Legendary artist Graham Nash is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and with the Hollies. He was also inducted twice into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a GRAMMY Award winner.
Towering above virtually everything that Graham Nash has accomplished in his first seventy-five years on this planet, stands the litany of songs that he has written and introduced to the soundtrack of the past half-century. His remarkable body of work, beginning with his contributions to the Hollies opus from 1964 to ’68, including “Stop Stop Stop,” “Pay You Back With Interest,” “On A Carousel,” “Carrie Anne,” “King Midas In Reverse,” and “Jennifer Eccles,” continues all the way to This Path Tonight (2016), his most recent solo album.
The original classic union of Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young) lasted but twenty months. Yet their songs are lightning rods embedded in our DNA, starting with Nash’s “Marrakesh Express,” “Pre-Road Downs” (written for then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell), and “Lady Of the Island,” from the first Crosby, Stills & Nash LP (1969). On CSNY’s Déjà Vu (1970), Nash’s “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” beseeched us to hold love tightly, to fend off the madness that was on its way.
Overlapping CSNY, Nash’s solo career debuted with Songs For Beginners (1971), whose “Chicago/We Can Change the World” and “Military Madness” were fueled by the Long Hot Summer, the trial of the Chicago Eight, and the ongoing Vietnam war. Songs from that LP stayed in Nash’s concert sets for years including “I Used To Be A King” and “Simple Man”. His next album, Wild Tales (1974), addressed (among other issues) unfair jail terms for minor drug offenses (“Prison Song”), unfair treatment of Vietnam vets (“Oh! Camil”), the unfairness of fame (“You’ll Never Be the Same”), and his muse, Joni (“Another Sleep Song”).
The most resilient, long-lived and productive partnership to emerge from the CSNY camp launched with the eponymously titled Graham Nash/David Crosby (1972), bookended by Nash’s “Southbound Train” as the opening track and “Immigration Man” as the closer. The duo contributed further to the soundtrack of the ’70s on their back-to-back albums, Wind On the Water (1975) and Whistling Down the Wire (1976).
On the CSN reunion studio LP (1977), Nash took top honors with “Just A Song Before I Go” (written in the space of one hour, and a Top 10 hit single). Lightning struck once more on CSN’s Daylight Again (1982), on which Nash penned their second (and final) Top 10 hit, “Wasted On the Way,” lamenting the energy, time and love lost by the group due to years of internecine quarrels.
Nash’s passionate voice continues to be heard in support of peace, and social and environmental justice. The No Nukes/Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts he organized with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in 1979 remain seminal benefit events. In 2011, Nash was instrumental in bringing MUSE back to the forefront with a concert to benefit Japan disaster relief and groups promoting non-nuclear energy worldwide. That same year, he and Crosby were among the many musicians who made their way to the Occupy Wall Street actions in lower Manhattan.
In September 2013, Nash released his long-awaited autobiography Wild Tales, which delivers an engrossing, no-holds-barred look back at his remarkable career and the music that defined a generation. The book landed him on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and was released in paperback in late 2014.
In recognition for his contributions as a musician and philanthropist, Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth. While continually building his musical legacy, Nash is also an internationally renowned photographer and visual artist. With his photography, Nash has drawn honors including the New York Institute of Technology’s Arts & Technology Medal and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the Hollywood Film Festival’s inaugural Hollywood Visionary Cyber Award. His work is collected in the book Eye to Eye: Photographs by Graham Nash; he curated others’ work in the volume Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash (2009).
Nash’s work has been shown in galleries and museums worldwide. His company Nash Editions’ original IRIS 3047 digital printer and one of its first published works—Nash’s 1969 portrait of David Crosby— is now housed in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of his revolutionary accomplishments in the fine arts and digital printing world.