CSN – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes is an epic song. It has four distinct sections that are woven together with an acoustic and those harmonies holding it all together.

The last verse is in Spanish and is about Cuba. It was sung in Spanish because Stephen Stills didn’t want it easily understood since it had little to do with the theme of the song.

Here’s the translation: “How nice it will (or would) be to take you to Cuba The queen of the Caribbean Sea I only want to visit you there And how sad that I can’t, damn!” 

Stills put that part in simply because the song had gone on forever and he didn’t want it to just lay there at the end.

The song peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100 and #11 in Canada in 1969.

Graham Nash: “When Stephen Stills first played me this song, I wondered what planet he was from,”

Stephen Stills: “It started out as a long narrative poem about my relationship with Judy Collins. It poured out of me over many months and filled several notebooks. I had a hell of a time getting the music to fit. I was left with all these pieces of song and I said, ‘Let’s sing them together and call it a suite,’ because they were all about the same thing and they led up to the same point.”

From Songfacts

This runs 7:22. The single is three minutes shorter then the album version. Many FM radio stations played the album cut.

The title is a play on words. “Suite” is a reference to a part of a classical composition, but it can also be interpreted as “Sweet.”

This wasn’t their first single, or even their biggest, but certainly one of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s most well-known songs. It established the harmony style that would be the group’s trademark for years to come

This opened Crosby, Stills and Nash’s set at Woodstock in 1969. The event ran long, so they didn’t go on stage until 3 a.m. the third night (The Who set a precedent by going on at 5 a.m. the night before). They played 16 songs in their set, the first nine acoustic and the last seven electric. Those who left to get to work Monday morning not only missed Crosby, Stills and Nash, but didn’t see Jimi Hendrix close out the festival.

Crosby, Stills and Nash played this at Live Aid in 1985. Organized by Bob Geldof, Live Aid was a benefit for famine relief in Africa. Crosby, Stills and Nash also played “Teach Your Children” and “Southern Cross.”

Nash Stephen Stills spoke to Rolling Stone magazine about this song: “It was the beginnings of three different songs that suddenly fell together as one. Actually on the demo the middle part is not exactly how they would play. Half of it is it just falls off in its own – but we actually split it in half, and they got started singing and boom, there it went. Once it all was there then we just kept adding parts. When I wrote it I used cardboard shirt-blocking, you know those things from the cleaner’s – ’cause they were harder to lose than pieces of paper and they didn’t crumple up. I could line them up on music stands and they’d stand up.”

Nash revealed to Rolling Stone that of the CS&N trio, Stills was the only to play on this song. All three contributed vocals. Nash was impressed when he heard it.

Judy Collins recalled to Mojo magazine the effect this song had on her after Stills played it in her hotel room. She said: “He sang me Suite Judy Blue Eyes and, you know, broken hearts are a very good inspiration – and I just caved in and I suppose I made promises I couldn’t keep. We both had personal struggles.” Collins’ battle was with alcohol.

 

Suite Judy Blue Eyes

It’s getting to the point where I’m no fun anymore
I am sorry
Sometimes it hurts so badly I must cry out loud
I am lonely
I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are
You make it hard
Remember what we’ve said and done and felt about each other
Oh, babe have mercy
Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now
I am not dreaming
I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are
You make it hard

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Tearing yourself away from me now you are free
And I am crying
This does not mean I don’t love you I do that’s forever
Yes and for always
I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are
You make it hard
Something inside is telling me that I’ve got your secret
Are you still listening?
Fear is the lock and laughter the key to your heart
And I love you
I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are
You make it hard
And you make it hard
And you make it hard
And you make it hard

Friday evening
Sunday in the afternoon
What have you got to lose?
Tuesday morning
Please be gone I’m tired of you
What have you got to lose?
Can I tell it like it is? (Help me I’m sufferin’)
Listen to me baby
It’s my heart that’s a sufferin’ it’s a dyin’ (Help me I’m dyin’)
And that’s what I have to lose (To lose)
I’ve got an answer
I’m going to fly away
What have I got to lose?
Will you come see me
Thursdays and Saturdays?
What have you got to lose?

Chestnut brown canary
Ruby throated sparrow
Sing a song, don’t be long
Thrill me to the marrow

Voices of the angels
Ring around the moonlight
Asking me said she so free
How can you catch the sparrow?

Lacy lilting lady
Losing love lamenting
Change my life, make it right
Be my lady

Que linda me la traiga Cuba
La reina de la Mar Caribe
Cielo sol no tiene sangreahi
Y que triste que no puedo vaya oh va, oh va

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

21 thoughts on “CSN – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”

  1. Stills was amazingly good through 1969-1970 – anchored those early CSN albums with a great voice, amazing guitar chops (and could play lots of other instruments too) and some great songs. In the Neil Young book Shakey it sounded like he had some pretty bad mental health issues in the mid-1970s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea I’ve read the same in the Graham Nash book I just finished re-reading. Graham puts it down to drugs but it was probably more.
      I always wondered why Neil left that 76 tour in Atlanta…he left Stills in a spot…there had to be a reason.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve heard this song, on and off, over the years. I’m not a big CSN or Y fan but, a few of their songs appeal to me. My fave is Southern Cross but, this is kinda cool.

    I see the screw came loose, again…

    Like

  3. One of my favourite songs and from one of my favourite albums. I didn’t know the words of the Spanish part, have always just sort of listened to it as a rhythm rather than anything with specific meaning as I do when I don’t understand a song in a language I don’t know (which, it has to be said, is all languages except English!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve loved this song since it came out in the fall of 1969, and think it’s a masterpiece. I’ve always loved songs like this that transition from one melody and tempo to another (like Stairway to Heaven, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Layla, etc.).

    Like

  5. Their voices together elevate them to something celestial. I love every bit of this song. These guys knew what they were doing. First I’m hearing about Stills’ mental health issues. Sometimes being with someone who is crazy can rub off on a person. Not saying Judy Blue Eyes was nuts or anything, but…

    Liked by 1 person

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