And We've Got to Get Ourselves Back to Warsaw!
By 1989, CS&N are desperate for relevance. Under the misguided notion they were CNN, they fly to Berlin with a camera crew to show solidarity with the reunited Germans. Once there, CS&N shoots an opportunistic video of themselves performing the deservedly obscure Nash tune "Chipping Away." At the same time, the Indigo Girls were also by the Wall, trying to appear relevant themselves by performing the hippie anthem "Get Together." The entire experience leaves Germans asking, "Why couldn't they have just sent us Madonna?"
For What It's Worth!
The group's artistic integrity continued to plummet when they allowed their songs to be used as advertising jingles. Though no one bats an eye now, at the time the practice was quite controversial, and no one was fanning the flames of rock corporate sponsorship more furiously than the king mixer himself. Young was probably more incensed at his old bandmates' flagrant disregard for their own copyrights than either MTV or the beer companies he lambasted in his "This Note's for You" song and video.
You've also gotta wonder what Joni Mitchell thought when she heard "Our House," the song Nash penned about their years together, turning up in ads for Sears, the Pacific Yellow Pages and Emerick sausages! Nash also rerecords a brief version of "Teach Your Children" for a Fruit of the Loom commercial, a move he defended proudly by saying he wore their brand of underwear.
One imagined Stills must've drunk a lot of Miller Genuine Draft when he allowed "For What It's Worth" -- his classic 1967 song about the LAPD hassling Vietnam war protesters -- to be used in a beer commercial, complete with dancing cactuses wearing cowboy hats. What was he thinking -- hooray for our side?
Madison Avenue never rushed to appropriate any David Crosby songs, even though the Red Cross could probably make good use of "Everybody's Been Burned." Unfazed, Crosby was left to cash in on his notoriety as a drug casualty by appearing regularly as a 12-step graduate on The John Larroquette Show. Couldn't he just say no?
But maybe we should cut CS&N and CSN&Y some slack -- they are, after all, the only supergroup that's made two great albums and probably the only group in which three of its members actually screwed Joni Mitchell, a claim even Led Zeppelin can't make. And name another supergroup where a member impregnated the partner of a well-known lesbian and probably wasn't even in the same state when it happened. To quote zonked-out Woodstocker John Sebastian, "That kid's gonna be pretty far out, man." Far out, fine; just pray he doesn't need a new liver for his sixth birthday. Happy 31st, and don't eat too much cake, boys!
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are scheduled to perform on Monday, February 21, at America West Arena. Showtime is 8 p.m.