Famed for his work in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash, two of pop music's most successful and enduring groups, Stephen Stills was born in Dallas, Texas, on January 3, 1945. He became fascinated by music at a young age, and by the age of 15 was playing professionally. He eventually dropped out of college to move to New York City to try his hand as a folk performer before signing on as a guitar player with the Au Go-Go Singers, where he befriended a fellow bandmate named Richie Furay.
After a tour of Canada (during which they headlined a bill with the Squires, which featured guitarist Neil Young), Stills left the Au Go-Gos in 1965 for Los Angeles, where he became enmeshed in the city's burgeoning folk-rock community. After a series of session gigs and auditions (including one for the TV series The Monkees), in the spring of 1966 Stills enlisted Young, Furay, bassist Bruce Palmer, and drummer Dewey Martin to form the Herd, later dubbed the Buffalo Springfield. A year later, the group issued their eponymous debut; its Stills-penned single "For What It's Worth," made them stars. Internal problems, ego clashes, and drugs were already tearing the band apart, however, and by the release of 1968's Last Time Around, the Springfield had already dissolved.
In 1975, he celebrated his signing to Columbia with Stills, followed a year later by Illegal Stills. In the summer of 1976, he planned to tour with Neil Young; however, Young was hampered with throat problems, so Stills took to the road alone, although he and Young did team for the LP Long May You Run. In 1977, Stills reunited with Crosby and Nash for CSN, which sold over four million copies; the following summer, the trio mounted an acoustic tour, and Stills issued the solo record Thoroughfare Gap. CSN continued their reunion throughout the early years of the next decade, teaming in 1980 for Replay and in 1982 for Daylight Again, which featured the hits "Southern Cross" and "Wasted on the Way."