CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG – ” Deja Vu ” 50TH Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Posted: May 10, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Rhino - CSNY Deja Vu 5LP Product Image

Déjà Vu was the most-anticipated new album in America in 1970. More than 50 years later, it’s one of the most famous albums in rock history.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s 1969 eponymous debut was one of the most auspicious and omnipresent records of 1969, a remarkable and harmony-rich affair featuring such era-defining material as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Marrakesh Express,” “Guinnevere,” “Wooden Ships,” “Long Time Gone,” and “Helplessly Hoping.”  CSN blended folk, country, jazz, rock, and a dash of pop into an often-imitated but never-duplicated sound.  In the U.S. alone, the album reached No. 6 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and the top 20 of the year’s best-selling records.  Both “Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” became FM radio perennials.  But rather than follow the LP up in an expected manner, the trio of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash made their supergroup even more super, and more unpredictable, with the addition of Neil Young.  Roughly ten months after the release of CSN came Déjà Vu: the debut of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.  Now, on May 14th, Rhino and Atlantic Records are delivering fans a long-awaited expanded edition of this seminal rock classic as a 4CD/1LP set featuring 28 previously unreleased tracks.

The March 1970 release built on the success of its predecessor, reaching the zenith of the Top LPs chart and yielding three top 40 singles.  But the creative process was arduous and the atmosphere much changed since the first album was recorded.  Stills even compared the sessions to “pulling teeth.”  Nash had split with Joni Mitchell, the inspiration for “Our House.”  Stills and Judy Collins had also broken up, and David Crosby’s girlfriend Christine Hinton was tragically killed in a car accident.  New recruit (and Stills’ old Buffalo Springfield sparring partner) Young brought his own baggage.  But from all this strife, some of the foursome’s most beautiful and deeply-felt music emerged.

The bandmates, as ever dealing with interpersonal tensions, initially recorded most of the material solo, with the others adding their contributions later.  One of the significant exceptions to that rule was their searing rendition of Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” recorded at a full-band session.  Drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves appeared on most of the album (and received billing on its front cover) while Jerry Garcia lent his talents to Nash’s “Teach Your Children.”  John Sebastian appeared on the title track.  Ultimately, Déjà Vu boasted two songs each from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, plus one Stills/Young co-write and “Woodstock.”

“Woodstock” was the biggest hit .  “Teach Your Children” wasn’t far behind, at No. 16, and “Our House” peaked at No. 30.  Déjà Vu was the 11th best-selling LP of 1970 and attained a Gold certification just two weeks after its release.  It remained in the Billboard chart for 88 weeks, and paved the way for the success of the four solo albums released by CSNY in its wake (Young’s After the Gold Rush, the self-titled Stephen Stills, Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, and Nash’s Songs for Beginners).  With this Deluxe Edition, the road to Déjà Vu can be explored via demos, outtakes, and alternates.

The remastered original album is featured in the new box on both CD and 180-gram LP.  The second CD boasts eighteen demos, eleven of which are previously unissued.  It’s bookended by two demos of “Our House,” one from Nash solo and one from Nash and Joni Mitchell.  In between, listeners will discover songs that didn’t make the album as well as embryonic versions of those that did. 

Many of these songs would be completed for solo or other projects including Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name; Young’s After the Gold Rush; Stills’ Manassas and Stephen Stills 2; and Nash’s Songs for Beginners.  The third CD has eleven outtakes (nine previously unissued) including Crosby’s “Laughing;” Stills’ “Everyday We Live,” “Ivory Tower,” “I’ll Be There,” and “Bluebird Revisited;” and more. 

Finally, CD Four offers an alternate version of the original album in sequence sans “Country Girl” and “Everybody I Love You” and plus “Know You Got to Run.”  Only the “Helpless (Harmonica Version)” has been released before.  It all adds up to a deep dive into this period of prolific writing from all four members of the group.

Fresh off his work on the first volume of Joni Mitchell’s first volume of “Archives”, filmmaker-author Cameron Crowe has penned the new liner notes for the Déjà Vu: Deluxe Edition In addition to the 4CD/1LP set, the box will be released in super-deluxe 5LP format exclusively from the new CSNY50.com and Rhino.com.  Additionally, the audio will be released to download and streaming services as well as to high-resolution via Neil Young Archives.

Customers who purchase any version from CSNY50.com or Rhino.com will receive a high-resolution download.  Young and Nash’s demo of “Birds” is streaming now and can be viewed at YouTube.

Déjà Vu: Deluxe Edition arrives from Atlantic and Rhino on May 14th. 

4CD/1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
5LP: CSNY50.com / Rhino.com

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