February 21, 2013

Graham Nash - Be Yourself (1971)

A legendary singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, this man has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once with his group The Hollies and the other with the super-group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Although his family comes from Salford, Lancashire and he was raised there as a child, Graham Nash was actually born in Blackpool, Lancashire on February 2nd, 1942, after his mother had been evacuated to that location during the Second World War. He co-founded the wildly successful pop group The Hollies while still in high school with his friend from school, Allan Clarke. In 1966, he met David Crosby (of The Byrds) and Stephen Stills (of Buffalo Springfield) during a tour of the United States with The Hollies. Two years later in 1968, Nash quit The Hollies and met up with Crosby and Stills in L.A. to form their new “super” group, while also beginning to partake in many political events around that time. A short-while later, CSN would involve the talents of Neil Young and, for those times, would be known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Two of Nash’s penned songs, “Our House” and “Teach Your Children” have become well known songs that still receive significant use in television and movies. In more recent years, Nash was seen performing alongside David Crosby at the Occupy Wall Street protest movement in New York, 2011.

This song, written by Graham Nash and Terry Reid, was the last track of the first side on Graham Nash’s first solo album, Songs for Beginners, released in 1971. It features Nash on guitar and lead vocals; Rita Coolidge on piano; Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels on bass; Johnny Barbata on drums; and the Everyone Loose There choir performing the chorus. Rita Coolidge is particularly noted for breaking up CSN, temporarily in 1970, after she left her relationship with Stephen Stills for one with Graham Nash. Fuzzy Samuels would go on to play with Stephen Stills in the group Manassas, whereas Johnny Barbata was the drummer for The Turtles during the height of their success and later drummed for Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and many other notable stars as a session musician.

album art

Graham Nash - Be Yourself (1971)

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How does it feel when life doesn't seem real
And you're floating about on your own?
Your life is uncertain, so you draw the curtain
Pretending there's nobody home

But don't theorize
Look in your eyes
They can't tell lies
Though you disguise what you see
The mirror is free

We once had a savior, but by our behavior
The one that was worth it is gone
The song birds are talking and the runners are walking
A prodigal son is coming home

And don't theorize
Look in his eyes
They won't tell lies
But if he defies what you see
He'll give you the key

(Be yourself, be yourself)
(Be yourself, be yourself)

We needed a tutor, so built a computer
And we programmed ourselves not to see
The truth and the lying, the dead and the dying
A silent majority

But don't theorize
Look in their eyes
Are they telling lies?
The ones that they learned on T.V.?
What a way to be free

(Be yourself, be yourself)
(Free yourself, free yourself)

Yes, you can
(Be yourself)
(See yourself)

Then you can
(Free yourself)
(Be yourself)

Why don’t you
(Be yourself)
(Be yourself)
(Be yourself)…

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