11 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The depth and intensity of Graham Nash's 1971 solo debut reflect the change that was coming at him from all angles, especially his break-up with Joni Mitchell — the muse of "Wounded Bird." But opening with "Military Madness" sets the tone with some politically charged sentiment seeping in from his earthy recordings with CSN&Y, though it also bounces on a catchier pop sensibility culled from Nash's tenure with the Hollies. "Chicago" reveals Nash's penchant for pulling a pop song out of subject matter as dark as the Chicago Eight's trial and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in much the same way that Neil Young did with the Kent State Massacre in CSN&Y's "Ohio." Young plays piano on the twangy "Man In the Mirror" and on "Better Days," a triumphant tune that celebrates finding one's confidence in desperate times. Other notable guests include Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, David Crosby, Phil Lesh and some of the era's A-list studio guns. Nearly four decades after its release, this album is still so influential that artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Vetiver, Brendan Benson and others have recorded covers for Be Yourself, a tribute to Songs For Beginners.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The depth and intensity of Graham Nash's 1971 solo debut reflect the change that was coming at him from all angles, especially his break-up with Joni Mitchell — the muse of "Wounded Bird." But opening with "Military Madness" sets the tone with some politically charged sentiment seeping in from his earthy recordings with CSN&Y, though it also bounces on a catchier pop sensibility culled from Nash's tenure with the Hollies. "Chicago" reveals Nash's penchant for pulling a pop song out of subject matter as dark as the Chicago Eight's trial and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in much the same way that Neil Young did with the Kent State Massacre in CSN&Y's "Ohio." Young plays piano on the twangy "Man In the Mirror" and on "Better Days," a triumphant tune that celebrates finding one's confidence in desperate times. Other notable guests include Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, David Crosby, Phil Lesh and some of the era's A-list studio guns. Nearly four decades after its release, this album is still so influential that artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Vetiver, Brendan Benson and others have recorded covers for Be Yourself, a tribute to Songs For Beginners.

TITLE TIME

About Graham Nash

While his British Invasion peers were ripping it up with raw blues riffs, singer/songwriter Graham Nash was sculpting gorgeous harmonies. He's continued to spin lovely hooks for decades to follow, even long after embracing folk music's heart-on-sleeve immediacy. Born in Blackpool, England, in 1942, Nash turned The Hollies into hitmakers during the heyday of psychedelia, but there was already emotional depth hiding beneath the band's placid surface. Nash sought a more introspective path as the '70s loomed, moving to Los Angeles and teaming with fellow counterculture innovators David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young. Nash often played the supergroup's voice of romantic vulnerability as psych-rock wildness gave way to quiet rumination. Hymns to ever-fragile domestic bliss, like “Our House,” would define Nash for many listeners. But he also penned rocking political anthems like “Military Madness” and “Chicago” with an edge to match a tumultuous era—while at the same time lending his gentle whimsy to the band's sing-along radio smashes like “Marrakesh Express” and “Teach Your Children.” And even at his most personal, there is often still a hint of candied pop in Nash's singing—a lingering echo of the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and the other lush '50s balladeers he loves.

HOMETOWN
Blackpool, England
GENRE
Rock
BORN
February 2, 1942

Songs

Albums

Videos

Listeners Also Played