Although I didn’t enter the world until 1965, I have been influenced by and have enjoyed many hours of listening to the great music that came out of the sixties and the years that followed. Graham Nash was in the middle of that vibrant, and often turbulent, music scene. In his book Wild Tales (title borrowed from his 1972 album with the same name), Nash chronicles his life and rock and roll journey. Born in 1942, Nash grew up in Salford, England, a poor community near Manchester. He fell in love with music early on, along with his best friend Allan Clarke, and the two of them eventually formed a band together, The Hollies. The Hollies became a great success, but Nash’s desire for more eventually led him away from The Hollies to America to join his new friend and musical partner, David Crosby (a guy he had met through another friend, Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas). Crosby had been in The Byrds. Nash and Crosby were joined by Stephen Stills (from the band Buffalo Springfield) to form Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The unique harmonies of the trio immediately connected with the listening public and CSN established their place in musical history. Later they were joined by Neil Young, a guitarist and songwriter that Stills had played with in Buffalo Springfield, to become Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. CSNY continued the success. Over the next 30 plus years, the relationships between these four men were filled with chaos and conflict, but held together by their love and respect for the music. Each worked together on projects, but also worked separately on solo work.
Wild Tales is an enjoyable read, taking you deep into the life of a rock and roll icon. As Nash tells his story, other rock and roll characters are woven in and out of tapestry, providing more than just history. The reader sees the people behind the music and the excitement that came with it, but Nash doesn’t try to hide the ugliness that can come from a life of excess. I found Nash’s accounting of his friendship with David Crosby was both moving and heartbreaking at the same time as he stayed committed to his friend, even as his friend was destroying himself and his life with drug addiction. The downside to this book was that at several points Nash repeated himself, telling the same information again. Also, Nash jumped back and forth in time on occasion, making it difficult to keep up with chronology. Other than that, the book was well written.
Wild Tales is recommended for music fans, but more specifically anyone who loves the music of the sixties and early seventies.
I received Wild Tales from Bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for an honest review.