Large chunks of the story of Crosby Stills Nash & Young are already well-known, but this doesn’t detract from Peter Doggett’s biography of the band. Some parts of the history of the band have been retold so many times that the facts have become blurred. Who first named Buffalo Springfield, for example? Doggett gives the various claimants space, and then moves on.
What is undoubtedly true is that there was an immense amount of talent up in the canyons (Laurel, Topanga, etc) above LA in the late 60s and throughout the 70s, with many musicians and artists who went on to become household names living in the area and bouncing ideas off each other. It was up there that CSN first sang together and discovered their magic harmonies. Their egos were massive. They thought they were changing the world. CSN&Y were fairly typical, in this respect. They consumed massive amounts of drugs, and things didn’t turn sour until cocaine became the recreational drug of choice.
I’m not a particularly big fan of CSN&Y’s music, but I love reading about this period in rock music history, and have written about it before. CSN&Y were one of the first ‘supergroups’ made up of notable individuals from other groups. They argued a lot, they fell out a lot, and they made some pretty good music on the way.