Graham William Nash OBE (born 2 February 1942) is a British-American singer-songwriter and musician. Nash is known for his light tenor voice and for his songwriting contributions as a member of the English pop/rock group the Hollies and the folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash. Nash became an American citizen on 14 August 1978 and holds dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States.
Nash performing in 2018
|Birth name||Graham William Nash|
|Born||2 February 1942|
|Origin||Salford, Lancashire, England|
|Associated acts||The Hollies|
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Crosby & Nash
Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997 and as a member of the Hollies in 2010.
Nash holds four honorary doctorates, including one from New York Institute of Technology, one in Music from the University of Salford in 2011 and his latest Doctorate in Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Early life and early music career
Graham William Nash was born in 1942 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, his mother having been evacuated there from the Nashes' home town of Salford, Lancashire, because of the Second World War. The family subsequently returned to Salford, where Nash grew up. In the early 1960s he co-founded the Hollies, one of the UK's most successful pop groups, with school friend Allan Clarke. Credited on the first album as "Group Leader", he occasionally took the lead vocals. Nash was featured vocally on "Just One Look" in 1964, and sang his first lead vocal on the original Hollies song "To You My Love" on the band's second album In The Hollies Style (1964). He then progressed to often singing featured bridge vocals on Hollies recordings; "So Lonely", "I've Been Wrong", "Pay You Back With Interest". Also by 1966 Nash was providing a few solo lead vocals on Hollies albums, and then from 1967 also on B-sides to singles, notably "On a Carousel" and "Carrie Anne".
Nash encouraged the Hollies to write their own songs, initially with Clarke, then with Clarke and guitarist Tony Hicks. From 1964 to mid-1966 they wrote under the alias L. Ransford. Their own names were credited on songs from "Stop Stop Stop" from October 1966 onward.
In 1965, Nash, with Allan Clarke and guitarist Tony Hicks, formed Gralto Music Ltd, a publishing company which handled their own songs and later signed the young Reg Dwight (a.k.a. 'Elton John' – who played piano and organ on Hollies 1969 and 1970 recordings).
Songwriting, activism, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY), Crosby & Nash, and solo career
Nash was pivotal in the forging of a sound and lyrics, often writing the verses on Clarke, Hicks & Nash songs. However, Nash also composed songs by himself under the 'team banner' (like Lennon & McCartney), for example, 'Fifi the Flea' (1966), 'Clown' (1966), 'Stop Right There', 'Everything is Sunshine' (1967). The Butterfly album included several of his songs that had less group participation and exhibited more of a singer-songwriter approach. He was disappointed when this new style did not register with their audience, especially "King Midas in Reverse" (Nash and producer Ron Richards clashed over this song because Richards believed it was 'too complex' to work as a hit single).
Nash initially met both David Crosby and Stephen Stills in 1966 during a Hollies US tour. On a subsequent visit to the US in 1968, he was more formally introduced to Crosby by mutual friend Cass Elliott in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Nash left the Hollies to form a new group with Crosby and Stills. A trio at first, Crosby, Stills & Nash later became a quartet with Neil Young: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY).
With both configurations, Nash went on to even greater worldwide success, penning many of CSN's most-commercial hit singles such as "Our House" (about the house in Laurel Canyon shared with his then-lover Joni Mitchell); "Teach Your Children" and "Marrakesh Express" (both of which had been rejected by the Hollies); "Just a Song Before I Go"; and "Wasted on the Way". Nash, nicknamed "Willy" by his band mates, has been described as the glue that keeps their often fragile alliances together.
Nash became politically active after moving to California, as reflected in his anti-Vietnam War songs "Military Madness" and "Chicago / We Can Change the World" (about the trial of the Chicago Eight).
In 1972, during CSNY's first hiatus, Nash teamed with Crosby, forming a successful duo. They have worked in this configuration on and off ever since, producing four studio albums and a few live and compilation albums. His song "Immigration Man", Crosby & Nash's biggest hit as a duo, arose from a tiff he had with a US Customs official while trying to enter the country.
In 1979, Nash co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy which is against the expansion of nuclear power. MUSE put on the educational fundraising No Nukes events. In 2007 the group recorded a music video of a new version of the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth".
Nash briefly rejoined the Hollies in 1983 (to mark their 20th anniversary) to record two albums, What Goes Around and Reunion. In 1993, Nash again reunited with the Hollies to record a new version of "Peggy Sue Got Married" that featured lead vocal by Buddy Holly (taken from an alternate version of the song given to Nash by Holly's widow Maria Eleana Holly)—this Buddy Holly & the Hollies recording opened the Not Fade Away tribute album to Holly by various artists.
In 2005, Nash collaborated with Norwegian musicians A-ha on the songs "Over the Treetops" (penned by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy) and "Cosy Prisons" (penned by Magne Furuholmen) for the Analogue recording. In 2006, Nash worked with David Gilmour and David Crosby on the title track of David Gilmour's third solo album, On an Island. In March 2006, the album was released and quickly reached No. 1 on the UK charts. Nash and Crosby subsequently toured the UK with Gilmour, singing backup on "On an Island", "The Blue", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and "Find the Cost of Freedom".
In addition to his political songs Nash has written many songs on other themes he cares about such as of nature and ecology—beginning with the Hollies' "Signs That Will Never Change" (first recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1966)—later CSNY's "Clear Blue Skies", plus anti-nuclear-waste-dumping ("Barrel of Pain"), anti-war ("Soldiers of Peace") and social issues ("Prison Song").
In 2010, Nash was inducted a second time to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time as a member of the Hollies. He received an OBE "for services to music and charitable activities", becoming an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Diplomatic and Overseas Division of the Queen's Birthday Honours List on 12 June 2010. Nash received the title of George Eastman Honorary Scholar at the George Eastman House on 22 January 2011, in Rochester, New York.
On 22 January 2016, Nash announced the forthcoming release on 15 April 2016 of his new studio album entitled This Path Tonight (his first collection of new songs in fourteen years) and shared the title track from it through MOJO magazine's website. On 4 February 2016, Rolling Stone magazine unveiled a new song from the new album, the reflective "Encore," the tender tune that wraps up Nash's new album. Upon the upcoming release of his new studio album in April 2016, Nash planned a solo tour from 25 March 2016 at Bluesfest in Byron Bay, Australia, continuing United States on April 22, 2016 at Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, California, to visit Europe starting from the UK on May 21, 2016 at the Albert Hall, Manchester and ending 14 June 2016 at the Alte Oper Hall, Frankfurt, Germany.
He was still touring in the fall of 2017, performing in New Jersey and New York in September.
On 29 June 2018, Rhino Records released the two-disk box set Over The Years, a 30-track collection of Nash's demos made from 1968 to 1980, featuring highlights from the CSN debut album Crosby, Stills & Nash ("Marrakesh Express"), CSNY follow-up Déjà Vu ("Our House", "Teach Your Children"), song selections from subsequent CSN albums, four tracks from Nash's 1971 solo album Songs For Beginners, with "Better Days" and "I Used To Be King" presented as unreleased mixes. The most recent recording on the compilation is "Myself At Last" from Nash's 2016 solo album This Path Tonight. The second disc in this set features 15 demo recordings, 12 of which have never been released.
Interested in photography as a child, Nash began to collect photographs in the early 1970s. Having acquired more than a thousand prints by 1976, Nash hired Graham Howe as his photography curator. In 1978 through 1984 a touring exhibition of selections from the Graham Nash Collection toured to more than a dozen museums worldwide. Nash decided to sell his 2,000 print collection through Sotheby's auction house in 1990 where it set an auction record for the highest grossing sale of a single private collection of photography. Nash said that some of the auction profit would be given to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the acquisition of contemporary photographs.
In 2010 21st Editions published a monograph titled "Love, Graham Nash" which includes facsimiles of his lyrics paired with signed photographs by Graham Nash and printed by Nash Editions.
Early digital fine art printing
In the late 1980s Nash began to experiment with digital images of his photography on Macintosh computers with the assistance of R. Mac Holbert who at that time was the tour manager for Crosby, Stills and Nash as well as handling computer/technical matters for the band. Nash ran into the problem common with all personal computers running graphics software during that period: he could create very sophisticated detailed images on the computer, but there was no output device (computer printer) capable of reproducing what he saw on the computer screen. Nash and Holbert initially experimented with early commercial printers that were then becoming available and printed many images on the large format Fujix inkjet printers at UCLA's JetGraphix digital output centre. When Fuji decided to stop supporting the printers, John Bilotta, who was running JetGraphix, recommended that Nash and Holbert look into the Iris printer, a new large format continuous-tone inkjet printer built for prepress proofing by IRIS Graphics, Inc. Through IRIS Graphics national sales rep Steve Boulter, Nash also met programmer David Coons, a colour engineer for Disney, who was already using the IRIS printer there to print images from Disney's new digital animation system.
Coons worked off hours at Disney to produce large images of 16 of Nash's photographic portraits on arches watercolour paper using Disney's in-house model 3024 IRIS printer for a 24 April 1990 show at Simon Lowinsky gallery. Since most of the original negatives and prints had been lost in shipment to a book publisher, Coons had to scan contact sheets and enhance the images so they could be printed in large format. He used software he had written to output the photographic images to the IRIS printer, a machine designed to work with proprietary prepress computer systems.
In July 1990 Graham Nash purchased an IRIS Graphics 3047 inkjet printer for $126,000 and set it up in a small carriage house in Manhattan Beach, California near Los Angeles. David Coons and Steve Boulter used it to print an even larger November 1990 show of Nash's work for Parco Stores in Tokyo. The show entitled Sunlight on Silver was a series of 35 celebrity portraits by Nash which were 3 feet by 4 feet in an edition of 50 prints per image, a total of 1,750 images. Subsequently, Nash exhibited his photographs at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and elsewhere.
In 1991, Nash agreed to fund Mac Holbert to start a fine art digital-based printing company using the IRIS Graphics 3047 printer sitting in Nash's Manhattan Beach, California carriage house. Holbert retired as road manager for Crosby, Stills and Nash so that he could run the company. It opened its doors on 1 July 1991 with the name of Nash Editions Ltd. Early employees included David Coons, John Bilotta and a serigraphic print maker named Jack Duganne. They worked to further adapt the IRIS printer to fine art printing, experimenting with ink sets to try to overcome the fast-fading nature of IRIS prints, and even going as far as sawing off part of the print heads so they could be moved back to clear thicker printing paper stocks (voiding the $126,000 machine's warranty). Nash and Holbert decided to call their fine art prints "digigraphs" although Jack Duganne coined the name "Giclée" for these type of prints. The company is still in operation and currently uses Epson-based large format printers.
Nash was married to his first wife, Rose Eccles from 1964 until 1966. As an in-joke, her surname inspired "Jennifer Eccles", a 1968 single by The Hollies; and also a jocular verse about Jennifer Eccles in "Lily the Pink", a 1968 single by The Scaffold on which Nash sang backing vocals. Nash was married to Susan Sennett for 38 years until 2016, when he divorced and moved to New York. He has three adult children.
Nash released an autobiographical memoir in September 2013 entitled Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life, published by Crown Publishing. Photographs that he took during his career are on display as an art collection at the San Francisco Art Exchange. In interviews pertaining to both the memoir and art exhibit he mentions the impact of Joni Mitchell, with whom he lived for two years in his early time in California. Nash also had a short-term relationship with Rita Coolidge, as had Stephen Stills.
Nash endorsed Bernie Sanders for the 2016 United States presidential election.
|1971||"Chicago"||35||29||Songs for Beginners|
|"I Used to Be a King"||111||-|
|1972||"War Song" (with Neil Young)||61||52||Non-album single|
|1973||"Prison Song"||-||-||Wild Tales|
|1974||"On the Line"||-||-|
|1979||"In the 80's"||-||-||Earth & Sky|
|"Out of the Island"||-||-|
|1986||"Innocent Eyes"||84||-||Innocent Eyes|
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- Eye to Eye: Photographs by Graham Nash by Nash and Garrett White (2004) Steidl, ISBN 978-3882439601
- Off the Record: Songwriters on Songwriting by Graham Nash (2002) Andrews McMeel Publishing, ISBN 978-0740726781
- Love, Graham Nash (2 vols. 2009)
- Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life by Graham Nash (17 September 2013), Penguin, ISBN 978-0241968048