Book review: Wild tales, By Graham Nash

 

Friday 27 September 2013 17:20
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Graham Nash’s book is as much a lesson in pop history as it is a warts-and-all memoir. The co-founder of The Hollies, he made it out of post-war poverty in Manchester with a series of hits including “Carrie Anne”, “Simple Man” and “Marrakesh Express”, before becoming a leading light in the Laurel Canyon folk scene alongside collaborators David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and his then lover, Joni Mitchell.

In tracing Nash’s rise, Wild Tales bears exuberant witness to the Fifties rock’n’roll explosion, the Swinging Sixties, and the American folk-rock scene, all interspersed with obligatory stories of drugs benders, band acrimony and copious sex.

There are moments when the author’s ego threatens to overwhelm the narrative: he is not above rhapsodising over his own brilliant song lyrics, while Nash’s old Hollies chums move swiftly from bosom buddies to provincial stick-in-the-muds as his mind is blown by LSD and the sexual proclivities of American women. Yet he is not without charm. For all his wealth and talent, Nash remains a daydreamer who never loses his boyish admiration for great music and those who make it.

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