It’s been a year – and now summer — of 50th anniversaries, and this month marks an important one in the saga of CSNY: the first time the quartet began rehearsing and recording after the addition of Neil Young. According to the earliest studio paperwork I tracked down, the quartet assembled at Wally Heider’s LA studio in the late afternoon of July 21, 1969, to record versions of “Helpless,” Terry Reid’s “Horses Through a Rainstorm” and a Crosby track called, in the log, “Boat Song” (most likely “The Lee Shore”). I can’t say for sure whether that session was their first as a foursome, but it’s surely one of the earliest. Their first-ever tour would start in August 1969, with Woodstock being, of course, their “second gig,” as Stills told the crowd. You can hear their complete, unedited Woodstock set when it’s released next month on a 38-disc Woodstock box. The version of “49 Bye-Byes,” which has rarely been bootlegged, is pretty remarkable.
As always, Rolling Stone, my home base, has been keeping me happily productive. Check out the “Journalism” tab to see my oral history of Santana and Rob Thomas’ “Smooth,” among other recent stories. And people are still writing about, and interviewing me about, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup. Thanks to No Depression for calling it “the most wide-ranging and in-depth treatment we have of CSNY” and for PBS’s Metro Focus for having me on (that link will be up as well).
On August 10, I’ll be hand for the wonderful Authors Night in East Hampton, New York. The annual event is a benefit for the East Hampton Library, and a slew of authors—including Robert Caro, Douglas Brinkley, Dave Cullen, Candace Bushnell, Vicky Ward, Dave Itzkoff, Rosanne Cash and, yes, me—will be on hand to sign books and say hi. I’ve participated several times already, and it’s always a blast to meet so many book lovers (and fellow authors). Come and say hi! Here’s the website for ticket info: https://authorsnight.org