by Graham Nash

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Review

I normally avoid rock n roll biographies, but after I heard Graham Nash interviewed on Terry Gross, I decided to give this one a whirl. Nash is a devotee of what Dunstan Ramsay called "the Plain Style," and you will not find a lot of analysis within this book. However, Nash does keep things moving, and his life is remarkable in many ways. For me, the best part was the beginning, when he and his mates started playing in social clubs and pubs in Manchester at age 13. Nash was a boy and still is a man bestowed with confidence and determination, as well as a truly magical ability to be in the right place at the right time. One can find much fascinating musical history here, and the man and the music are never far apart. As a member of the Hollies, Nash was part of the British Invasion and coming up at the same time as the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, etc. When he moved to the U.S. in 1968, he became a hippie, formed Crosby, Stills & Nash (later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), lived with Joni Mitchell, and was again part of a remarkable, burgeoning music scene. Nash was a member of a successful band when he moved to the U.S., but it took the Yanks to fully expand his mind and release his deeper songwriting potential. He smoked his first joint with David Crosby in L.A. and took his first hit of acid with Cass Elliot in a Chicago hotel room. By the end, I was a bit tired of CSNY, which Nash refers to repeatedly (and correctly) as highly dysfunctional. I was rather astonished to find that the band has never officially disbanded, and they still play and perform together on occasion. Despite this minor flaw, students of rock n roll history will find much of interest here.

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