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Stills, Stephen (3rd January 1945-Present)

He is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and multi-musician born in Dallas, Texas whose family worked in the military and his growing up years were spent at various locations in North and South America with his high school graduation being in the Panama Canal Zone.  He took his further education at the University of Florida but left there in the early 1960s deciding he wanted to follow the path of a career in music.

Moving to New York he sang solo in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse and joined up with several bands such as The Continentals, where a co-member was Don Felder.  He later sang with Richie Furay in the harmony singing nonet, the Au Go Go Singers, and was with them in 1964 when they recorded their only album release, They Call Us Au Go Go Singers.

After the group had disbanded in 1965 he co-founded The Company with four of his previous co-members and while they were on a tour of Canada he met up with Neil Young.  The Company only lasted a matter of months after the tour and following their split he unsuccessfully auditioned for The Monkees, but recommended his ex-room mate Peter Torkelson who landed the part, and embarked on doing session work.

He gained some attention when his song “Sit Down, I Think I Love You” became a minor hit for The Mojo Men prior to it later being recorded by his own band.

Still in contact with Richie Furay, the two of them took the plunge and moved to California, where they also met back up with Neil Young.  The three of them formed Buffalo Springfield and saw some success with the hit single “For What It’s Worth” and the release of three albums but eventually decided to go their own ways.

Around the same time he and David Crosby were invited to go to Joni Mitchell’s house and Mama Cass Elliott met them there with Graham Nash.  This resulted in the formation of the acclaimed Crosby, Stills & Nash and also several paintings of the three being done by Joni Mitchell.  On their first album he did much of the work such as overdubbing himself and then for the second album Neil Young came on-board resulting in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

From their beginnings, in the late 1960s, their popularity throughout the world was immense and even though there were break-ups and Neil Young left the group they still toured and recorded until at least 2015.

He also released several of his own works as a solo artist throughout the years and put out his debut album in 1970 which produced the hit “Love the One You’re With”.

In 1971 he formed the group Manassas with Chris Hillman from The Byrds and this led to further touring and recording.  1975 saw him changing record label and releasing two further solo albums and in 1976, after an attempted reunion with Neil Young and the other members of CSN had failed, he and Young teamed up as The Stills-Young Band.  This was short-lived and he went back to rejoin to CSN in 1977 and they have been back together ever since.

His songwriting has included such titles as “Bluebird”, “Change Partners”, “For What It’s Worth”, “Helplessly Hoping”, “4+20”, “Southern Cross”, “Wooden Ships” and “You Don’t Have to Cry” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, with several being written for his on-off girlfriend at the time, Judy Collins.  Many other artists such as David Axelrod, Bonnie Bramlett, Bucks Fizz, Cher, Chicago, Joe Cocker, Hugh Cornwell, Decameron, Dodgy, Billy Eckstine, Percy Faith, Aretha Franklin, Astrud Gilberto, Bobby Goldsboro, Richie Havens, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Isley Brothers, Jefferson Starship, The King’s Singers, Steve Lukather, Miriam Makeba, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, The Muppets, The Neville Brothers, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Poco, The Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Rawls, REO Speedwagon, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Rush, Sam & Dave, Bob Seger, The Searchers, Sherbet, The Staple Singers, Styx, The Supremes & The Four Tops, Luther Vandross, Joe Vitale, Yes, Will Young and The Zombies have recorded these songs as well as himself as a solo artist, CSN and Buffalo Springfield.

Often performing with other artists he has worked with Hoyt Axton, Joan Baez, Mickey Hart, Humble Pie, Jefferson Airplane, Booker T. Jones, Russ Kunkel, The Monkees, The Michael Schenker Group, John Sebastian, Doris Troy and Bill Withers among countless others.

The numerous albums he has featured on include his own Illegal Stills, Just Roll Tape, Man Alive!, Right By YouStephen Stills, Stephen Stills 2, Stills, Stills Alone, Thoroughfare Gap and Turnin’ Back the Pages as well as Children of the World by Bee Gees, Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again by Buffalo Springfield, Crossroads by Eric Clapton, Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Judy Collins, Rita Coolidge by Rita Coolidge, Allies, Carry On, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Daylight Again and Live It Up by Crosby Stills & Nash, American Dream, Deja` Vu and 4 Way Street by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Dream a Little Dream of Me by Mama Cass Elliott, Cry of Love by Jimi Hendrix, Loggins & Messina by Loggins & Messina, Manassas and Down the Road with Manassas, Stop and Smell the Roses by Ringo Starr, Long May You Run with The Stills-Young Band and Harvest by Neil Young.

His abilities as a guitarist have not gone un-noticed, with him being ranked #28 in the “Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in 2003 by Rolling Stone, and his unique style of tuning and playing have been said to show some influence from his close friend Jimi Hendrix’s style.  In fact, it has been said that it is thought that Jimi Hendrix’s appearance on his debut album may have been the last recording he ever made.  At the same time he has been dubbed “Captain Manyhands” and is recognised for being a multi-instrumentalist, playing the bass, drums, piano and organ amongst others. In fact, he performed most of the instruments on the CSN album.

In recognition of his contribution to music he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame twice in the same night in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield and CSN.

In more recent years he has been a member and delegate of the Democratic Credentials Committee in Florida, appeared as a guest musician with Jimmy Buffett in 2004, released a solo album in 2005, sang the National Anthem for the first game of the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals and toured with the ensemble called The Quartet as well as with CSN.

The start of 2008 saw him hospitalised to undergo an operation for the early stages of prostate cancer.  He has 5 children, with two of them being recording artists, and his youngest son having been born in 2004.  He has set up the Stephen Stills Children’s Music Project to assist children, mainly from poor areas, with various musical programs.