Graham Nash achieved his greatest commercial success as a member of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash, but he also sporadically pursued a solo career that earned him a faithful cult following and, occasionally, a crossover pop hit.
Born in Blackpool, England but raised in Manchester, Nash began playing music as a teenager, picking up the guitar during Britain's skiffle craze of the mid-'50s. In 1955, he formed the Two Teens with his school mate Allan Clarke. The duo performed together for the next few years, eventually changing their name to Ricky and Dane; later, they changed their name yet again, this time to the Guytones. By 1960, the duo had formed a full band with bassist Eric Haydock and drummer Don Rathbone, dubbing the outfit the Fourtones and then the Deltas. Following the addition of lead guitarist Tony Hicks in 1961, the Deltas became the Hollies.
During the mid-'60s, the Hollies racked up a string of hit singles — including "Look Through Any Window," 'Bus Stop," "Stop Stop Stop," "Carrie-Anne," "On A Carousel," and "Pay You Back With Interest" — in both England and America, establishing themselves as one of the most popular bands of the British invasion. Nash played a key role in writing most of the group's hits, including "Carrie-Anne," "King Midas In Reverse," and "On A Carousel." By 1968, he was frustrated with the group's reluctance to perform some of his newer songs, so he left the band.
Immediately after leaving the Hollies, Nash formed a folk-rock trio with former Byrd David Crosby and former Buffalo Springfield member Stephen Stills. Crosby, Stills, and Nash recorded their debut album in early 1969. Each member contributed songs to the record; Nash's songs, including "Marrakesh Express" and "Lady of the Island," were numbers that the Hollies refused to record. Upon its release later in 1969, Crosby, Stills, and Nash's eponymous debut album was an immediate hit, setting the stage for a long and popular career for the trio. Over the next three decades, the group toured and recorded sporadically. During the early '70s, they regularly collaborated with Neil Young, but the singer/songwriter performed with the trio for a final time in 1974.
In 1971, Graham Nash released his first solo album, Songs for Beginners, which featured guest appearances by Jerry Garcia, Dave Mason, and Nash's girlfriend of the time, Rita Coolidge. Songs for Beginners was the most successful of all of Nash's solo records, peaking at number 15 and eventually going gold. The year after its release, Nash and Crosby recorded a duet album of their own, appropriately entitled Graham Nash/David Crosby, the record peaked at number four and went gold wihin a year of its release. Nash released his next solo album, Wild Tales, in late 1973; the record peaked at number 34.
In 1975, Crosby, Stills, and Nash broke up. Stills pursued a solo career while Crosby and Nash recorded a series of albums together. Over the next thre years, the duo released two studio albums — Wind on the Water (1975) and Whistling Down the Wire (1976) — one live album (1977's Crosby/Nash — Live) and a hits compilation. During the late '70s, Nash devoted much of his time to political activism and charity, as well as campaigning for a U.S. citizenship. In 1980, he was granted U.S. citizenship. That same year, he returned to performing music with Earth & Sky, his first solo album wince 1974. Earth & Sky spent only five weeks on the charts, peaking at number 80.
In 1982, Crosby, Stills and Nash reunited and released the Daylight Again album. Over the next two decades, the trio performed regularly and recorded occasionally. In 1983, Nash joined the reunited the Hollies for an album and tour. In 1986, he released his fourth solo album, Innocent Eyes, which failed to make much of an impact. During the late '80s, Young reunited with Crosby, Stills, and Nash for an album, American Dream, but he refused to supporte the record with a tour. Crosby, Stills & Nash carried on without him, touring and recording throughout the '90s.