Deep Dive: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, AMERICAN DREAM
18 years ago this week, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young released the first album they’d recorded as a foursome in 18 years.
Recorded at Redwood Digital in Woodside, California, AMERICAN DREAM was an album that might never have happened if the aforementioned Mr. Crosby hadn’t managed to clean up his act and stop doing drugs, but Neil Young promised that if Crosby did so, then the world would finally once more be blessed with a reunion of CSN&Y. Crosby did, due in no small part to serving a five-month prison stint, but how he managed it didn’t matter: Young proved to be a man of his word, and he and his musical cohorts hit the studio not long after Crosby’s release.
While excitement was running high for the release of this long-awaited reunion album, the critical reception for AMERICAN DREAM was less than rapturous, and when all was said and done, even the man who was effectively responsible for the album coming into existence in the first place willingly admitted that it wasn’t as great as it ought to have been.
“The whole thing, the recording of AMERICAN DREAM, it got stretched out,” Crosby told journalist Dave Zimmer some years later. “And we did not have, really, the best group of songs to work with. Then, even though we did not have enough good songs, we ended up putting fourteen of them on the album!”
Still, AMERICAN DREAM was so anticipated that it ended up going platinum, and it hit #16 on the Billboard 200, with one of the singles, “Got It Made,” climbing to #69 on the Billboard Hot 100. Even better, it wasn’t the final album by CSNY: they would go on to make another album together in 1999 – LOOKING FORWARD – that earned far more critical acclaim.
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