Biographies & Memoirs


Writing about the music of one’s youth was a dream project. Given how much time has elapsed since 1970, it was also a challenge. Memories are hazy, conflicting stories abound. To ensure as much accuracy as possible forty years on, I relied on a combination of firsthand, primary-source interviews, seemingly accurate news accounts of the time, and as much corroboration (from multiple sources) as possible.

In the main, this book is a result of interviews conducted in person, by phone, and by e-mail between November 2008 and September 2010. For starters, I have to thank David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills, each gracious enough to allow me to dredge through this turbulent time for them by way of in-person and telephone interviews and e-mail follow-ups. As much as they probably didn’t relish talking about their ups and downs in 1970, they did it genially and patiently. I thank them for their time.

For their insights, memories, and recall, thank you to Allan Arkush, Peter Asher, Bob Balaban, Johny (formerly Johnny) Barbata, Stephen Barncard, Joel Bernstein, Jacob Brackman, Bonnie Bramlett, John Brower, Peter Brown, Vincent Bugliosi, Gerald Casale, Kip Cohen, Rita Coolidge, Stan Cornyn, Charlie Daniels, Clive Davis, Richard DiLello, Robert Drew, John Eastman, Michael Finnigan, John Fischbach, Linda Garfunkel, Charles Grodin, Bill Halverson, David Hawk, Jimi Hazel, Monte Hellman, Arthur Janov, Vivian Janov, Alan Katowitz, Jim Keltner, Danny Kortchmar, Russell Kunkel, John Kurlander, Michael Lang, Richard Langham, Mort Lewis, Nils Lofgren, Mike Medavoy, Abbot Mills, Essra Mohawk, Terry David Mulligan, Chris O’Dell, Tom O’Neal (né Gundelfinger), Jonny Podell, Charles John Quarto, Frank Rich, Dan Richter, Susan Martin Robbins, Maggie Roche, Terre Roche, Amalie Rothschild, Calvin Samuel (formerly Samuels), John Scher, Sidney Schnoll, Leland Sklar, Joe Smith, Mark Spector, Toni Stern, Ron Stone, Barbara Stowe, Robert Stowe, Michael Tannen, Dallas Taylor, Joseph Turrin, Klaus Voormann, Paul Watts, Alan White, Nurit Wilde, Rudy Wurlitzer, and Peter Yarrow.

The James Taylor and Livingston Taylor comments are outtakes from two long interviews I conducted with them in 2001 for a magazine article on James. Larry Knechtel and Ben Keith, musicians who combined consummate skill with splendid humility, both passed away shortly after I spoke with them, and my condolences goes out to their families.

Thank you to Susan Braudy, Ray Connolly, Ben Fong-Torres, Ellen Sander, and Ritchie Yorke for documenting the times, the music, and the people behind them—and then helping me relive the era through their memories, insights, and transcripts. Henry Diltz was generous with his time, memories, journal entries, and remarkable photo archive.

Dave Zimmer deserves special mention for his friendship, advice, and patience with all my annoying phone calls and e-mails. His detailed, year-by-year chronicle, Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography, is the required text for current or future historians of the band and the scene that created them. Our mutual friend Raymond Foye was also a supportive and helpful pal in this process, as was the legendary Debbie Gold, whose recurring refrain—“Is there any other way I can help?”—is rarely heard music to the ears of authors and historians.

For helping me reach out to the appropriate parties or assisting in various ways, thank you, Malcolm Addey, Andy Adelewitz, Jeff Albright, Tony Arancio, Lisa Arzt, Jane Ayer, Nick Bailey, Tonya Bell-Green at Carnegie Hall, Gene Bowen, Kelly Bowen, Todd Brodginski, Christoph Buerger, Bud Buschardt, Frank Carrado, Atty Castle, Kay Clary at BMI, Liz Campanile, Tom Cording at Sony, Charles Cross, Michelle Delgado, Donna Dickman, Mika El-Baz, Jason Elzy, Denis Farley, Heidi Ellen Robinson Fitzgerald, Jim Flammia, Michael Fremer, Roger Friedman, Brian Galindo, Rick Gershon, Jill Gillett at Paradigm, Steve Gillette, Erica Hagen, Mike Heatley, Kathy Heintzelman, Meghan Helsel, Martha Hertzberg, David Hochman, Mike Holtzman, Michael Jensen, Jeff Jones at Apple, Meghan Kehoe, Harvey Kleinman at Pryor Cashman, Steve Knopper, Candace Lake, Evan Lamberg, Joe Lawrence, Diane Levinson, Susan Makarichez, Bob Merlis, Buddha and Cree Miller, Ryan Moore, Nelly Neben, Susan Novak, Mollie O’Neal, Binky Philips, Niki Roberton, Drew Rosenfeld, Richard Sandford, Gigi Semone, Adam Sharp, Bill Siegmund at the Audio Engineering Society, Susan Smith, Jim Steinblatt at ASCAP, Ken Stowar of CIUT, Gary Strobl, Anya Strzemien, Paula Szeigis, Alison Teal, Mary Tower, Traci Thomas, Yolanda Vega, Christina Voormann, Jonathan Wolfson, and Josh Young. Despite his insanely busy schedule, Bruce Feiler once again took the time to offer advice and wise counsel.

With her customary thoroughness and expediency, Anna Brenner excavated plenty of terrific archival material while attending to her burgeoning directorial career. For additional research assistance, many thanks to Lee Abrams; Pete Asch at the New York University Archives; Jennifer Burke at the Selective Service System; Gordon Carmadelle at Musicians Local 47; David Coleman at the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia; Claude Hall; Dan Levy; Chris Miller; Sean O’Heir; David Priest, who helped me navigate the National Archives in London; my old friend and Beatle and Dylan expert Steve Schwartz; Larry Shannon; and Tom Tierney at Sony.

At Rolling Stone, many thanks to Will Dana, Jason Fine, Jonathan Ringen, Michael Endelman, and Nathan Brackett for the work, support, and extra time they afforded me to complete this book. Also at RS, thanks to Brian Hiatt and Andy Greene for sharing their thoughts and notes and to Alison Weinflash for the back issues on CD-ROM, which saved me days of library time. Michele Romero’s determined, exhaustive archival dig into numerous photo archives resulted in the terrific photos inside.

My agent Erin Hosier of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (no Nash or Young) was supportive from the moment I e-mailed her with the idea for this book. Writers can hope for nothing more than Erin’s energy and enthusiasm. Ben Schafer at Da Capo was again an encouraging and sharp editor, always up for a chat and always knowing when to ask (or not) for updates. For the third time in my career, Martha Trachtenberg brought her astute copyediting skills to one of my manuscripts, from which it emerged unquestionably improved. Thanks to Kathleen Kelly for the extra pair of eyes. Many thanks to Marco Pavia, Kate Burke, and everyone at Da Capo and the Perseus Books Group.

Music has been a part of my family life for as long as I can recall. My mother, Raymonde, and my late father, Cliff, constantly played records on the family stereo in our New Jersey living room, and my sisters Linda Virginia and Colette initiated me into the music covered in this book by way of the LPs and singles wafting out of their bedrooms. My wife, Maggie, helped me conceive this project and, with her usual wisdom, astuteness, and breadth of knowledge, kept me on message when it came to the themes and presentation. Our daughter Maeve still doesn’t know what to make of those large, circular black objects called “records” floating around the house. But she knows they have something to do with music, and that’s good enough for me.

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