Bad Career Moves, Part 3

stephen_stills_med

Stephen Stills - No booty today!

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were huge stars and gods of the counterculture in the late 1960s, but what many have forgotten (or didn’t know) is that CSNY was also a so-called “supergroup.”  Graham Nash was in the second-wave British invasion band the Hollies, and David Crosby spent a few years in the original Byrds.  Stephen Stills and Neil Young were the twin towers of Buffalo Springfield, probably the finest American rock band ever.

For some reason, Nash was always considered the weak link in the group – although he wound up writing and singing most of CSNY’s hits (“Teach Your Children,” “Wasted On The Way,” “Our House”).  Crosby always kind of a loudmouth and his songs had no melody and made no sense.  Stills and Young were the guitarists, and they gave this group its rock and roll kick.

But CSNY didn’t really spend that much time together – after 1970’s Déjà Vu, the next time all four would appear on record together would be American Dream, 18 years later.  In the meantime Crosby and Nash would record together fitfilly and successfully … Stills and Young are a different story.

Stills’ solo albums during this period sound like ripoffs of Buffalo Springfield.  His songwriting got progressively worse after 1977’s CSN.  The low point probably came on his Thoroughfare Gap (1978) and the song “Can’t Get No Booty.”  This, from the same guy who wrote “For What It’s Worth”?

MP3: “Can’t Get No Booty” by Stephen Stills

Neil-Young

Neil Young - peace!

It was easy also to chart Neil Young’s slide – he rocked hard on Zuma (1975), got all folk-rock on Comes A Time (1978) and punked out on Rust Never Sleeps and Live Rust (both 1979).  In 1982, inspired by Devo’s electro-rock, Neil put out Trans with most of his vocals filtered through some electronic device to make him sound like a robot.  The record pissed off everyone, including his record label.  Neil even had the balls to cover his old Springfield tune, “Mr. Soul” (choke).   Neil’s next record would be the rockabilly Everybody’s Rockin‘, and his label sued him.  We had come a long way from Woodstock, brother.

MP3: “Mr. Soul” by Neil Young

MP3: “Sample and Hold” by Neil Young

Tomorrow: We can’t take too much more of this.  The worst rock star career decision of all time – you know what it is!

4 Responses to “Bad Career Moves, Part 3”

  1. I saw Neil on his Trans tour. I enjoyed it, strange and off-putting as it was.

  2. john zebrowski Says:

    C.S.N. have been reduced these days to the same status as Crazy Horse – patiently waiting in the shadows until Neil decides to dust them off and use them to tour and/or record whenever the ‘muse’ nudges him. Time has proven that Neil is the most relevant songwriter and musician from his era and that includes the remaining Beatles, Led Zepplin, the Stones, and pretty much anyone else for that matter. He is the standard to which todays bands look to as an example of how to have a long career on your own terms without selling out and becoming a joke (Dylan). Say what you want about his experiments, but along the way, he gained the respect of more fans and fellow artists than he lost and the ride is far from over!

  3. Have you heard this from Stills?
    Very obscure & absolutely horrible!
    http://anythinggoes-jazzme.blogspot.com/2009/07/stephen-stills-right-by-you.html

  4. 30daysout Says:

    Thank you swboy: As Leonard Pinth-Garnell on “Saturday Night Live” would say, “Exquisitely awful.”

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