So Begins The Task


  • Stills put "So Begins The Task" together for the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, but the band didn't feel it fit on the album and the song floated around in limbo for a few years. It finally found a home on the debut album of Stills' band Manassas.

    He wrote the song about his breakup with Judy Collins; that same lost romance was fodder for "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and "You Don't Have to Cry." "So Begins the Task" is believed the first song Stills wrote about/for Collins.

    Collins was living in New York City, and Stills wanted her to come live with him in California. She wanted to say on the east coast to tend to her budding music career, but also to continue with her psychotherapy.

    Collins did visit Stills around that time. She watched him and the band perform in the studio and was blown away by how good they are. She couldn't stay, though, because she could already feel that the whole scene would trigger her alcoholism and lead to her self-destruction. So, she elected to return to New York, and her relationship with Stills ended.
  • While talking to Rolling Stone in 1971, Stills discussed why so many of his songs are about Collins.

    "Well," Stills replied, "there are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer for them, or turn them into literature. I've had my share of success and failure at all three."
  • Jerry Garcia is rumored to have played pedal steel guitar on this song (among others on Manassas).

Comments: 1

  • Jimbo from Long Island NyPerhaps an uncredited Timothy B. Schmitt singing harmony?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

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.

16 Songs With a Heartbeat

16 Songs With a HeartbeatSong Writing

We've heard of artists putting their hearts into their music, but some take it literally.

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music Scene

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Tommy James

Tommy JamesSongwriter Interviews

"Mony Mony." "Crimson and Clover." "Draggin' The Line." The hits kept coming for Tommy James, and in a plot line fit for a movie, his record company was controlled by the mafia.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Boy Bands

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?