Why Graham Nash Didn’t Want Neil Young in His Band
The incident took place after the 1968 release of the trio’s self-titled debut album, as they considered the challenges of touring.
“We knew exactly what we had,” Nash told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show. “We knew it was unique, we knew it was different, we know the vocal blend was fabulous – that nobody had heard anything like that – and we knew the songs were fine. When you make a record the obvious thing to do is go on the road, to promote the record and to get more experience. We realized that Stephen [Stills] really needed somebody to play against, as a lead guitar player, because he’d been used to playing against Neil in Buffalo Springfield, conversing with Neil via their electric guitars.”
Nash admitted that both he and David Crosby were aware that they “weren’t strong enough” as guitarists to deliver what Stills needed. However, he wasn’t impressed when Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun suggested Young was their man. “I’m not very happy about this,” he remembered thinking. “I didn’t think that we should mess around with the vocal blend that we’d created. … But I recognized that Stephen needed somebody to play off. So I decided one day on Bleecker Street in New York City, to go to breakfast with Neil Young.”
That was the moment that changed everything. “After that breakfast I would have made him president, even though he’s Canadian,” Nash laughed. “He was so funny and so direct and so refreshing that after that breakfast with Neil, he had my vote.”
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