Though Crosby, Stills & Nash will likely always be known for their vital contributions to folk rock, their discography extends far beyond those ideas and into a wide expanse of sonic diversity. They’ve tried their hand at funky blues riffs, Texas shuffles, and even synth-heavy ’80s arena rock.
The deep album cuts from CSN go to show just how versatile this iconic group can be. Below, we’re going through five lesser-known CSN (and one CSNY) songs that deserve a chance to shine alongside their biggest hits.
1. “In My Dreams”
Of all the songs on this list, “In My Dreams” is probably the most classically CSN. Released in 1977 on the group’s self-titled album, it keeps their folky roots well intact and ups the easy-listening vibes tenfold. It’s yacht rock at its most buoyant.
2. “Haven’t We Lost Enough”
Odd album covers aside, Live It Up, features a number of lesser-known CSN tracks that could use some more recognition. One such song is “Haven’t We Lost Enough.” The driving guitar riff is a little bit haunting and reminiscent of the southern rockers of the ’70s. They wax poetic about losing love for seemingly no reason singing, I still love you / Like a child wasn’t I good enough?
From their seventh studio album, Daylight Again, comes this lush ballad about life along the riverbank. It’s whimsical and deeply scenic. While they dance, while they dance / I love the child who steers this riverboat / But lately he’s crazy for the deep / The river seems dreamlike in the daytime, they sing in unison, adding yet another rich, harmony-filled offering to their repertoire.
4. “War Games”
“War Games” is almost too ’80s. The driving synth is something out of a Neverending Story-Esque fantasy and CSN’s melodies switch from lulling folk harmonies to something worthy of a piercing arena rock band. It may not be what fans know and love about the group, but it certainly is prime guilty pleasure fodder.
5. “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (Live)
For this last choice, we’re throwing Neil Young into the mix for a stellar live version of “Only Love Can Break your Heart.” Notably recorded by Young alone, CSNY brought it out as a group in 1970 for their live show. The performance was recorded and left us with this version that has such stunning harmonies it almost surpasses the original.
Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns