Just A Song Before I Go

Album: CSN (1977)
Charted: 7
Play Video


  • Graham Nash wrote this song on a bet. David Crosby explained in the liner notes to their 1991 boxed set: "Graham was a home in Hawaii, about to go off on tour. The guy who was going to take him to the airport said, 'We've got 15 minutes, I'll bet you can't write a song in that amount of time.' Well you don't smart off to Nash like that, he'll do it. This is the result."

    Going to the airport and his day of travel were on Nash's mind, so that's what he wrote about: "driving me to the airport and to the friendly skies." The "song before I go" was for his friend who made him the bet.
  • As Nash tells it in his memoir Wild Life, the guy taking him to the airport was his drug dealer, who said, "I'll bet you can't write a song before you go." Nash then thought, "Hmm... just a song before I go," and composed it on the spot.
  • This was the first single released from the re-formed Crosby, Stills & Nash, and in the US it was the highest-charting song of any iteration of the group. The group's first album came in 1969, and they won the Best New Artist Grammy Award for that year. In 1970, they added Neil Young and released two albums before taking some time off - they didn't see the Top 40 from 1971-1976. In this period, the members recorded solo, with Graham Nash and David Crosby teaming up for a 1972 album, and Stephen Stills forming the band Manassas. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young got back together for touring in 1974 and released the 1976 album Wind On The Water. The next year, minus Young, they were Crosby, Stills & Nash again for the first time since 1969, and the CSN album was the result. Following more solo efforts from Stills and Nash, they hit the studio again in 1982 for the Daylight Again album, and reunited with Young for the 1988 effort American Dream. They continued to go back and forth with and without Young in the '90s. Their law firm-style name made for an unwieldy discography, but we always knew who was in the group.

Comments: 4

  • Matthew Stevenson from Winnipeg, ManitobaOr, as George Carlin said: "Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Sacco and Vanzetti"
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 22nd 1977, "Just a Song Before I Go" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; thirteen weeks later on August 21st, 1977 it would peaked at #7 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 21 weeks...
    It reached #5 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Between 1969 and 1989 the trio* had nine Top 100 records; with two making the Top 10, their other Top 10 record was "Wasted On the Way" at #9 in 1982...
    * They had four Top 100 records with Neil Young.
  • Wess from Moorhead, Mnanother great song
  • Rich from San Jose, CaWind on the Water was a Crosby Nash record, not a CSN record. Also, CSN&Y only released one studio record in 1970. The other was the live Four Way Street.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gary Brooker of Procol Harum

Gary Brooker of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer and pianist for Procol Harum, Gary talks about finding the musical ideas to match the words.

Chris Squire of Yes

Chris Squire of YesSongwriter Interviews

One of the most dynamic bass player/songwriters of his time, Chris is the only member of Yes who has been with the band since they formed in 1968.

Krishna Das

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."

Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos

Divided Souls: Musical Alter EgosSong Writing

Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.

Wolfgang Van Halen

Wolfgang Van HalenSongwriter Interviews

Wolfgang Van Halen breaks down the songs on his debut album, Mammoth WVH, and names the definitive Van Halen songs from the Sammy and Dave eras.