CSN&Y…What If They Had Stayed Together

Crosby Stills Nash & Young had a huge hit with their album Deja Vu in 1970.  They split to do solo albums, and didn’t get back together (except to tour) until a CSN reunion in 1977.  But what if they had continued making group albums after Deja Vu?  By combining their talents and best songs, the band’s albums would have been even more popular than their solo efforts, and their songs more widely known.  CSN&Y’s place as one of the greatest rock bands would be completely solidified.

As fans know, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young didn’t always release songs in the order they were written and recorded.  Neil Young recently released some great recordings he made 45 years ago!  So, at a pace of one album per year (and using some chronological flexibility), here are CSN&Y fantasy albums.  Those of you familiar with the songs will be aware of the effort to place them in an order for musical flow and often with lyrical associations.  A few of the recordings are included (the audio is right on this site).

1971…After The Gold Rush

Neil Young’s title fit perfectly after the group’s initial rush of popularity, so it’s the title of CSN&Y’s follow-up album.  Here are the songs.

Side One:

  1. Love The One You’re With (Stills)
  2. Tell Me Why (Young)
  3. Laughing (Crosby)
  4. Ohio (CSNY)
  5. Find The Cost Of Freedom (CSNY)
  6. Chicago (Nash)

Side Two:

  1. Sugar Babe (Stills)
  2. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Young)
  3. Simple Man (Nash)
  4. Southern Man (Young)
  5. Do For The Others (Stills)
  6. After The Gold Rush (Young)

This album would have been a worthy next album for CSN&Y.  The album starts with “Love The One You’re With”, which has all three of CSN on it.  Since the band was now providing new albums to their record company, there would have been no need for the So Far hits collection.  “Ohio” and “Find The Cost Of Freedom” would have been on this album.  Most of the other songs are from the first solo albums by the group members.   In the early 70s both Stills and Young were very prolific songwriters, so they have a strong showing throughout these six albums.  Here’s Stephen Stills’ “Do For The Others”:

1972…Change Partners

Side One:

  1. Change Partners (Stills)
  2. Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Young)
  3. Traction In The Rain (Crosby)
  4. Nothing To Do But Today (Stills)
  5. Out On The Weekend (Young)
  6. Sleep Song (Nash)

Side two:

  1. Don’t Look At My Shadow (Stills)
  2. Alabama (Young)
  3. I Used To Be A King (Nash)
  4. The Lee Shore (CSNY)
  5. Know You Got To Run (Stills)
  6. Birds (It’s Over) [Young & Nash]

This album mostly has songs from the first and second solo albums the artists recorded after Deja Vu.  It would have kept the momentum going for this super group.  The song “Change Partners” has all of CSN on it.  Graham Nash says it’s CSN&Y’s theme song, since they were always changing alliances within the group.  There’s a cool stripped-down version of “Birds” that’s included with the Deja Vu box set.  The song has Graham Nash harmonizing with Neil Young.  It would be a good closer for this album, with the song’s last words being…”It’s over”.  Here it is:

1973…Heart Of Gold

Side One:

  1. It Doesn’t Matter (Stills)
  2. Heart Of Gold (Young)
  3. Immigration Man (Crosby & Nash)
  4. The Wall Song (Crosby & Nash)
  5. The Needle & The Damage Done (Young)
  6. Blues Man (Stills)

Side Two:

  1. So Begins The Task (Stills)
  2. Harvest (Young)
  3. Right Now (Stills)
  4. Games (Crosby & Nash)
  5. Southbound Train (Crosby & Nash)
  6. Journey Through The Past (Young)

Heart Of Gold is named for the #1 hit, and it would have been an amazingly popular album with this killer collection of songs.  They’re some of the very best cuts from three solo albums that all made the top five on Billboard’s album chart.  “Journey Through The Past” is the studio version from the Harvest sessions.  It was on Neil Young Archives I.  This album almost certainly would have had multiple weeks at #1.  Here”s that version of “Journey Through The Past”:

1974…The Bridge          (Cover photo by Jeannette Bausch)

Side One:

  1. Johnny’s Garden (Stills)
  2. Old Man (Young)
  3. Page 43 (Crosby & Nash)
  4. Do You Remember The Americans (Stills)
  5. Prison Song (Nash, CSNY version)
  6. The Bridge (Young)

Side Two:

  1. Song Of Love (Stills)
  2. Love Is A Rose (Young)
  3. Where Will I Be (Crosby & Nash)
  4. Colorado (Stills)
  5. Another Sleep Song (Nash)
  6. A Man Needs A Maid (Young)

The Bridge completes the use of songs from the Manassas and Harvest albums.   Some of the tracks that make this strong are “Johnny’s Garden”, “Old Man”, “Prison Song”, and “Love Is A Rose”, but they’re all good.  “The Bridge” is the studio version (minus the studio chatter) from Neil Young Archives II.  Here it is:

1975…Down The Road

Side One:

  1. Walk On (Young)
  2. Down The Road (Stills)
  3. Homeward Through The Haze (CSNY)
  4. See The Sky About To Rain (Young)
  5. Shuffle Just As Bad (Stills)
  6. And So It Goes (Crosby Nash & Young)

Side Two:

  1. Love/Art Blues (CSNY)
  2. As I Come Of Age (CSN)
  3. Tonight’s The Night (Young)
  4. Witching Hour (Stills)
  5. Through My Sails (CSNY)
  6. Critical Mass/Wind On The Water (Crosby & Nash)

“Love/Art Blues” sounds almost studio-quality on their CSNY 1974 live album, and could have been used for this album.  Here’s the song:

“Witching Hour” is a song Stills did in the early 70s with Manassas.  It was released decades later on the Pieces album.  Down The Road is a really good collection, with five songs that were intended for the Human Highway album.

(This photo was going to be the Human Highway cover.)

1976…Human Highway

Side One:

  1. See The Changes…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (CSN Box Set)
  2. Human Highway…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (Archives II)
  3. Taken At All…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (CSN Box Set)
  4. Long May You Run…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (Decade)
  5. Stateline Blues…Stephen Stills (Illegal Stills)
  6. Out Of The Darkness…Crosby & Nash (Whistling Down The Wire)

Side Two:

  1. Treetop Flyer…Stephen Stills (1976 CSNY sessions)
  2. Time After Time…Crosby & Nash (Whistling Down The Wire)
  3. Midnight On The Bay…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (Archives II)
  4. Black Coral…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (Stills Box Set)
  5. Little Blind Fish…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (1976 CSNY sessions)
  6. Hawaiian Sunrise…Crosby Stills Nash & Young (CSNY 1974)

Human Highway was the “lost” album that was supposed to be the follow-up to Deja Vu.  This version only uses songs still available to them in 1976.  Other songs originally meant for Human Highway were used on earlier albums.  Still’s “Treetop Flyer” and Crosby’s  “Little Blind Fish” were recorded during the 1976 sessions for this album, and probably would have been finalized.  Here’s what “Treetop Flyer” sounded like in 1976 (live):

CSN got back together for real in 1977.  Their CSN album was solid, and only included one song, that was originally recorded for Human Highway, “See The Changes”, but it’s a different version.

For the complete Human Highway article (now with audio), here’s the link:


This “What if” article is for pretty hardcore Crosby Stills Nash & Young fans.  Hope you enjoyed it, and maybe you’ll try these playlists, or make your own CSN&Y fantasy albums.  Mixing the artists and songs this way creates a refreshing musical variety that’s impossible on solo albums.

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