The title is, of course, a play on words. But it’s also accurate. Stephen Stills wrote the four-part medley about his impending breakup with Judy Collins, a well-known singer at the time. As the story goes, the all-star band Crosby, Stills and Nash was founded by Stills (then part of Buffalo Springfield), David Crosby (the Byrds) and Graham Nash (the Hollies) at either the home of Joni Mitchell or Mama Cass Elliot (the answer depends on which band member you’re talking to) when they started harmonizing together, most likely to this very song. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” opened their first self-titled album in 1969. The roughly three-minute-long first movement could be a self-sufficient pop song in its own right. But it keeps building for close to seven minutes — first to a section of Stills’ vocal solos and finally to the “doo doo doo” coda and tight three-part harmonies that have come to define CSN (and sometimes Y). And though Stills played the song personally for Collins, it couldn’t repair the relationship. But out of that breakup, we got an incredible trio and one of pop music’s great long tracks.
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