CSN&Y – Carry On

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young were making their second album…the 1970  Déjà Vu and Graham Nash realized something was wrong. He told Stephin Stills they needed another song like Suite: Judy Blue Eyes on this album. Stills was listening, he went back to his hotel room and put together two unfinished songs, and came up with another suite…Carry On. 

He took the song back to Graham Nash and he could not believe it. They had the song the album needed. 

The album was hard to make because of the state that David Crosby was in. His girlfriend at the time, Christine Hinton, was taking their cat to the Vet and died in a car crash. Graham and others have said that Crosby was never the same after that accident. It started his slide into harder drugs that would end up with jail time and his liver replaced. 

“Carry On” has the distinction of appearing on three different US #1 albums. It was first released on Déjà Vu, which hit the top spot on May 16, 1970. Then it appeared on the CSN&Y live album 4 Way Street, #1 on May 15, 1971. Finally, it showed up on the compilation So Far, the #1 album on November 2, 1974.

The second part of the song is taken from Questions, a song Stills wrote for his band Buffalo Springfield. 

Stephen Stills:  “I went back to my room in this horrifying hotel and the next morning I knocked on Graham’s door and said, ‘OK, how’s this?’ And I played him ‘Carry On’ and he went nuts. So we got everybody together in the studio and recorded it.”

Graham Nash: After that tragedy, we somehow continued to make Déjà Vu, but David often wound up in tears in the studio. Drugs helped him mourn—or so he thought—but, of course, they only made things worse. He was inconsolable, falling apart. The love and sunshine that was in the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album had disappeared from Déjà Vu because, in one way or another, we were all tormented, all miserable, all coked out of our minds.

Drummer Dallas Taylor: “The song was written in the middle of the Deja Vu sessions, when Nash told Stephen they still didn’t have an opener for the album. It was something of a message to the group, since it had become a real struggle to keep the band together at that point. Stephen combined two unfinished songs and stuck them onto a jam we’d had out in the studio a few nights before, me on drums and Stephen on a Hammond B-3 organ. As the track begins I’m playing bass drums and high hat, and Graham is playing congas. Then we go into a 6/8 groove, which is rather obscure – Stephen loved to change gears that way. The sessions would go on all night, sometimes three or four days non-stop. The thing I loved about the studio was you could never tell if it was day or night, and we hid all the clocks so no one knew what time it was.”

Carry On

One morning I woke up and I knew
You were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes
To see the dawn.
Go your way, I’ll go mine and
Carry on

The sky is clearing and the night
Has cried enough
The sun, he come, the world
To soften up
Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but
To carry on

The fortunes of fables are able
To sing the song
Now witness the quickness with which
We get along
To sing the blues you’ve got to live the dues and
Carry on

Carry on
Love is coming
Love is coming to us all

Where are you going now my love?
Where will you be tomorrow?
Will you bring me happiness?
Will you bring me sorrow?
Oh, the questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover can you talk to me?

Girl when I was on my own
Chasing you down
What was it made you run?
Trying your best just to get around.
The questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover can you talk to me?

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

17 thoughts on “CSN&Y – Carry On”

  1. One of their better efforts, and also a favorite of mine. I read a few books about the boys. Crosby was a hot mess and that’s why the Byrds moved him down the road. The death of his girlfriend, drugs and mental instability only amplified everything. Of the four of them, Stills was the glue that held them together. His talent was galvanizing. I saw them about 18 years ago and some of the magic was still there, but mostly I felt embarrassed for them. Some bands don’t know when to stop. Stills, being from Dallas and raised there did not mention his hometown, which drew a negative response from the crowd of Boomer age folks. He finally said, ” yeah, I’m from here and not happy about being back.” or something along those lines. Nash was the most gracious and professional. As Always Max, good writing about a good song and album. I still have my copy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Phil. I got to see them in the 1980s when Crosby was halfway ok…I remember going to get a coke or something and their voices just went right through you… Yea I’ve heard the later 2000 and after shows were not that great.

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    1. I was telling Phil…in the 80s I saw them and I could feel their voices vibrating through me. Never had happened before or since.

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  2. I didn’t instantly know the song by the title but once I got about 10 or 15 seconds in I went ‘Oh yeah! I know this one!’ A good one…not quite ‘Suite Judy Blue eyes’ but a better than OK facsimile! And like you were saying above, those harmonies really really get you… I can’t think of a better group of guys for harmony singing than them.

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    1. I’m glad I did get to see them live…without Young but I saw Young solo around the same time.
      This one gets forgotten more than some of the others.

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  3. I love CSNY and have 4-way street, but I’ve heard a lot of their CSN, CSNY, and solo (except for Crosby) albums over the years. Did not know that Carry On had been part of another (Buffalo Springfield) tune before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will agree with that…he was undervalued. Something that I didn’t know about this song is that he took some of it from the song Questions by Buffalo Springfield.

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      1. Yeah, I’ve heard the Buffalo Springfield song. That last BS album is a bit of a step down after the second one, but it’s okay. Jim Messina had joined on bass by that point.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a terrific tune! CSNY’s harmony singing was second to none, except for The Temptations. “Déjà-Vu” is a masterpiece and was among the first vinyl music albums I heard as an 8-year-old. It was the among the records my six-year-older sister owned at the time.

    I’ve said this before, while likely unknowingly, she really introduced me to some of the best music. I keep coming back to albums like “Déjà-Vu”, “Tapestry” and “Wish You Were Here.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like I said in an earlier comment… I saw them live in the 80s…. Christian I got up to get a drink and I could FEEL their voices vibrate through me. Now some of that is volume but those voices were powerful…I saw what the fuss was about.

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