Spotlight

Album: Whistling Down the Wire (1976)
Charted: 109

Songfacts®:

  • David Crosby and Graham Nash are better known for their trio with Stephen Stills and foursome with Neil Young, but they also released three albums in the '70s as a duo, Whistling Down the Wire being the last. Their biggest hit was "Immigration Man," which made #36 in 1972, but they also reached the charts with "Carry Me" (#52), "Out Of The Darkness" (#89), and "Southbound Train" (#99).

    "Spotlight" bubbled under at #109, but is one of their best-remembered songs. With lyrics by Graham Nash, the song explains why they perform. With no mention of money, groupies or the side-effects of stardom, Crosby and Nash sing about how being under the spotlight allows them to tell stories - and not always their own.
  • Graham Nash wrote this song with, Danny Kortchmar, who played guitar on the album. Kortchmar, who became a formidable songwriter in the late '70s and '80s, was one of the top session players in Los Angeles, appearing on classic albums by Linda Ronstadt, Carole King, James Taylor and many others. He told us about writing this song:

    "I had a chord progression and a groove, so I played it for Graham. It was just something I was fooling around with. And Graham being the kind of guy he is, he immediately started coming up with lyrics for it. Graham does that. He's not one of these grooving guys that sits and waits for the muse to hit him forever and ever. He starts writing right away. He's written a lot of songs. He's a prolific writer and he comes right to the point.

    Graham is from the old school. He grew up in the early '60s when he was playing rock & roll with the Hollies and you didn't have a lot of time to meditate on what you wanted to say. You had to come up with something right then, and that's his way of writing." (here's our full Danny Kortchmar interview.)

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