David Crosby recorded this track with the last remaining moments of studio time that the band had remaining, and while he was still reeling from the death of Christine Hinton days earlier in a car accident. She had been his girlfriend, and he was obviously still grieving. The pain in his normally smooth voice reflects a cracked and angry quality, belied by the lighthearted directive he makes at the start of the recording.
If you listen to it, he starts, then stops, and comments as to the pace and gain of the recording, then the song starts again. According to the story as told by Crosby on the air with Bob Coburn of KLOS in the late 1990s, the recording is the only take that was done.
Suggestion credit: Scotty - OC, CA
With long hair and a walrus mustache, Crosby was clearly part of the counterculture movement. Cutting his hair would represent an assimilation, giving in. This song deals with when he considered it.
The full, unedited recording of this song was released on the CSN boxed set in 1991. Crosby can be heard giving instructions at the beginning of the take ("not quite that slow...").
This was recorded in San Francisco with Stills, Crosby and Young all playing guitar. Nash handled organ; Greg Reeves played bass and Dallas Taylor was on drums.
Neil Young called this "Crosby at what I think is his best."
Steven from KyTim from Akron-- You're thinking of "Long Time Gone." In an interview with Rolling Stone, Crosby said: "I wrote that right after they assassinated Bobby Kennedy. It was a result of losing him, of losing John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I started to feel overwhelmed. It seemed as if it was ballot by bullet. It seemed as if it didn't matter how good a person we could find to put up as an inspiration and a leader for the good, that somehow the other side would triumph by simply gunning them down."
Tim from Akron OhI once heard Bobby Kennedy's assassination was the inspiration for this song. I see I was wrong. Anybody know if there was one by CSNY?
Clemence from New YorkPs. And did they appreciate it?
Clemence from New YorkWho is the "someone" he owes it to not to cut his hair?
Bill from Fairfax, VaAnyone who thought that Neil Young sang this is a freaking idiot.
Chip from Stratford, CtTrust me,I've been following these guys since Woodstock.That is all David Crosby singing.The freak flag is his long hair.
Matt from Victori, TxNeil Young doesn't sing this! It sounds nothing like him. It's David Crosby.
Max from Boston, MaIn this song Neil Young sings "I'll let my freak flag fly" which is a reference to Jimi Henrdix's "If 6 was 9" in which Hendrix sings the same lyric
Bob from Southfield, MiThe opening comment on this song, ("I will now proceed to entangle the entire area.")was actually edited onto this song and was actually spoken prior to cutting a song called "Horses in the Rainstorm". You can find the original track on the two-CD Anthology, "Carry On".
Karen from La Crosse , WiI love letting my freak flag fly! And I love David Crosby too! Love ya Cros!!
Ben from Chelsea, MeI love this song. I've just recently started getting into CSNY, and I've got a lot of catching up to do.