Gerry Tolman

Manager of Crosby, Stills & Nash


Gerald Dennis Tolman, manager, guitarist and songwriter: born Santa Monica, California 12 February 1953; married (one son, one daughter); died Calabasas, California 31 December 2005.

Formed in Laurel Canyon in 1968, the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash defined the hippie era with songs like "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and have remained a popular concert attraction despite their occasionally fractious relationships. A long-standing friend and associate of the group, Gerry Tolman managed the trio as well as the solo careers of both Stephen Stills and Graham Nash for the last 20 years. He took over the affairs of the band when their standing had suffered following David Crosby's spell in jail for drug possession and weapon offences in 1985, and set about re-establishing them as a bankable proposition with concert promoters and record labels.

Under his stewardship, Crosby (a founding member of the Byrds), the Lancashire-born Nash (who left the Hollies in 1968) and Stills (formerly with Buffalo Springfield) reunited with their erstwhile collaborator Neil Young (also of Buffalo Springfield) for the American Dream album in 1988 and the Looking Forward album in 1999 and toured with the Canadian superstar in 2000 and 2002.

Two years later, Crosby and Nash released their first album as a duo since 1976. They toured Europe in early 2005 and returned in the summer with Stephen Stills, who also issued Man Alive, his eighth solo album, last year. Crosby, Stills & Nash: Greatest Hits, a compilation overseen by Tolman, made the UK charts and they were the subject of a four-part Radio 2 documentary series which crowned arguably their busiest year since their late-Sixties heyday.

Born in Santa Monica in 1953, Gerry Tolman played guitar with various Los Angeles bands while attending Loyola High School. He went on to study telecommunications at the University of Southern California and set up his own film production company. In 1976, he was hired by CBS Records to make a promotional film on Stephen Stills, who was putting the finishing touches to the Illegal Stills album. The film-maker and the singer/multi-instrumentalist hit it off and, within a few months, Tolman was tour-managing the ill-fated Stills-Young Band tour (Young jumped ship before a concert in Atlanta).

Tolman stayed with them for the 1977 CSN reunion album and tour and also contributed to Thoroughfare Gap, the album Stills issued the following year. Throughout 1979 and 1980, Tolman played live with Stills and his California Blues Band and co-wrote with him "Turn Your Back on Love", the opening track on Daylight Again.

That album started out as a Stills-Nash project but Crosby came on board and the album was credited to CSN when it was eventually released, making the US Top Ten in July 1982. Crosby's trials and tribulations over the next four years meant the triumvirate lost momentum but they made up for it with a raft of activity in the Nineties.

Tolman came into his own, negotiating with Elliot Roberts, who used to manage CSNY, over the CSN four-CD box set issued in 1991 - co-produced by Nash and Tolman. In 1997, CSN produced Long Time Coming, a video compilation of their work.

Pierre Perrone

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