You Don't Have to Cry

Album: Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)
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  • Written by Stephen Stills, this was the first song Crosby, Stills & Nash played together, though there are at least three different stories about where CSN sang together for the first time. Was it in Cass Elliot's, Joni Mitchell's or John Sebastian's living room...?

    From Johnny Rogan's book The Complete Guide To The Music of CSN&Y, it was at Joni Mitchell's Laurel Canyon home, located in Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills: "It was played during an impromptu singing session in Laurel Canyon. Nash witnessed the starting vocal bleb and songwriting power of the Crosby & Stills partnership. After listening to this song, he asked them to play the tune once more, then added a high harmony much to the amazement of everyone present."

    Graham Nash agrees: "David and I believe that it was in Joni Mitchell's living room that we first sang together. Stephen and David wanted to show me a song that they had worked on in two part harmony. The song was 'You Don't Have to Cry' written by Stephen. They sang it once, I asked them to sing it again, they sang it a second time, I asked for another performance. On the third attempt I put my high harmony on and it sounded awesome. I knew in my heart that this was something I wanted to do for the next few years. The musical, social aspect of combining these three voices with the words that we had come up with was very exciting to all three of us. We knew that we could sing, that the sound was unique and that what we had to say was worth saying. And here we are 30 years later still doing it with all the energy of teen-agers!"

    CSN biographer Dave Zimmer adds: "My theory is that it was Joni's Laurel Canyon house. I think they probably hung out in Cass Elliot's kitchen and John Sebastian's living room, and may have eventually blended voices there. But, from talking to Croz, Nash, Stills and Joni, I think the first time was at Joni's place, which she described to me once so colorfully as "a little house, almost like a tree house." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
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