There are artists who exist, it seems, only to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Some of them are sidemen. Others are loyal musicians. But, it is rare to find a gifted songwriter and singer who willingly plays team ball when it comes to rock and roll bands and still manages to carve out an incredible career. If there is a better example than Graham Nash, who turns 70 today, I don't know who it is.
Most remember Nash as one-third of Crosby, Stills and Nash or one-fourth of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But he was also the co-founder and principal songwriter for The Hollies until he left the band in 1968. Like many "the" bands of the day (Zombies, Box Tops, Beatles, etc.), The Hollies were a huge hit during the British invasion of the 1960s and Nash was a substantial part of that success.
In addition to music, Nash and his former Hollies bandmates Allan Clarke and Tom Hicks formed a small label in the '60s that discovered a young fella named Reg Dwight who the world would later know as Elton John. Nash has been heavily involved in political causes since the '60s including environmental initiatives and the "no nukes" movement. He's been inducted into the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.
He may have occasionally lurked in the shadows behind his more well recognized and often more infamous bandmates, but Graham Nash is as integral to the sound of those seminal rock bands as anyone.
In honor of his 70th birthday, here are some essential Nash performances.