“My songs are pretty simple,” says Graham Nash, who recently released Over the Years …, a new career-spanning archival collection. “I’m not a complicated songwriter. I don’t want to wait until the end of the second chorus before you know what I’m talking about. I want you to know immediately.” That’s been Nash’s philosophy for his entire career, going all the way back to the Sixties with “Marrakesh Express” and “Pre-Road Downs,” and up through his 2016 solo LP This Path Tonight.
And while he’s spent the past decade overseeing archival Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young releases like CSNY 1974, he decided it was time for a collection that focused exclusively on songs he composed himself. “So I found out from touring what my fans’ 15 favorite songs of mine are, and then I put a couple of mine in there,” he says. “Having gone through all the archives I found all my demos of older songs and I put 15 demos on there.” Most of the demos have never been heard before, including early versions of “Teach Your Children” and “Our House.”
“I know it’s silly,” he says. “But I think that people are kind of interested to see that initial spark, that strike of lightning when you put something down on tape at three in the morning and you’re a little drunk or something. To compare those to the records that were made from those songs is an interesting transition.”
When Nash came into Rolling Stone headquarters to chat about Over the Years …, he also looked at 14 YouTube videos spanning his entire career. Here are his memories of those moments.