From the moment Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, and David Crosby first harmonized together in 1968 they have been inextricably linked, their voices melding into the perfect marriage of folk grace and pop beauty.
The band has always carried the weight of rock and pop history, and through massive amounts of sheer talent and perseverance have managed to transcend a complicated back story, their own egos, prodigious drug use, Neil Young's fickle nature, and the ravages of time.
When the band takes the stage at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre Tuesday night each of the members brings with him a rich catalog of songs that have become 20th century rock standards -- "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Wooden Ships," "Long Time Gone," "Just a Song Before I Go" -- and a long track record of success.
The band was formed in 1968 after each of the members had either left or been kicked out of another highly successful group. Stills was a key member of the Buffalo Springfield, Nash was lead singer of the British pop group the Hollies, and Crosby had been in the Byrds. Each of them was disenchanted with his previous band and ready to try something new.
The band's first album in 1969, called simply "Crosby, Stills & Nash," was an immediate success and the group was launched into the mainstream with its unique mix of folk, pop, and rock. But it also set in motion a series of moves that would portend a stormy existence.
Young was added to the group after that first album because they needed a second guitarist. The resulting super group would be marked by huge commercial attention thanks to songs such as "Ohio," "Teach Your Children," and "Woodstock," and tumult.
Young still worked with Crazy Horse and pursued his solo career, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash all released popular solo albums. Additionally, Stills formed a side band, Manassas that released a double album during that same period.
And the marriage of the idiosyncratic stubborn individualism of Young with three other headstrong artists was always shaky and marked by breakups, makeups, and more breakups. As recently as 2006 the four have toured together.
Crosby, Stills & Nash's second album, "CSN," was released in 1977 and it contained enough hits and strong material to challenge Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album for chart supremacy. Unfortunately, Stills and Crosby headed down drug-filled paths that would derail both of their careers throughout the '80s and nearly kill Crosby, who underwent a liver transplant in 1995.
Over the years the band has recorded two more studio albums -- "Daylight Again" (1982) and "After the Storm" (1994) -- which means that a group that has been working together for four decades has only produced four discs of new material. They have released a number of albums in other configurations, including solo, as Crosby & Nash, and with other bands and artists.
Crosby, Stills & Nash also became synonymous with a number of political causes including the anti-nuclear movement and the Vietnam war.
They have toured regularly over the years and despite their ages -- Crosby and Nash are 70 and Stills is 67 -- have earned a reputation as a sturdy live band that can still hit those pristine harmonies that define an entire generation of music lovers' experiences.
According to a check of set lists online, the band is playing a career-spanning show that includes definitive CSN hits, solo tracks, CSN&Y songs such as "Almost Cut My Hair," "Our House," and "Carry On" and even "For What It's Worth," from Stills' stint in Buffalo Springfield.
The band, which performed at the zoo in 2009, will play nearly two dozen songs and the show is split into two sets with an intermission.
Tickets for Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. concert are $37.50, $57.50, and $75 and are available at all TicketMaster locations, livenation.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 or 419-385-5721, or at the Toledo Zoo main box office Monday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The box office is in the Visitor Service/Guest Information Building. Enter from the Anthony Wayne Trail side of the zoo. All concerts are in the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater, near the box office.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6159.