Graham William Nash, OBE (born 2 February 1942) is a British singer-songwriter known for his light tenor voice and for his songwriting contributions with the British pop group The Hollies, and with the folk-rock super group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. A dual citizen of the United Kingdom and United States, Nash became an American citizen on 14 August 1978.
Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer. He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997 and as a member of The Hollies in 2010.
Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours List for services to music and to charity.
Nash holds four honorary doctorates, including one in Music from the University of Salford in 2011. and his latest Doctorate in Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Nash was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, in 1942, his mother having been evacuated there from the Nashes' hometown of Salford, Lancashire because of the Second World War. The family subsequently returned to Salford, where Graham grew up. In the early 1960s he co-founded The Hollies, one of the UK's most successful pop groups, with schoolfriend Allan Clarke. Credited on the first album as "Group Leader", he occasionally took a lead vocal. Nash was featured vocally on "Just One Look" in 1964, and sang his first lead vocal on the original Hollies song "To You My Love" on the band's second album In The Hollies Style (1964). He then progressed to often singing featured bridge vocals on Hollies recordings; "So Lonely", "I've Been Wrong", "Pay You Back With Interest". Also by 1966 Nash was providing a few solo lead vocals on Hollies albums & then from 1967 also on B-sides to singles.
In 1965 Nash with Allan Clarke & guitarist Tony Hicks formed Gralto Music Ltd, a publishing company who handled their own songs and later signed the young Reg Dwight (aka 'Elton John' – who played piano & organ on Hollies 1969 and 1970 recordings after Nash's exit from the group).
Nash led the vocals on Hollies hits such as "On a Carousel" in 1967. In "Carrie Anne", also in 1967, Nash featured as a lead vocal verse singer, and sang chorus harmonies with Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks. From 1963 he had instigated The Hollies writing their own songs, initially with Clarke. Nash's first written song with Clarke was the Everlys-inspired "Whole World Over"). From 1964 to mid-1966 Clarke, Hicks and Nash wrote as the alias L. Ransford. Their own names were credited on songs from "Stop Stop Stop" from October 1966 onwards. Nash initially wrote or co-wrote many of the band's original songs, most often in collaboration with Allan Clarke. Tony Hicks joined the duo up to Nash's departure from the band in December 1968.
Songwriting And Activism
Nash was pivotal in the forging of a sound and lyrics, often chiefly writing the verses on original team composed Hollies songs showing an obvious hippie influence on The Hollies' albums. However, Nash also wrote solo under the 'team banner' (like Lennon & McCartney), his songs such as 'Fifi The Flea' (1966, featuring just Nash's voice and an acoustic guitar), 'Clown' (1966), 'Stop Right There', 'Everything is Sunshine' (1967) and several of his lead vocal songs on the Butterfly album carried little or no trademark harmonies (sometimes just his own harmonies), sometimes scant group accompaniment – 'Sunshine', 'Relax', etc. – and reflected a singer/songwriter approach, later with songs of an 'escapist' nature ('Away Away Away', 'Postcard' etc.). He was disappointed when his transition in sound did not register with the audience that The Hollies played to, including when 'King Midas in Reverse' did not gain the popularity he expected it to (Nash had clashed with longtime Hollies producer Ron Richards over this, Richards believing the song was 'too complex' to work as a hit single). Nash greatly influenced the direction of Evolution, and Butterfly, a collection that brought differing opinions on the band's musical direction to the fore.
Nash initially met both David Crosby and Stephen Stills in 1966 among a group of American musician friends during a Hollies US tour. In 1968, after a further visit to the US, he was introduced by mutual friend Cass Elliott to David Crosby in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Nash left The Hollies to form a new group with Crosby and Stephen Stills. A trio at first, Crosby, Stills & Nash later became a quartet with Neil Young: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY). With them, Nash went on to even greater worldwide success, penning many of CSN's most commercial hit singles such as 'Marrakesh Express' (1969 – written earlier and initially cut in unfinished form by The Hollies back in 1968), 'Just A Song Before I Go' (1977) and later 'Wasted on the Way' (1982). Both Nash's 'Our House' and 'Teach Your Children' (CSNY recordings from the album Deja Vu in 1970) have become well known items used in both TV commercials and films. Nash, nicknamed 'Willy' by his band mates in CSNY, has been described as the glue that keeps their often fragile alliances together. A mark of this is the loyalty and support Nash showed to his best friend, Crosby, during Crosby's well-documented period of drug addiction ending in the mid-1980s. Nash's solo career has often been shelved in favour of reunions on stage and in the studio with either Crosby and Stills or Crosby, Stills and Young. In addition, Nash briefly rejoined The Hollies in 1983 (to mark their 20th anniversary) to record two albums, What Goes Around and Reunion. His own solo work shows a love of melody and ballads. His solo recordings have experimented with jazz and electronic percussion but tend not to stray too far from a pop format with well-defined hook lines.
Nash became very politically active after moving to California to join with David Crosby and Stephen Stills, as reflected in Nash's songs 'Military Madness' and 'Chicago (We Can Change the World)'. His song 'Immigration Man', Crosby and Nash's biggest hit as a duo (see below), arose from a tiff he had with a US Customs official while trying to enter the country.
In 1972, Nash teamed with Crosby, the two continuing as a successful recording and performing duo until the more or less permanent reformation with Stills for the CSN album of 1977. The pair reunited for another Crosby & Nash studio album in 2004, and a legitimate release of music from a 1970s Crosby-Nash tour as on a widely circulated bootleg appeared in 1998.
In 1979, Nash co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy.
In 1993 Nash again reunited with The Hollies to record a new version of 'Peggy Sue Got Married' that featured lead vocal by Buddy Holly (taken from an 'alternate' version of the song given to Nash by Holly's widow Maria Eleana Holly) – this 'Buddy Holly & The Hollies' recording opened the Not Fade Away tribute album to Holly by various artists.
In 2005, Nash collaborated with Norwegian musicians A-ha on the songs 'Over the Treetops' (penned by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy) and 'Cosy Prisons' (penned by Magne Furuholmen) for the Analogue recording. In 2006, Nash worked with David Gilmour and David Crosby on the title track of David Gilmour's third solo album, On an Island. In March 2006, the album was released and quickly reached No. 1 on the UK charts. Nash and Crosby subsequently toured the UK with Gilmour, singing backup on 'On an Island', 'The Blue', 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond', and 'Find the Cost of Freedom'.
Nash is part of the No Nukes group which is against the expansion of nuclear power. In 2007 the group recorded a music video of a new version of the Buffalo Springfield song 'For What It's Worth'.
In addition to his political songs Nash has written many songs on other themes he cares about such as of nature and ecology – beginning with The Hollies' 'Signs That Will Never Change' (first recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1966) – later CSNY's 'Clear Blue Skies', plus anti-nuclear waste dumping ('Barrel of Pain'), anti-war ('Soldiers of Peace'), and social issues ('Prison Song').
Nash appeared on the season 7 finale of American Idol singing 'Teach Your Children' with Brooke White.
In 2010 Nash was inducted a second time to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time as a member of The Hollies. He received an OBE 'for services to music and charitable activities', becoming an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Diplomatic and Overseas Division of the Queen's Birthday Honours List on 12 June 2010. Nash received the title of George Eastman Honorary Scholar at the George Eastman House on 22 January 2011, in Rochester, New York.
Nash contributed a cover of 'Raining in My Heart' to the 2011 tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly.
Interested in photography as a child, Nash began to collect photographs in the early 1970s. Having acquired more than a thousand prints by 1976, Nash hired Graham Howe as his photography curator. In 1978 through 1984 a touring exhibition of selections from the Graham Nash Collection toured to more than a dozen museums world wide. Nash decided to sell his 2,000 print collection through Sotheby's auction house in 1990 where it set an auction record for the highest grossing sale of a single private collection of photography.
In 2010 21st Editions published a monograph titled "Love, Graham Nash" which includes facsimiles of his lyrics paired with signed photographs by Graham Nash and printed by Nash Editions.
Early Digital Fine Art Printing
In the late 1980s Nash began to experiment with digital images of his photography on Macintosh computers with the assistance of R. Mac Holbert who at that time was the tour manager for Crosby, Stills, and Nash as well as handling computer/technical matters for the band. Nash ran into the problem common with all personal computers running graphics software during that period: he could create very sophisticated detailed images on the computer, but there was no output device (computer printer) capable of reproducing what he saw on the computer screen. Nash and Holbert initially experimented with early commercial printers that were then becoming available and printed many images on the large format Fujix inkjet printers at UCLA's JetGraphix digital output center. When Fuji decided to stop supporting the printers, John Bilotta, who was running JetGraphix, recommended that Nash and Holbert look into the Iris printer, a new large format continuous-tone inkjet printer built for prepress proofing by IRIS Graphics, Inc. Through IRIS Graphics national sales rep Steve Boulter, Nash also met programmer David Coons, a color engineer for Disney, who was already using the IRIS printer there to print images from Disney's new digital animation system.
Coons worked off hours at Disney to produce large images of 16 of Nash's photographic portraits on arches watercolor paper using Disney's in-house model 3024 IRIS printer for an 24 April 1990 show at Simon Lowinsky gallery. Since most of the original negatives and prints had been lost in shipment to a book publisher, Coons had to scan contact sheets and enhance the images so they could be printed in large format. He used software he had written to output the photographic images to the IRIS printer, a machine designed to work with proprietary prepress computer systems.
In July 1990 Graham Nash purchased an IRIS Graphics 3047 inkjet printer for $126,000 and set it up in a small carriage house in Manhattan Beach, California near Los Angeles. David Coons and Steve Boulter used it to print an even larger November 1990 show of Nash's work for Parco Stores in Tokyo. The show entitled Sunlight on Silver was a series of 35 celebrity portraits by Nash which were 3 feet by 4 feet in an edition of 50 prints per image, a total of 1,750 images. Subsequently, Nash exhibited his photographs at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and elsewhere.
In 1991 Graham Nash agreed to fund Mac Holbert to start a fine art digital based printing company using the IRIS Graphics 3047 printer sitting in Nash's Manhattan Beach, California carriage house. Holbert retired as road manager for Crosby, Stills, and Nash so that he could run the company. It opened its doors on 1 July 1991 with the name of Nash Editions Ltd. Early employees included David Coons, John Bilotta, and a serigraphic print maker named Jack Duganne. They worked to further adapt the IRIS printer to fine art printing, experimenting with ink sets to try to overcome the fast-fading nature of IRIS prints, and even going as far as sawing off part of the print heads so they could be moved back to clear thicker printing paper stocks (voiding the $126,000 machine's warranty). Nash and Holbert decided to call their fine art prints "digigraph" although Jack Duganne coined the name "Giclée" for these type of prints. The company is still in operation and currently uses Epson based large format printers.
In 2005, Nash donated the original IRIS Graphics 3047 printer and Nash Editions ephemera to the National Museum of American History, a Smithsonian Institution.
Nash married his second wife Susan Sennett in 1977. The couple has three children: Jackson; Will and Nile. The family lives in California, and has homes in Encino, Manhattan Beach, Sherman Oaks, and Van Nuys. They also have an apartment in New York, and a house on Kauai, Hawaii. (Encino house sold in 2010 )
Nash released an autobiographical memoir in September 2013 entitled Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life, published by Crown Publishing. Photographs that he took during his career are on display as an art collection at the San Francisco Art Exchange. In interviews pertaining to both the memoir and art exhibit he mentions the impact of Joni Mitchell, whom he lived with for two years after he left his first wife, Rosie. He also had a short-term relationship with Rita Coolidge.
- Eye to Eye: Photographs by Graham Nash by Nash and Garrett White (2004)
- Off The Record: Songwriters on Songwriting (2002)
- Love, Graham Nash (2 vols.  2009)
- "Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life" by Graham Nash (September 17, 2013)