Stephen Stills

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b. 3 January 1945, Dallas, Texas, USA.

The often dubbed ‘musical genius’ is better known for his work with the pivotal Buffalo Springfield, and for many years his association with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Neil Young. After the Springfield's break-up, Stills, at a loose end, joined with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield for the million-selling SUPER SESSION. His contributions included Donovan's "Season Of The Witch," on which he played one of the decade's most famous wah-wah guitar solos. His solo career began during one of Crosby, Stills & Nash's many hiatuses. Then living in England at Ringo Starr's former home, Stills enlisted a team of musical heavyweights to play on his self-titled debut which reached the US Top 3 in 1970. This outstanding album remains his best work, and is justifiably still available. In addition to the irresistible hit single "Love The One You're With" the album contains a healthy mixture of styles, all demonstrating his considerable dexterity as a songwriter, guitarist and singer. The solo acoustic "Black Queen" for example, was reputedly recorded while Stills was completely drunk, and yet his mastery of the (C.F.) Martin acoustic guitar still prevails. All tracks reach the listener, from the infectious "Old Times Good Times," featuring Jimi Hendrix to "Go Back Home," featuring Eric Clapton; it is unfair to single out any track for they are all exemplary. On this one album, Stills demonstrated the extent of his powers. STEPHEN STILLS 2 was a similar success containing the innocently profound "Change Partners," a brass re-working of the Springfield's "Bluebird" and the brilliant yet oddly-timed blues number "Nothing To Do But Today." For a while it appeared that Stills' solo career would eclipse that of his CSNY involvement. His superbly eclectic double album with Manassas and its consolidating follow-up made Stills an immensely important figure during these years. Ultimately Stephen was unable to match his opening pair of albums. While STILLS was an admirable effort, the subsequent live album and ILLEGAL STILLS were patchy. His nadir came in 1978 when, following the break up of his marriage to French chanteuse Veronique Sanson he produced THOROUGHFARE GAP, a collection riddled with uninspired songs of self-pity. Only the title track was worthy of his name. No official solo release came until 1984, when Ahmet Ertegun reluctantly allowed Stills to put out RIGHT BY YOU. While the slick production did not appeal to all Stills aficionados, it proved to be his most cohesive work since STEPHEN STILLS 2, although appealing more to the AOR market. The moderate hit "Can't Let Go" featured both Stills and Michael Finnigan, exercising their fine voices to great effect. Since then the brilliant but erratic Stills has continued his stop-go career with Crosby, Nash, and occasionally Young. Stills released a solo acoustic self-financed work in 1991. STILLS ALONE was an excellent return to his folk and blues roots and featured hoarse-voiced versions of The Beatles "In My Life" and Bob Dylan's "Ballad Of Hollis Brown." As a guitarist, his work in 1992 with a rejuvenated Crosby, Stills & Nash was quite breathtaking, demonstrating that those early accolades were not misjudged.

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