Four names — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — have become forever linked to Woodstock, one of the most important musical and cultural events in modern times.
“Déjà Vu,” the first album recorded by the group after the entrance of Young, is an auditory journey filled with the positive concepts that dominated the cultural era — peace and love.
Nash’s descriptions of Woodstock left such an impression on then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell, that she penned a song of the same name about the event. “Woodstock” would be a single for the group and make the album synonymous with the summer of ’69, even though it wasn’t released until 1970.
All four already were veterans of the music scene. Stills and Young had played together before as part of Buffalo Springfield. Crosby had played with The Byrds. Nash was a veteran of the British invasion, playing with The Hollies.
The lyrics on “Déjà Vu” are a snapshot of a time and place far removed from modern cynicism. The songs brim with positive energy and idealism.
Songs “Carry On,” “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” are uplifting and hopeful. They speak of a simple life, finding happiness in the everyday and above all, love for family and friends.
The cohesive feel of “Déjà Vu” turned out to be short lived, as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have disbanded and reformed more than once due to personality clashes and artistic disagreements.
The album will stand as the group’s high-water mark — a commercially successful work hailed by critics.
“Déjà Vu” feels like a time capsule containing memories of an era gone by. Perhaps listeners will revisit it and think “Haven’t I been here before?”