Crosby had joined The Byrds in 1964, after an unsuccessful solo career, and was on hand for their biggest hits, "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Mr. Tambourine Man". A falling out with Roger McGuinn over the inclusion of Crosby's song, "Triad", on the album, "Notorious Byrd Bros.", led to his departure in 1967. He went on to produce Joni Mitchell's debut album in early 1968.
Stephen Stills played guitar for Buffalo Springfield, who had one memorable hit, "For What It's Worth", before disbanding in May of 1968.
Graham Nash had been the driving force behind The Hollies until they balked at recording a tune he wrote called "Marrakesh Express".
Neil Young had also been a member of Buffalo Springfield, but abruptly quit on the eve of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. David Crosby sat in for him for the night.
When Buffalo Springfield split, Stills and Crosby began jamming and were soon joined by Nash. The three of them first sang together at a party in the L.A. home of Mama Cass Elliot.
Quickly landing a recording contract, the trio would find success with their first effort, "Marrakesh Express", the song the Hollies had turned down. The sweet harmonies featured on the track helped it to climb into the top 30 in the US and was followed by "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", a song written by Stills about folk singer Judy Collins, which made it to number 21 in the U.S.
Wanting to expand to a quartet, Stills approached John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful. When Sebastian said no, Neil Young was brought on board in time for the Woodstock Festival in August, 1969.
The quartet's first album, "Deja Vu", took two months to record and was certified gold before it was released. The L.P. contained their first three hit singles, "Woodstock" (#11), "Teach Your Children" (#16) and "Our House" (#30). Just after the album's release, The National Guard shot and killed four students at Kent State University in Ohio and Neil Young was quick to respond with the song "Ohio", which, despite limited radio airplay, made it to #14 in 1970.
The four toured during the summer of 1970, but by the time they released their second album, "Four Way Street", egos and frayed nerves had caused the band to split. Crosby and Nash both released solo albums as well as touring and recording together during the early seventies. Young continued as a solo act, as did Stills, who scored a number 4 hit with "Love The One Your With", in 1971.
By 1974, they toured together again, but Young insisted on traveling separately. Stills and Young released a duet album, "Long May You Run" in 1976, and once again Young made a sudden exit during their tour of 1976.
Now just "Crosby, Stills and Nash", the remaining trio released the quadruple-platinum album, "CSN", which yielded the #7 hit, "Just A Song Before I Go" in 1977, and continued to tour together. Their next L.P. would wait until 1982, when "Daylight Again" produced two top twenty singles, "Wasted On The Way" (#9) and "Southern Cross" (#18).
David Crosby had a number of minor run-ins with the law and in 1985 was charged with possession of cocaine and carrying a gun. He served nine months in prison after completing a drug re-hab program which kept him from the full five years that he was sentenced to. During an appeal, he appeared with Stills, Nash and Young at Live Aid.
The foursome united again in 1989 to record Young's "American Dream" (#16) after which Neil again refused to tour with his ex-bandmates. The three then released an album of unreleased tracks, which was so poor, it couldn't crack Billboard's Hot 100.
By the early 1990's, Young had built a following with the younger crowd who regarded him as "The Godfather of Grunge". Graham Nash had been busy with his publishing company, "Nash Editions", as well as hosting his own television show. Crosby's long time drug abuse led to a liver transplant in 1994. On a brighter note, David had re-united with a son that was given up for adoption in 1962 and the pair recorded three albums together. He also made the news for being the sperm donor for lesbian mothers, Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher.
At the instigation of Stephen Stills, CSN&Y re-formed in 1999 to record the critically acclaimed L.P. "Looking Forward". Earlier that year, Nash suffered two broken legs in a boating accident, but recovered enough to contribute to the album and the band's first tour since 1974. That tour grossed more than $42 million and a 35 date "Tour of America" was scheduled for 2002.
On New Year's Eve, 2005, the band's long-time manager, Gerry Tolman, was killed in a car accident. In 2006, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young kicked off their Freedom of Speech tour to support Neil Young's album "Living With War". On May 16th of that year, Crosby, Stills And Nash were honored as a BMI Icon at the 54th annual BMI Pop Awards. They were noted for what was called their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." In February 2007, CSN were forced to postpone a tour of Australia and New Zealand due to David Crosby's illness.
On July 30th, 2008, Crosby, Stills And Nash performed "Teach Your Children" on the TV show The Colbert Report with host Stephen Colbert filling in the fourth harmony. In 2009, Crosby, Stills And Nash released "Demos", an album made up of demo recordings of popular group and solo tunes. In June of that year, Crosby, Stills And Nash performed at the Glastonbury Festival in England. Neil Young did not appear onstage with them, but did perform as a solo artist. They also headlined the 14th annual Gathering of the Vibes festival that same summer. Halfway through their set, they enthusiastically announced to the crowd that they would be back the following year. Although rumors of pending tours still persisted, the band's website had no tour dates listed for 2012.
In November, 2013, David Crosby announced a return to his solo career with the release of "Croz", an eleven-track LP set for release in February, 2014. The album would be supported by a twelve date tour, with stops in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles early in the year. The final dates of that tour were re-scheduled when the 72-year-old singer was forced to undergo heart surgery, after which he was expected to make a full recovery.
The trio of Crosby, Stills And Nash were back on the road again in 2014 with a 36-date concert tour, starting July 2 in Bethlehem, Pa. and wrapping up on October 4th at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. In early November, Neil Young's latest album, "Storytone" was released to mixed reviews, with one publication calling it 'a forgettable mess.' The effort was a collection of songs inspired by his new love interest, actress Daryl Hannah, whom he took up with after divorcing his longtime wife Pegi. After David Crosby said that Hannah was a "purely poisonous predator," Young announced that he would never work with the trio again.
In March of 2015, David Crosby made headlines for hitting a 46-year-old jogger with his car while driving the posted speed limit, 55 MPH. The man sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries in the incident which took place in Santa Ynez, California, not far from Crosby's home. Neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in the accident, according to a police report.
The 2015 Summer touring season saw David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash each touring as solo acts. The official break-up seemed to come in early March, 2016 when Graham Nash told the Dutch magazine Lust for Life, "You asked me if there's more of CSN? My answer is no, and that's very sad because we're pretty good. But I don't like David Crosby right now. He's been awful to me these last two years, just fucking awful." He went on to say "I've been there and saved his fucking ass for forty-five years and he treated me like shit. You can't do that to me. You can do it for a day or so, until I think you're going to come 'round. But when it goes on longer, and I keep getting nasty emails from him, I'm done. Fuck you." At the same time he made those comments, Nash released his first new solo album in fourteen years, "This Path Tonight", a collection of songs inspired in part by his pending divorce from his second wife, Susan and a new relationship with girlfriend Amy Grantham.