Sunday, June 5, 2011

The #65 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era: Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Here's one of those albums that seems to get better every time you listen to it, and it checks in next at #65.

Crosby, Stills and Nash teamed up for what up to that time was the most successful association formed by members of other highly-successful groups.  David Crosby was with the Byrds, Stephen Stills was with Buffalo Springfield while Graham Nash was a member of the Hollies.  For this album, Neil Young joined the trio, although he insisted on maintaining a parallel career with his band Crazy Horse.  Young was also from Buffalo Springfield when Stills was with the group.  Young has over the years joined his former mates in concert appearances but still continues his independence.

Deja Vu contains the timeless song "Teach Your Children", "Woodstock", a song written by Joni Mitchell, and "Our House", the singles released from the album.  But this is one of those great albums that you can't fully appreciate by listening to singles--it's much more than that.  The group became known for their flawless harmonies, and right out of the bat they hit you with "Carry On".  I think it's still one of their best songs. 

Deja Vu was #1 for one week.  In one of the main statistics I look at very closely, it also was #2 for four weeks and #3 for four weeks.  Nine weeks in the Top 3 is much more significant than weeks at #1.  23 weeks in the Top 10 is more significant than a #1 album for 2 weeks that is out of the Top 10 and forgotten 8 weeks later.  Deja Vu also spent 97 weeks on the album chart and has sold 7 million copies to date.  It has an excellent Track Record* of 9.05.  That said, I'm going to be honest.  People have sent messages wondering what my choices for the Top 100 are.  I prefer the debut album by Crosby, Stills & Nash.  If this one is in the Top 100, and it probably deserves it, the first one should be higher.  But I'm not choosing the Top 100 Albums of All-Time*--the public did.  In any case, keep the album Crosby, Stills & Nash on your shopping list as well.

Deja Vu:
Side one
1.  "Carry On" (Stephen Stills) --4:26
2.  "Teach Your Children" (Graham Nash) --2:53
3.  "Almost Cut My Hair" (David Crosby) --4:31
4.  "Helpless" (Neil Young) --3:33
5.  "Woodstock" (Joni Mitchell) --3:54

Side two
1.  "Deja Vu" (Crosby) --4:12
2.  "Our House" (Nash) --2:59
3.  "4 + 20" (Stills) --2:04
4.  "Country Girl" ("Whiskey Boot Hill", "Down, Down, Down" and "Country Girl (I Think You're Pretty)") (Young) --5:11
5.  "Everybody I Love You" (Stills, Young) --2:21

Crosby played rhythm guitar, Stephen Stills played guitar, bas and keyboards, Nash played rhythm guitar and keyboards and Young played guitar, keyboards and harmonica.  Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead played pedal steel guitar on "Teach Your Children", John Sebastian of Lovin' Spoonful played harmonica on the title track, and CSNY got additional help from Dallas Taylor on drums and percussion and from Greg Reeves on bass. 
Deja Vu was recorded from July through December of 1969 at Wally Heider's Studio C in San Francisco and Heider's Studio III on Los Angeles.  CSNY produced their own album with Bill Halverson doing the engineering.  Gary Burden was the art designer.  The finished product was released March 11, 1970 on Atlantic Records.
Deja Vu is #65 All-Time.

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