Released in 1994, the album showcased the three legendary musicians playing great, singing wonderfully, and once again writing great songs. It was the group’s best work since their 1977 CSN album. The song “Camera” was written by David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

# 9 – Wasted On The Way

Continuing with our Top 10 Crosby, Stills & Nash Songs list, we turn to the Daylight Again album. The album was released in 1982. The record employed a great deal of talent behind the scenes. On the record was The Eagles Timothy B. Schmit, adding back vocals on six of the album’s tracks. The golden voice of Art Garfunkel was also present on the record.

Three of rock and roll’s most remarkable drummers of all time, Joe Vitale, Russ Kunkel, and Jeff Porcaro, played on the record. We can’t fail to mention so many of the other legendary players, such as Danny Kortchmar, Mike Finnigan, Craig Doerge, Richard T. Bear, Jay Ferguson (Thunder Island), James Newton Howard (Elton John), George “Chocolate” Perry, Bob Glaub and the incredible bassist Leland Sklar (Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Carole KingPhil Collins, James Taylor etc…) It’s very telling that many great musicians lined up to work with Crosby Stills & Nash on the Daylight Again album.

We wanted to pick a few choice songs to represent this album on our top 10 Crosby Stills & Nash songs list. Ultimately, we went with the album’s big hit entitled “Wasted On The Way.” Graham Nash wrote the song. The song proved very successful for the band, becoming a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number nine.

# 8 – Just A Song Before I Go

In 1977, Crosby Stills & Nash returned with their second studio album as a trio. It was the first album Crosby Stills & Nash had recorded together since their debut album in 1969 entitled Crosby Stills & Nash. In between, the group joined forces with Neil Young to record the Déjà Vu  album and release their greatest hits package So Far and the double live album Four Way Street. And, of course, there were all the solo albums by the group members, along with different combinations of the three pairing up with each other.

“Just A Song Before I Go” was released as the album’s first single. Interestingly, the song became the band’s highest-charting single of their career, as it peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. Graham Nash wrote the song in less than a half hour, according to an interview Nash had on the David Letterman Show.

# 7 – Southern Cross

“Southern Cross” is the first of two Stephen Stills songs in a row on this top 10 Crosby Stills & Nash songs list. The song was released on the Daylight Again album. Stephen Stills took a song originally written by Rick Curtis and Michael Curtis entitled “Seven League Boots.” The song had been recorded by the Curtis Brothers and produced by Lindsay Buckingham with Stevie Nicks adding background vocals. Stephen Stills wrote a new chorus and turned it into a top 20 hit for Crosby Stills & Nash. Now that’s a cool story. Below are the two different versions of the song.

# 6 – Dark Star

One of our favorite Crosby Stills & Nash songs has always been the song “Dark Star.” The song opens with a highly addicting Stephen Stills guitar lick played upon a cool rhythmic groove which is very reflective of that mid 1970s Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs type sound. The great Craig Doerge plays a killer electric piano solo on the song, followed by some tasty Stephen Stills licks to make this one a real keeper.

# 5 – Long Time Gone

The second half of this top 10 Crosby, Still & Nash songs list goes back to their classic debut album Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their first record was so strong that their record company put together a greatest-hits package after just two albums. The Crosby, Stills & Nash 1969 album stands as one of classic rocks all-time greatest albums. We had to narrow down our choices from the album because we did want to present material from the group’s other albums. We start out the second half of this list with the great song “Long Time Gone.” The song was written by David Crosby.

# 4 – Helplessly Hoping

Continuing with tracks from the debut album Crosby, Stills & Nash we turn to the great song “Helplessly Hoping.” Recorded in December 1968 at Wally Heider’s Studio 3 in Hollywood, during the group’s first recording session together, it showcases the profound musical chemistry between David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash. Under the guidance of producer Paul Rothchild, the group laid down a track that would become a cornerstone of their debut album, released by Atlantic Records on May 29, 1969.

The decision to release “Helplessly Hoping” as the B-side to the more upbeat “Marrakesh Express” in June 1969 highlighted the group’s range, from the introspective to the vibrant. The song’s lyrics are a testament to Stills’ songwriting brilliance.

# 3 – Marrakesh Express

And speaking of A-Sides……  Written by Graham Nash, the song “Marrakesh Express” captures the spirit of adventure and the desire for a deeper, more meaningful experience of life, themes that resonated with the counterculture of the late 1960s. The song was inspired by Nash’s own journey to Marrakesh, Morocco, where he was fascinated by the sights, sounds, and cultural tapestry he encountered.

Graham Nash penned “Marrakesh Express” while he was still a member of The Hollies. The song was initially rejected by The Hollies for being too unconventional, prompting Nash to bring it to his new collaboration with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Upon its release, “Marrakesh Express” quickly became a hit, reaching the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.

# 2 – Wooden Ships

The song “Wooden Ships” was the opening track on side two of the Crosby, Stills & Nash album. The song was written by David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane. At a time when the Vietnam War was raging intensely and the anti-war protest movements were mobilizing all over the county, the song “Wooden Ships,” became one of the defining songs of protest with its tales of a nuclear holocaust caused by the madness of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

# 1 – Suite Judy Blue Eyes

As we close out our top 10 Crosby, Stills & Nash songs list, it’s time to get to the point and present what we believe is the band’s most significant work. An extraordinary seven-minute musical epic composed by Stephen Stills is entitled “Suite Judy Blue Eyes.” As most rock fans know, the song was written by Stephen Stills about the breakup of his romance with Judy Collins, who had left Stephen Stills for actor Stacy Keach. (The cop in those classic Cheech & Chong movies).

“Suite Judy Blue Eyes” was released as a single in 1969. It peaked at number twenty one on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the song’s legendary status has long outlived its chart success. It is truly the song representing the group Crosby Still & Nash in maybe its finest moment on record.

 

Top 10 Crosby, Stills & Nash Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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3 Comments

  1. Avatar Mark Harbold February 4, 2024
    • Avatar Brian Kachejian February 4, 2024
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