50 years ago on 28th May 1971, Salford’s Graham Nash released his folk-rock debut solo album ‘Songs for Beginners’ and as he reflects back on his Instagram, he states: “I’m still proud of it today.”
Graham Nash started out his musical career in the 60s as the co-founder of Salford’s homegrown band The Hollies and charted with hits like ‘He Aint Heavy He’s my Brother’, ‘Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)’ and ‘Carrie Anne’.
In the 60s British beat boom, The Hollies achieved great success with their charming harmonies and matching teddy boy suits, drawing many similarities with their Liverpool contemporaries, The Beatles.
By the 70s, Graham Nash left Salford for sunny LA where he joined a super-group with David Crosby and Stephen Stills: Crosby, Stills and Nash (and by 1971, Neil Young). During this time living in Laurel Canyon, Nash began a relationship with legendary folk songwriter and musician Joni Mitchell who inspired the song ‘Our House’ amongst other CSNY songs like ‘Marrakesh Express’ and ‘Teach Your Children’.
Also, it’s integral to mention that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s second live performance ever was at Woodstock – not too bad.
The two-time Rock and Roll inductee Graham Nash was an integral part of the Southern Californian music scene and the community that existed in the hippie landscape that is Laurel Canyon.
By 1971, he decided to release his solo work ‘Song for Beginners’ where he displayed his innate talent in songwriting and once again proved he was not just a one trick pony. In the album, he expressed his loss of his relationship with Joni Mitchell as well as the Vietnam protests that were rife throughout the States.
Nash says in his Instagram page: “It’s incredible to see how many of the songs on that album have held up over time, now being discovered by a younger generation who thankfully seem to like them too.”
View this post on Instagram
The album was a success for Nash as it peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart and the single ‘Chicago’ made it to No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100..
Graham Nash’s solo work as well as his work in The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young has had a significant impact on folk and rock music and has gone to inspire the likes of modern artists such as Lana Del Rey and Harry Styles.
In order to celebrate Salford’s very own Graham Nash and the 50th birthday of his debut solo album, it’s definitely time to give this album a listen. After all, he is one of our own.
To hear a recent live concert of the album, it can be found here:
Featured image: Schorle, CC BY-SA 4.0