This page is dedicated to some of the performers who first came to the forefront of popular music during the late 1960's. They were all based on the west coast of the United States of America. Their careers are inextricably linked and all are extremely talented. I have always been interested in this genre of music and particularly the collection of consummate artistes below. I thought that I could share this with others. To quote David Crosby in a recent interview (The Official CSNY Website - 27/03/01), "One of the things they used to say about us (CSNY) was that we were speaking for our generation. And I think, in a sense, that its still true. You hear a lot of music these days about rage and frustration and anger, but not much about hope and love and forward motion. That's what we want to continue to stand up for."
This legendary band formed in 1968. David Crosby originally came to fame with the West Coast folk/ rock band, the Byrds. Stephen Stills was a member of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash was from the very successful British band, the Hollies. Legend has it that they met at the house of Joni Mitchell and first performed their stunning three part harmonies there. Their debut album, 'Crosby, Stills and Nash', was released in 1969. It perfectly captured the mood of the time and was a big success.
Neil Young, also from Buffalo Springfield, joined them shortly afterwards. Young was and still is a prolific songwriter. He has worked with a huge number of musicians, including Pearl Jam and most consistently, Crazy Horse. CSNY toured that summer and performed at Woodstock and Altamont. 'Deja Vu' was released in 1970 and had a more rock orientated sound than its predecessor. Neil Young also wrote several of the songs. It instantly became a No.1 hit. Shortly after this success, pressures from within caused the band to break up and all of its members pursued their own solo careers.
All four reformed the band in 1988, to record 'American Dream'. In 1990 they recorded 'Live it up' and 'After the storm' in 1994, which was not very well received. They last toured the US in 1999 in support of their last album 'Looking Forward'. Neil Young has had some considerable success as a solo artist and is still an influence today. In fact, he is about to start a European tour, appearing in this country during June (2001).
Joni Mitchell was originally based in New York, performing in many of the bars and clubs there. At the suggestion of her manager she moved to southern California, late in 1967. She moved in with David Crosby who helped promote her. During this time, her song "Both Sides Now" was a top ten hit for Judy Collins. By early 1968 she was with Graham Nash and toured as the opening act for Crosby, Stills and Nash. She was due to appear at Woodstock, but could not make it because of the awful traffic problems at the time. She did, however, write the wonderful song "Woodstock", which was a hit for CSN and others. She appeared at the troubled Isle of Wight festival in 1970.
She has recorded many innovative albums, since then, often dramatically changing her style. She is also a talented and prolific artist, with her artworks adorning many gallery walls.
I was privileged to see Joni Mitchell at Wembley Arena, around the time of the release of 'Court and Spark'. She was on top form, with a marvellous line up of musicians behind her. However, the best section of the night was when she bowed to audience pressure, sent the band off stage and performed some of the 'old favourite' songs with just her own acoustic backing. Possibly one of the first 'unplugged' sets ever!
I can remember hearing the first CSN album in 1969 and was immediately knocked out by the marvellous soaring harmonies. It was also quite innovative, as no - one else had fused folk and rock so well. Of course, we had Fairport Convention but they had more of a bias towards the folk content of their music. Crosby, Stills and Nash infused the most wonderful hard rock riffs into what were almost traditional folk songs.
Neil Youngs' 'After the Goldrush' was also a very innovative album and a huge success. It certainly set the seal on his solo career. The solo efforts of the others were less successful. I can remember seeing CSN in concert, also at Wembley Arena, some years after their original success and they were still quite impressive. But then I am a fan.
The Official CSNY Website is a good starting point for anyone who wants to find out more about this great band. Possibly of most interest will be the 'Family Tree', which shows just how interleaved the careers of the various band members were. This website is, in fact, supported and run by Artist Direct , as mentioned below. This does seem to be quite a commercial website, as there is no opportunity missed to try and sell the visitor something. For example, the very first section of the index is the merchandising 'Store' area.
4 Way Site. This site compliments the above very well. It is also a site dedicated to CSNY and a very good source of news and rumours, with a comprehensive list of cover bands worldwide. It also has a database containing lots of reprinted articles, from every decade. This site is managed by two Dutch fans, Jeroen Mol and Dolf van Stijgeren. They state that they created the website because "we simply missed a CSN(&Y) website with a good overview of different (interesting!) topics. Hopefully you'll find yours...." (29/03/01).
This website is much more of a 'fanzine' than the above. In fact, it is non-profitmaking, which is evidenced by it's policy of ploughing profits, from bookselling, via Amazon, back into the website.
The Unofficial Neil Young Site This really is a most excellent site, with a brilliant lyrics and discography section. It is very well constructed and is extremely visual. If you want to learn more about Neil Young, then this is the place for you!
This site was originally created by Kimmo Saaskilahti, with lots of help from a large list of people, who are also fans. When I visited this website (29/03/01), They had had an incredible 2,261,409 visitors since 1998. I could find no instance of anything sold for profit here. They appear to have a similar deal with Amazon, as the above site. A real labour of love!
Joni Mitchell.com is another terrific website that is lovingly tended by music archivist Wally Breese and was established in 1995. Mr Breese is most obviously her No.1 fan. The site has a very comprehensive spread of sections. Again, this has several interesting areas, including one on her contributions to other performers' albums. I certainly had no idea of how much collaboration that there had been.
There is a good section on the guitar tunings used by Joni. She is, in fact, one of the most expert users of this rather esoteric musical technique. It is a must for anyone trying to recreate her sound. Also, a large section on lyrics should keep most people happy.
All profits made from the sale of books, prints and CD's go towards the expenses of running the website. Again, no evidence of commercialism here. Purely, a website for fans, produced by a fan.
The Allmusic Guide is an excellent website for anyone requiring a 'reference book' for information on performers in all musical genres. It is comprehensively cross-referenced and very well laid out. There are no gimmicks, only lots of information, including biographies and discographies.
The Allmusic Guide is part of the All Media Guide, which, according to it's corporate information section, is "The worlds largest and most comprehensive entertainment database for music, videos, DVD's and video games, All Media Guide offers expert reviews, biographies, ratings, images, titles, credits and thousands of descriptive catalogues." (29/03/01).
Customers licence AMG content "to drive online sales of music, videos and video games." These customers include such companies as Barnes and Noble, CD Now, Blockbuster and Yahoo!.
Artist Direct This serves a similar purpose to the above, but with a huge number of links for each artist. The ARTISTdirect Network states that " The Network is designed to provide multi-media music entertainment, news and information, create music communities to facilitate interaction between artists and fans, and provide exclusive music and merchandise direct from the artists themselves". (29/03/01)
This appears to be the most commercial of all the sites, with merchandising being at the forefront. However, it makes no attempt to hide this fact. It is a very professional website.
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