Better Days

Album: Songs For Beginners (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • The most famous love triangle involving the members of Crosby, Stills & Nash had vertices at Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, and David Crosby. But there was another as well, this one among Nash, Rita Coolidge, and Stephen Stills.

    When Stills recorded his song "Love The One You're With" in March 1970, he got help from Crosby, Nash, and Coolidge, all of whom sang on the track. This was the first time Coolidge and Nash met, and Nash asked her out. In a Songfacts interview with Graham Nash, he told the story:

    "I asked Rita out and she said yes. Then Stephen called her and said, 'That date that Graham made with you, he can't do it because he's sick. But I'll take you.'

    'Better Days' is about my relationship with Rita Coolidge and Stephen."

    Rita Coolidge, in her memoir Delta Lady, backs up Nash's story. She says Stills took her on the date instead, and they became a couple. She assumed Nash wasn't interested, but when she found out he was, she dumped Stills and took up with him. They dated for about a year; she later married Kris Kristofferson.
  • Nash makes his message to Stephen Stills clear in this song:

    Don't you cry 'cause she is gone
    She is only moving on


    The beef between Stills and Nash was one of several reasons Crosby, Stills & Nash stayed apart in 1972 and 1973 despite being one of the most popular bands in America. When they reconvened in 1974, it was still choppy. They pulled off a massive stadium tour but couldn't complete an album. They didn't get another album out until 1977.
  • "Better Days" is part of Graham Nash's first solo album, Songs For Beginners. Rita Coolidge sang backup on the track and contributed to others on the album as well. Nash played piano and organ on the song, with Joe Yankee on piano as well. There's also a clarinet in the mix, played by Sermon Posthumas.

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