Graham Nash - Biography
By Nick Castro
Graham Nash is a is one of the more famous singers to emerge from the 60's pop rock field. Born in 1942 in England, Nash began his professional career with The Hollies. He also was known for his work with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, as a solo artist and as the boyfriend of Joni Mitchell while living in Laurel Canyon. He has also become famous, both for his photography and for his involvement in digital fine art prints with his company, Nash Editions.
The Hollies began in Manchester by Graham Nash and Allan Clarke. The two were old school friends and had played in several skiffle groups together in the late 50's. They enjoyed some success with their various groups and their last, The Deltas was later transformed into The Hollies. The band became quickly popular in England, on par with The Beatles in their early days. Their first albums were Here I Go Again (1964 - Parlophone), In The Hollies Style (1964 - Parlophone) and Hollies (1965 - Parlophone). They began to tour the US as well as gain notoriety there, and became known as a bit of a bubble gum group, but one with extraordinary harmonies. Although they were enjoying tremendous success, both at home and abroad, Nash was becoming fed up with their blatant commercialism and he soon left the group to move to America and pursue other ventures. Although before he left, he recorded several other Hollies albums, including Would You Believe (1966 - Parlophone), For Certain Because (1966 - Parlophone), Would You Believe (1967 - Parlophone), Evolution (1967 - Parlophone), often called a pop psych masterpiece and the album Butterfly (1967 - Parlophone).
Once Nash had moved to Los Angeles, it did not take long for Nash to meet the leftover members of the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. He moved to Laurel Canyon, started smoking marijuana with people, like the aforementioned peoplet, and Mama Cass and soon met the lovely young singer Joni Mitchell. Nash and Mitchell soon became romantically involved. They used to race to the piano, to each work on their songs, and this proved to be the time that changed Nash's life. Leaving the Hollies was a big move for Nash, but one that paid off. Soon Nash, was singing with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Together they formed the supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash, which would become icons of the 60's folk rock movement. It was not long before David Geffen, who was managing the group through the William Morris Agency, got the band signed to Atlantic, who would later distribute Geffen's Asylum Records as well. The band would perform at both Woodstock and the Altamont Speedway show. Nash has made a number of albums with the groups including Crosby, Still & Nash (1969 - Atlantic) and Deja Vu (1970 - Atlantic). The group has maintained iconic status for the last 40 years and still perform, periodically.
Nash was soon ready to go it alone and he released the album Songs For Beginners (1971 - Atlantic), which he recorded shortly after his breakup with Mitchell. The album also reflects much of the political and social change that was happening at the time. Nash had been spending time in San Francisco and was becoming involved in the political change that was sweeping the country. This was reflected in songs like "We Can Change the World" and "Military Madness". Nash's debut album featured musicians like Rita Coolidge, David Crosby, Phil Lesh, David Lindley and Jerry Garcia.
Much of the 70's wee occupied, for Nash, by his work with CSN but he did release Wild Tales (1973 - Atlantic), which though a strong record, was partially overlooked due to his work with CSN. The album, once again, features many of Nash's famous friends, including Neil Young, Mitchell, Dave Mason and Crosby. The remainder of the 70's was spent working, albeit intermittently due to tensions amongst personnel, with CSN. It would not be until 1979 that Nash would release his next solo album.
Earth & Sky (1979 - EMI), was Nash's third solo effort, which once again finds Nash amongst giants of the folk rock genre, including Crosby, Jackson Browne and Joe Walsh. Song of Nash's finest songs appear on this record, such as "Skychild", "Magical Child" and the title track "Earth and Sky". Originally, this album was supposed to be a duo record with Crosby, but due to Crosby's problems with drugs, the album became a solo one. Unfortunately the album was largely a financial failure, selling worse than any of Nash's records in the past. His album not only sold poorly, but was ill-recieved in the media as well.
Nash had also become a citizen of the United States the prior year. He remained politically active throughout the era, even helping to found the Musicians United for Safe Energy, along with Browne, Bonnie Rait and John Hall. They were an anti-nuclear group formed after the Three Mile Island accident. Nash appeared on the No Nukes album, and at the concert, alongside Poco, James Talyor, Jesse Colin Young, Browne, and the Doobie Brothers.
In the early 80's Nash released the album Daylight Again (1982 - Atlantic) with CSN. Though Crosby was barley sober long enough to contribute to the album, and if fact Art Garfunkel recorded some of his parts, the album is still a solid and coherent one. Nash contributes the songs "Wasted on the Way" and "Into the Darkness". The former song was a mild hit for the group and helped to remind people of the Nash songwriting talents. Nash released the album Innocent Eyes (1986 - Atlantic), which his last for a long while, until 2002's Songs for Survivors (2002 - Digital Sound).
Although Nash maintains somewhat of a consistent touring schedule, he mainly works on his photography these days. He has been published in several books of photography and runs a digital printing house as well. nash is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is a Grammy Award winner. He also continues to lobby for causes he believes in. He is truly a modern day renaissance man.