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Wild Tales
Cover of Wild Tales
Wild Tales
A Rock & Roll Life
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From Graham Nash—the legendary musician and founding member of the iconic bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies—comes a candid and riveting autobiography that belongs on the reading list of every classic rock fan.

Graham Nash's songs defined a generation and helped shape the history of rock and roll—he's written over 200 songs, including such classic hits as "Carrie Anne," "On A Carousel," "Simple Man," "Our House," "Marrakesh Express," and "Teach Your Children." From the opening salvos of the British Rock Revolution to the last shudders of Woodstock, he has rocked and rolled wherever music mattered. Now Graham is ready to tell his story: his lower-class childhood in post-war England, his early days in the British Invasion group The Hollies; becoming the lover and muse of Joni Mitchell during the halcyon years, when both produced their most introspective and important work; meeting Stephen Stills and David Crosby and reaching superstardom with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and his enduring career as a solo musician and political activist. Nash has valuable insights into a world and time many think they know from the outside but few have experienced at its epicenter, and equally wonderful anecdotes about the people around him: the Beatles, the Stones, Hendrix, Cass Elliot, Dylan, and other rock luminaries. From London to Laurel Canyon and beyond, Wild Tales is a revealing look back at an extraordinary life—with all the highs and the lows; the love, the sex, and the jealousy; the politics; the drugs; the insanity—and the sanity—of a magical era of music.

From Graham Nash—the legendary musician and founding member of the iconic bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies—comes a candid and riveting autobiography that belongs on the reading list of every classic rock fan.

Graham Nash's songs defined a generation and helped shape the history of rock and roll—he's written over 200 songs, including such classic hits as "Carrie Anne," "On A Carousel," "Simple Man," "Our House," "Marrakesh Express," and "Teach Your Children." From the opening salvos of the British Rock Revolution to the last shudders of Woodstock, he has rocked and rolled wherever music mattered. Now Graham is ready to tell his story: his lower-class childhood in post-war England, his early days in the British Invasion group The Hollies; becoming the lover and muse of Joni Mitchell during the halcyon years, when both produced their most introspective and important work; meeting Stephen Stills and David Crosby and reaching superstardom with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and his enduring career as a solo musician and political activist. Nash has valuable insights into a world and time many think they know from the outside but few have experienced at its epicenter, and equally wonderful anecdotes about the people around him: the Beatles, the Stones, Hendrix, Cass Elliot, Dylan, and other rock luminaries. From London to Laurel Canyon and beyond, Wild Tales is a revealing look back at an extraordinary life—with all the highs and the lows; the love, the sex, and the jealousy; the politics; the drugs; the insanity—and the sanity—of a magical era of music.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter1

    August 1968

    It always comes down to the music.

    I had a tune running through my head as my flight touched down a few minutes late at LAX. All my life I've had music in my head, but that night the tune (the theme from the TV series 77 Sunset Strip) was doing battle on my behalf, helping me fend off the other shit that was rattling around in there. For the past few months, my well-ordered world had been turned upside down, and throughout the long flight from London everything seemed to gang up on me. There was no escaping it in that crowded cabin. With few distractions, I'd taken stock of the difficult choices on my holy mess of a plate.

    How's this for starters: I was contemplating leaving my country, my marriage, my bank account, and my band--all at once! Any one of those would have been enough to put a grown man in the hole, but I was close to running the table.

    My band, the Hollies, and I had come to an impasse. We had grown up together, spent many years making music, writing songs, drinking and larking about; we'd had a fantastic string of hits, incredible success--but from where I stood we were growing apart. I'd moved on, I was headed in an exciting new direction, and my heart and soul weren't in the Hollies anymore.

    The same with my marriage. My wife, Rosie, and I had been drifting for some time. We both knew things were coming to an end. In fact, for the last six months, we'd started seeing other people. Now she was off in Spain chasing another man, and I was on my way to Los Angeles to visit a woman who had captured my heart.

    I was also in love with LA and the States. I'd known it from the moment I first set foot on American soil. It was the Promised Land, and I was drenched in the Hollywood scene--the music, the sun, the palm trees, the attitude, the looseness. The way people there asked me, "What do you think?" In England, nobody ever asked your opinion of anything. You learned to keep your business to yourself, to mind your p's and q's. In America it seemed like there were no rules, everything was up for grabs, and I loved the freedom of it. I wanted all of it for myself.

    No doubt about it, my life had gotten complicated. I was at a hell of a crossroads. There were plenty of unanswered questions. My plight became more apparent as I got off the plane and headed to the taxi stand. There was no point stopping for baggage. I had my guitar, that was it, that was all I had come with. Nothing else mattered. I was in America. I was going to see my new girlfriend, to be with Joni.

    The sun had just left the western sky as the cab crawled up Laurel Canyon, bathing the Hollywood Hills in the golden flush of summer. I got a great vibe every time I came up here. Only a few minutes from the madness of the Strip, but a world apart. There was a shabby hippie chicness to it, with crazy little houses on stilts teetering along each side of the twisty-turny road. It was a place where there were free-spirited people just like me doing the things that I wanted to do, being creative and making music. I felt the pull of Laurel Canyon, its community spirit. Man, it looked like home to me.

    We stopped in front of a small wooden house on Lookout Mountain Avenue. It wasn't a posh affair, just a one-bedroom bungalow, a little jewelbox, with a sloping shingled roof and a lovely garden out back on a lick of land. A tiny tree had taken root near the porch. A green VW van was parked by a mailbox at the curb. Inside, lights glowed brightly and I could hear the jingle-jangle of voices rising in unison. I knew she had company; I'd called her from the airport. And I knew who was with her. Still, I hesitated, fearing to intrude. I leaned on my...

About the Author-
  • GRAHAM NASH is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee--once with CSN and once with The Hollies. He was also inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame twice--both as a solo artist and with CSN. And, he is a Grammy award winner. In 2010, Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions as a musician and philanthropist. An activist for social and environmental justice, he is also an artist, acclaimed photographer and photography collector. His company Nash Editions' original IRIS 3047 digital printer lives in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in recognition revolutionary accomplishments in the fine arts digital printing world. He lives in Hawaii with his wife, Susan.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 30, 2013
    Nash delivers here a no-holds-barred, fiercely honest chronicle of the glories, excesses, disappointments, and joys of the rock-and-roll life. In the evocative and haunting style of his best songs (“Carrie Anne,” “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” “Chicago”), Nash tells of his childhood in the rough-and-tumble north of England; his developing love of music and the formation, with Allan Clarke, of his first band, the Fourtones, who eventually became the Hollies; his introduction, through Cass Elliott, to David Crosby; his relationships with Joni Mitchell and Rita Coolidge; and his tumultuous relationship with group Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Even with Stills’s and Young’s virtuoso guitars and Crosby, Nash, and Stills’s genius for weaving harmonies around each other and flying into soaring musical flights, the group was anything but harmonious, and Nash doesn’t hold back in his descriptions of the titanic struggles between Stills’ and Young. After all these years, Nash says that he never tires of the unique sound that CSN makes: “It’s like the pull of gravity to the center of the earth; when I sing with those two, it keeps my world in balance.” Nash’s love of songwriting is undiminished, and lyrics and music continue to flow through his pen. Nash’s tour-de-force tale reveals a soul who is “a complete slave to the muse of music. Agent, Jillian Manus, Manus & Assoc.

  • Kirkus

    September 15, 2013
    Down-to-earth autobiography of one of the great voices and songwriters of classic rock. Nash was raised in a Manchester, England, council house by working-class parents who allowed him to pursue his musical dreams rather than let him fall into the pattern--school, work, marriage, retirement, death--of so many of his fellow Mancunians. As a member of Crosby, Stills and Nash in the 1970s, he would note his narrow escape from that fate in the song "Cold Rain." Nash was also fortunate to be a member of the Hollies just when London record company executives were falling all over themselves looking to duplicate the phenomenal success of Liverpool's Beatles. With the Hollies, he honed his voice for harmony and his ear for the elements of a hit (including his 1968 classic "Carrie Anne"). But as the 1960s progressed and he developed a curiosity about art, drugs and big ideas, Nash grew apart from his old mates, especially as they failed to support his interest in nontraditional song approaches like the druggy pop of "Marrakech Express." In Los Angeles, he fell in with a hipper crowd that included David Crosby, Stephen Stills and an intense Canadian-born genius named Joni Mitchell, who became his lover and muse (notably, in the monster hit "Our House"). Nash has some insightful things to say about that other Canadian-born genius Neil Young, as well as other lions of the period, including Cass Elliot, Rita Coolidge, Paul Simon, Ahmet Ertegun, Jackson Brown and others. Nash pulls no punches, shining light on his peers' good and bad points (as well as his own), but he manages to come across as a solid, sensible, bighearted chap. An entertaining, intimate portrait of rock music--and how it was made--in an age of excess.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    September 15, 2013
    Nash, a founding member of the Hollies and (later) Crosby, Stills, and Nash, has finally written an autobiography. Taking us from his childhood to the present day, the book is a portrait not merely of a rock 'n' roll star, but also of a man who has, it seems, constantly been seeking new challenges. (The formation of Crosby, Stills, and Nash came about because Nash was frustrated with the Hollies; in the late 1980s, having achieved pretty much everything it was possible to achieve in popular music, Nash returned to his first childhood passion, photography.) The book's title is a bit misleading: this isn't a collection of wild tales about the author's rock 'n' roll life; there are some such tales, of coursethe story of Nash's friend and bandmate David Crosby's long battle with drug addiction, for examplebut overall the book is simply the story of a man's life and his unshakeable passion to express himself through his art. Fans might say the book is long overdue, but it was definitely worth the wait.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • New York Daily News

    "Provocatively honest."

  • -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "There are indeed wild tales to tell...Nash wasn't pulling back on the lurid details."
  • Daily Express (UK) "Shockingly candid."
  • USA Today "Though CSN and CSNY made more than their share of beautiful music together and lived in a kind of hippie heaven replete with mansions, money and free love, Nash doesn't hesitate to share the dark side of stardom, too, particularly the drug-fueled ego trips and meltdowns that so often derailed the group....[But] the reader is inclined to believe that the drugs, the women, the accolades and the money were never the point. 'It always comes down to the music,' Nash says. And that's what makes this trip worth taking."
  • Publishers Weekly "A no-holds-barred, fiercely honest chronicle of the glories, excesses, disappointments, and joys of the rock-and-roll life. . . Nash's tour-de-force tale reveals a soul who is 'a complete slave to the muse of music.'"
  • Booklist "The story of a man's life and his unshakeable passion to express himself through his art. Fans might say the book is long overdue, but it was definitely worth the wait."
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