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Marrakesh is a city in Morocco famous for leather goods. The "Marrakesh Express" is the train Graham Nash took on a trip there from Casablanca in 1966. The lyrics are filled with the sights, sounds and vibes that he encountered on the trip.
Prior to exiting the Hollies in 1968, Nash offered this to his band mates. However, the tune was ultimately rejected as being not commercial enough. Their refusal to record this and other tunes he wrote was one of the main reasons Nash left the band and moved to Los Angeles to join up with Crosby and Stills. "After a couple months of that, a man is liable to go insane," Nash said of having his songs rejected, adding, "especially being the only one who was smoking grass at the time." Fortunately, his new bandmates liked the tune and it ended up on their debut album.
The became Crosby Sills And Nash's first hit in the US, and surprisingly their only Top 40 single in the UK.
Graham Nash told Rolling Stone magazine the story of this song: "In 1966 I was visiting Morocco on vacation to Marrakesh and getting on a train and having a first-class ticket and then realizing that the first-class compartment was completely f--king boring, you know, ladies with blue hair in there - it wasn't my scene at all. So I decide I'm going to go and see what the rest of the train is like. And the rest of the train was fascinating. Just like the song says, there were ducks and pigs and chickens all over the place and people lighting fires. It's literally the song as it is - what happened to me."
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