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Yavuz Baydar
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piqer: Yavuz Baydar
Saturday, 12 August 2017

No Matter What, It is Those Stephen Stills Songs That Keep Us Alive

Few musicians in the history of the past 50 years the persistence, originality and virtuosity that Stephen Stills possesses. He is simply one of the few geniuses in rock, but also more than that: With a sharp mind and the heart of a poet, he was one of the witnesses of his time, its dreams and nightmares. He is also a top figure of the counter-culture in the sixties; a composer whose songs have remained the anthems of resistance to war, evil, human destruction.

Somewhat obscured by the others from his time, such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon, Roger Waters, Patti Smith or Joni Mitchell, he and his music world deserves attention.

Stills, now seventy-two, has often been named one of the top rock guitarists of all time and is the only musician to have recorded with both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton on the same album—his first solo LP (1970). His work has sprung from every stripe of American music—blues, folk, rock, “songs with roots,” as he has put it; he was “Americana” and “singer-songwriter” before those terms were used. 

The world knows him as part of the monumental rock quartet—Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—whose time was just right when they joined forces to sing those unforgettable songs that echoed the dreams of a better world. CSNY left a legacy impossible to challenge ever since, although it was because of four diverse and strong personalities short-lived.

To those looking on, it seemed Nash had the organizational skills; Crosby had the intuition; Stills had the musical chops and the brilliant songwriting; Neil Young—like a comet zooming in and out of orbit—had the poetry and mystique and artistic searching but seldom joined the choirboy harmonies at which the other three excelled. “Neil wants to be Tony Orlando and we’re Dawn,” joked Stills in the 2008 documentary CSNY Déjà Vu. 

Lorrie Moore here plunges deep into the world of this wonderful artist.

No Matter What, It is Those Stephen Stills Songs That Keep Us Alive
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Comments 2
  1. christoph weigel
    christoph weigel · 11 months ago

    i recommend reading the piqd article while listening to the album 'super session' ( it lets you experience the ambiguity of 'the summer of love' even when you wete born 80+.

    1. christoph weigel
      christoph weigel · 11 months ago

      wete = were (post edits unfortunately still not possible)