Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Our House

Our House…that is where most of us are today and for days to come. Here is a ballad that Graham Nash wrote for the Déjà Vu album. The first album to include Crosby, Stills, Nash, AND Young.

Graham Nash wrote this sentimental tune about his relationship living with Joni Mitchell in a cottage in LA’s Laurel Canyon around 1969. Mitchell and Nash were a romantic couple during the period in which Joni wrote the songs for Ladies Of The Canyon which, like Deja Vu, was released in 1970.

Our house peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100, #13 in Canada, and #19 in New Zealand in 1970.

Graham Nash: It was one of those gray cloudy days in Los Angeles that foreshadows the spring. When we got back and put our stuff down, I said, “I’ll light a fire”—she had an open fireplace with a stash of wood in the back—“why don’t you put some flowers in that vase you just bought. It’ll look beautiful. It’s kind of a bleak day. It’ll bring some more color into the room.” Then I stopped. I thought: Whoa! That’s a delicious moment. How many couples have been there: You light a fire, I’ll cook dinner. I thought that in the ordinariness of the moment there might be a profoundly simple statement. So Joni went out into the garden to gather ferns and leaves and a couple flowers to put in the vase. That meant she wasn’t at the piano—but I was! And within the hour, the song “Our House” was finished.

 

From Songfacts

Biographer Dave Zimmer shared what Graham Nash told him about the song in the 2007 CSNY Historian’s interview: “He once told me: ‘The time that Joni and I were living together was really interesting because I had left my band [The Hollies] successfully, I had left my country [England] successfully, I had been accepted here [Los Angeles, California], and I was feeling great. And Joni was feeling great, too; she had started to realize who she was and the fantastic work she was doing. She was painting and designing her second album cover, doing that self-portrait. And I remember being totally in awe of her. She’d go and make some supper and come down and we’d be eating, then she’d all of a sudden space out, go to the piano … to see her sit down and write ‘Rainy Night House’ and all those other things was just mind blowing.'” 

According to Graham Nash’s biography Wild Tales, a famous line in this song had a very specific inspiration. He and Joni Mitchell went to an antiques store and she picked out a vase. When they got home, Nash said, “I’ll light the fire while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.” He stopped dead in his tracks and went immediately to the piano.

In the earliest live performances of the song, Nash would introduce it as being “about my woman.” He never used Mitchell’s name, though.

This was used in ’80s TV spots for Eckrich sausage and the Pacific Bell telephone company.

Our House

I’ll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today
Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me

Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is good
Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the evening
Sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy ’cause of you and our la, la, la…

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy ’cause of you and our

I’ll light the fire, while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Our House”

  1. It’s a nice little song, though not my immediate ‘go to’ song on the album – that would be the first track, ‘carry on’ then 4+20, Deja Vu, and Woodstock which bring back lots of memories of those days. 🙂 (I didn’t get to any of the big open air festivals, just one or two of the free Hyde Park ones, but I can imagine I was there… with a bit of a stretch at my age now, haha!)

    I hadn’t realised it was about his relationship with Joni Mitchell.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read his book a couple of years ago. He seems just like you see him on interviews. Nice, polite, but ambitious. He took a chance leaving The Hollies but he won.

      He wrote a lot of the more simple songs but many were hits. I saw them in the 80s and their voices…I could feel them vibrated through me…probably the volume!

      Open air festivals were the thing back then. They were all over America.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. a great song… kind of like CCR singles, it’s music of my very early childhood soundtrack, just kind of osmosed itself into my psyche hearing it so many times in the background when I was little

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I appreciate the sentiment of the song. It’s very sweet. But…I can’t stand the music. Lyrically, it reads well. Musically, I want to stick ice picks in my ears. “Very, very, very, very, very, very, very fine house…very, very, very, very, very, very, very fine house…” bang, bang, bang… LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Graham wasn’t known as the next Bob Dylan lol. He wrote very simple songs compared to his mates…but those simple songs are the ones that hit for them…mostly.
      The melody for this one carries it for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually like the lyrics – domestic bliss isn’t a common theme for male songwriters, and there are interesting specific details like the vase. I think the repetition bothers some people. I come back to it for the vocal arrangement.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In his book he said that Stills and Crosby would make playfully make fun of his simple songs but…overall he probably had the most hits out of all of them within the band structure.
        I do like the song. It sounds like a young/old couple in love.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. He called his debut solo album Songs for Beginners – maybe it was a reference to that. They balanced each other well – gritty bluesy/Latin guy, jazzy guy, pop guy. Shame they couldn’t stop fighting over Rita Coolidge.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In April, 1980, my wife and I bought our first (and only) house. The first thing we did on the day we moved in was to unpack the stereo, set it up, find our copy of Deja Vu and play this song. Thanks for bringing that memory back with your excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

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