Old Times Good Times

Album: Stephen Stills (1970)
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Songfacts®:

  • In "Old Times Good Times," Stephen Stills takes a quick tour of his life as a working musician. He was just 25 when he released the song, but had been a professional musician for over a decade. As stated in the song, he left New York City ("so damn cold") and made his way to Los Angeles to live the rock and roll dream. There, he formed two bands that made rock history: Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Of the latter group, he sums it up in the last verse:

    Got too high and we blew our whole scene
    But we had a good time
  • That is indeed Jimi Hendrix playing guitar on this track. They jammed and recorded together in London in March 1970, just six months before Hendrix died. "Old Times Good Times" is their only collaboration that was ever released.

    "He was a dear friend of mine, we were lonely in London together an hung out a lot," Stills explained in the CSN boxed set liner notes. "I left England suddenly, and years later I learned from Mitch Mitchell that Jimi had been looking for me everywhere - wanted me to join the Experience as the bass player, which would have been my greatest dream in life!"

    Still says Hendrix showed him how to play lead guitar. "He showed me the scales and said things like, 'You begin by thinking about the chord position and base your improvisations on that.' Or he'd make some little remark like, 'F sharp is really cool,' and we'd develop a jam around that. We'd make up songs, play the blues. He'd improvise until the inspiration began to ebb, then he'd look at me and say, 'You drive.'"
  • Every member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had a concurrent solo career. Stills released this song on his first (self-titled) solo album in November 1970, eight months after the acclaimed CSN&Y album Déjà Vu was issued. The big hit from the album was "Love The One You're With." "Old Times Good Times" wasn't released as a single.

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