Ranking CSN&Y by order of significance

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Carl Steward, May 16, 2018.

  1. Carl Steward

    Carl Steward Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Castro Valley, CA
    Except for the folkie-folks who can't get past his voice, Neil Young is the obvious No. 1. The breadth of his catalog alone dwarfs the other three guys combined, even if he's given us quite a bit of chaff with the wheat, and he continues to push the envelope while the other three are essentially resting on their laurels.

    But how about those other three guys? All were members of important bands before CSNY came to be -- Stephen Stills in Buffalo Springfield, David Crosby in the Byrds, Graham Nash in the Hollies. For me, fourth place is pretty easy -- it's Nash, Marrakesh Express and Our House not withstanding. So it's between Stills and Crosby for me. I have to go Stills -- a great instrumentalist and he wrote more of the group's iconic songs. but maybe someone has a different take.

    So I have to go 1. Young. 2. Stills. 3. Crosby. 4. Nash. If there's any room for movement, it may be between Crosby and Nash. The irony is 2-3-4 worked so well without 1. When Young sings with the band, he sings Neil Young songs. Heck, Helpless seamlessly could have been on any of his early solo albums, and was on Decade. Other than some nifty contributory guitar work, Young has little of the alchemy that the other three guys obviously possess.

    Can you imagine this band if it would have been Gene Clark instead of Nash or Crosby? Then again, we might not have gotten those luscious harmonies.
    Kiss73 likes this.
  2. George Blair

    George Blair Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
  3. Brian Doherty

    Brian Doherty Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA
    Young, Crosby, Nash, Stills. (My Croz ranking very largely based on his surprising sprint of interesting if not totally brilliant work in past half-decade.) In general CSNY as a unified recording entity might to me have the most unearned ratio of sales, regard, and rep vs. actual overall quality of their body of work in rock history.

    (That is to say, if you think about ALL of Croz's work, and all of Nash's work, Byrds Hollies solo etc.,they are quality contributors to the rock tradition, tho I've never warmed much to Stills in any form or combination. But the work they did as CNS(Y), not that amazing overall though like anyone of any skill and history they have a handful of tunes I love.)
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  4. ash1

    ash1 Forum Resident

    bristol uk
    Tricky. I love Nash's Hollies work and Crosby's Byrds. They made those two bands harmony bands and Crosby's songs were pretty awesome (Lady Friend, Why, I See You, Rennaissance Fair etc..).
    I think I tend to prefer CSNY when Crosby's playing solo with a bit of Nash vocal and CSN are adding harmonies to Neil's songs. Pushed It Over The End and Country Girl are amazing and even Neil's lesser songs like Hawaiian Sunrise and Love Art Blues become beautiful when CSN add their voices....and let's not forget On The Way Home on 4 Way Street....leaves the Buffalo Springfield version in the dust.
    Having said that and thinking about how much I love them, they seem to be doing good work away from each other now.
    I refuse to choose.
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  5. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    New England
    Y, C, S and N.

    Cros was the deeper one, funnily enough to say. Stills was too mercurial, being the "whole band", and then not coming up with enough material. Nash I give credit for the sound of the band to: His high end vocal is the identifier of the group. But he was lighter of weight.
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  6. Kiss73

    Kiss73 Forum Resident

    Well I agree with the OP......as much as I love Neil, I think he brought very little to the CSN party and for me they were always significantly more unified and cohesive as a unit without him.

    In order of significance?? - as in impact on music in general??......Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash
    Past 10 years?? Crosby, Stills, Young, Nash
    Personal choice?? - Stills, Young, Crosby, Nash
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  7. Silvertrain

    Silvertrain Well-Known Member

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  8. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    Stephen Stills is my personal favorite, but I have to go Young, Stills, Crosby, Nash. Stills and Young both had Buffalo Springfield, plus Neil Young had a solo career that puts him among rock’s elite. Stephen Stills released at least three top-notch solo albums in the early 70’s, and was arguably the primary creative force behind CSNY and Buffalo Springfield. He was also arguably the best guitarist in the group. David Crosby was in The Byrds, which I think is the most prestigious pre-CSNY career, plus he put out one masterpiece solo album in the early 70’s and has arguably the strongest late career with his last three solo albums. Graham Nash was in The Hollies which, as good as The Hollies are, isn’t quite as impressive as Buffalo Springfield or The Byrds. He’s had a few good solo albums over the years, as well as writing some of the best CSNY songs, but I don’t think that’s enough to push him past any of the other members.
  9. Terry

    Terry Forum Resident

    Young, Nash, Crosby, Stills
    Hall Cat likes this.
  10. Bender Rodriguez

    Bender Rodriguez RIP Exene, best dog ever. 2005-2016

    New Jersey
    & gets criminally overlooked.
  11. majorlance

    majorlance Open-minded skeptic

    Collingswood, NJ
    Probably because & never had much of a solo career. :tiphat:
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  12. setlistthief

    setlistthief Forum Resident

    Key West, Florida
    Coincidentally, I just watched a Netflix film on the band that featured some fascinating before Y/afterY footage. To say Neil's presence is like day (CSN) and night (CSNY) would be an understatement. My own observation, particularly after seeing a Living With War performance in 06, is that CSN basically become a backing band for Neil whenever they perform together. When they record, it's Neil's stuff and then the other three guys'. So, for me, Young reigns supreme, with Crosby and Nash as equals. Stills whose early promise (jamming with Hendrix, Clapton, Buddy Miles, Bloomfield, I mean, c'mon!) just kind of faded...although those early solo albums are pretty cool.
  13. RayS

    RayS Little Lebowski Urban Achiever

    I guess you haven't checked the Crosby bin for the last few years.

    Or listened to "This Path Tonight". Or The Rides.
  14. Frosst

    Frosst Vinyl-obsessive kiddo

    Young, Crosby, Stills then Nash. I'm the biggest fan of Neil Youngs solo career and The Byrds, haven't listened to The Hollies much but I do like Buffalo Springfield. I also like a solo album by Stephen Stills.
  15. Bullis

    Bullis Forum Resident

    Neil, Steven, graham and david
  16. Brian Doherty

    Brian Doherty Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA
    Yeah, those unaware really should check in with the shocking renaissance of the Croz. I don't love him overall, and don't even LOVE these latest ones, but they are high quality and interesting work of a sort you'll likely be surprised by if you didn't already know.
    Zeki, zobalob, weirdo12 and 1 other person like this.
  17. I like them all, but if I had to rank them in order of significance:

    Neil Young
    David Crosby
    Stephen Stills
    Graham Nash
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  18. sgtpppr84

    sgtpppr84 Forum Resident

    Midland, TX
    Young, Stills, Crosby, Nash
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  19. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Crosby is first - for the Byrds, for the CSN albums, for his magnificent first solo albums, for his duo albums with Nash, for his collaborations with Airplane and GD members, for his late career resurgence.

    Young is next - but really for his work without the other three. He was the weakest writer on Deja Vu.

    Stills and Nash are about tied. Their magnificent debut could not have happened without Stills instrumental prowess and hard work playing virtually everything but drums. Their success could not have happened without Nash writing them hits.

    But they are all really close.
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  20. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Stills, Young, Crosby, Nash.
  21. Rne

    Rne Sufferin' succotash!

    YSCN or YCSN, I'm not sure.
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  22. Rosskolnikov

    Rosskolnikov Designated Cloud Yeller

    Do not even remotely agree with that statement, but especially concerning Crosby. Dave has been very active in recent years, and the quality control has been much higher than Neil's. The idea that Crosby, with multiple albums of new material and multiple tours featuring material from those albums, is "resting on laurels" is ludicrous.

    Maybe you meant that one day he'll pass away and be laid to rest in Laurel Canyon?
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  23. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    New England
    Weakest writer on Deja Vu is a little misleading I think. He was busy making some run of LPs as good as any in pop at the time.
    Erik B. and majorlance like this.
  24. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    my take on this ever-changing, and has been since the beginning.

    at first - stills was unsurpassed, not just by CNY, but by just about everyone else in the music business at the time.

    then after 3 totally amazing albums in a row, young took over, and stayed there until about unplugged and his new moniker of grandfather of grunge. and since 2000 he has actually moved to the bottom of the list of the 4.

    today, far and away crosby is on top. what he has done since the 2004 crosby*nash album is simply stunning.
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