Down-to-earth autobiography of one of the great voices and songwriters of classic rock.
Nash was raised in a Manchester, England, council house by working-class parents who allowed him to pursue his musical dreams rather than let him fall into the pattern—school, work, marriage, retirement, death—of so many of his fellow Mancunians. As a member of Crosby, Stills and Nash in the 1970s, he would note his narrow escape from that fate in the song “Cold Rain.” Nash was also fortunate to be a member of the Hollies just when London record company executives were falling all over themselves looking to duplicate the phenomenal success of Liverpool’s Beatles. With the Hollies, he honed his voice for harmony and his ear for the elements of a hit (including his 1968 classic “Carrie Anne”). But as the 1960s progressed and he developed a curiosity about art, drugs and big ideas, Nash grew apart from his old mates, especially as they failed to support his interest in nontraditional song approaches like the druggy pop of “Marrakech Express.” In Los Angeles, he fell in with a hipper crowd that included David Crosby, Stephen Stills and an intense Canadian-born genius named Joni Mitchell, who became his lover and muse (notably, in the monster hit “Our House”). Nash has some insightful things to say about that other Canadian-born genius Neil Young, as well as other lions of the period, including Cass Elliot, Rita Coolidge, Paul Simon, Ahmet Ertegun, Jackson Brown and others. Nash pulls no punches, shining light on his peers’ good and bad points (as well as his own), but he manages to come across as a solid, sensible, bighearted chap.
An entertaining, intimate portrait of rock music—and how it was made—in an age of excess.