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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Communicating -- sufficiently

“Language is an inadequate form of communication. If you've ever picked up an instrument, it's because you don't feel you are communicating sufficiently.” – Stephen Stills

Best known as part of two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame groups – Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Stephen Arthur Stills was born on this date in 1945, a literal “rolling stone.”  The son of military parents, he traveled the world in his growing up years and didn’t quite know where to call home as he and his family moved from place to place.

Those experiences combined with his amazing musical talent led him into professional performance before he was out of his teen years and, ultimately, into the Hall of Fame.  Both his musicianship (he performed on multiple instruments) and his writing (most of the songs of the two groups noted above plus a longstanding solo list) have made him an American musical icon.

                                                Ranked as Rolling Stone magazine’s 28th All Time Greatest guitarist, Stills’ writing compliments his wide range of lyrics addressing everything from the American scene to politics to love.  His “Love The One You’re With” is ranked one of the 100 all-time greatest.   He also has written many, many songs for other singers and about other singers, including Judy Collins, with whom he had a longstanding on-again, off-again relationship, fostering the album “Suite:  Judy Blue Eyes.”  He said she was a great influence on his writing.  There are three things men can do with women,” he said.  “Love them, suffer for them, or turn them into literature.  I’ve had my share of success and failure at all three.”

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