Graham Nash tells several back stories about the formation of Crosby, Stills, and Nash and that legendary debut forty-five years ago in his entertaining autobiography Wild Tales. Regarding their unique triad harmonies first displayed in such Hall of Fame classics as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, “You Don’t Have to Cry”, “Wooden Ships”,”Guinevere”, and “Marrakesh Express”, Graham was so excited yet confident that their newly-discovered sound was going to be big that Nash arranged for the trio to audition live in front of Apple Records co-owner Beatle George Harrison and label Head of A&R Peter Asher. The trio received a prompt, polite letter the very next day declining to sign Crosby, Stills, and Nash because “…it would not be a good fit.”
Okay then, whatever.
Nash had become acquainted with the uber-popular American duo Simon and Garfunkel, who had been very encouraging to Graham as he considered leaving his English boyhood chums in the Hollies and following a similar path as the New York duo had blazed so successfully by combining the best attributes of folk, rock, and literary lyrics to rival the Beatles then on the pop charts. Nash played the unreleased first Crosby, Stills, and Nash recordings at Paul Simon’s New York City apartment for both Art Garfunkel and Paul.
They didn’t love it.
According to Nash, things began looking up when he, Stephen Stills, and David Crosby stumbled across an abandoned house with an old maroon couch on the porch near where everybody lived in Topanga Canyon. Photographer Henry Diltz agreed that it was perfect for an album cover shot with the band perched on the couch. Except when they looked at the photo the next day, they realized that the trio was arranged out of order, left to right, from their chosen band name, so they headed back with the photographer to reshoot the cover photo.
When they arrived, the abandoned house on the corner from yesterday was gone. Finito. MIA. Bulldozed into rubble. You just can’t make this stuff up! –Redbeard