top of page

Southern Cross - Crosby Stills and Nash

While we are plumbing the annals of self pity we should listen to Stephen Still's wonderfully Melville-esque musings of a man running away from an unsuccessful relationship. Aboard a sailing ship, he's searching for his own Moby Dick - that woman "who knows love can endure" - while rueing his own past foibles while he's at it.

And not getting anywhere, but "finding himself" as he sails "around the world". It's a song about a man ruminating on his failed love, trying to be optimistic about it and losing himself.

I love the nautical terminology like "sailing on a reach, before a following sea" which then extends into a nautical metaphor for his state of mind. Backed by a superbly harmonising crew of David Crosby, Graham Nash, Timothy B Schmit (ex Poco and later in the Eagles) and legendary session man Michael Finnegan you know he can't go wrong. And, contemplating his soul he comes up with some pretty profound stuff:

when you see the Southern Cross for the first time

you understand just why you came this way

because the truth you might be running from is so small

but it's as big as the promise - the promise of the coming day

The track finishes enigmatically with Stills sailing off into the the night

so we cheated and we lied and we tested

and we never failed to fail - it was the easiest thing to do

you will survive being bested;

somebody fine will come along and make me forget about loving you

Here's hoping.

At his best (which admittedly doesn't happen too often) Stills is a s good as anyone and a cracking guitarist - thank goodness for his bad teeth or he'd have wound up in the Monkees.

bottom of page