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.
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Excerpt from book:
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.
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.