Crosby, Stills & Nash

Long Time Gone

Composed by David Crosby

Song Review by

This is one of David Crosby’s most direct, confrontational and politically motivated musical statements. Although penned in response to a specific incident -- the assassination of Bobby Kennedy -- the song’s call to arms message continues to resonate. While Crosby takes credit for writing the tune, he is also quick to add that it was Stephen Stillswho brought the track to life. As he had done throughout a majority of the Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969) debut effort, Stills, ever the multi-instrumentalist, provides “Long Time Gone” with a remarkably solid bed of bass, organ and some scathing lead electric guitar, perfectly complementing the lyrical content. Meanwhile, the track’s cohesive ‘live’ band sound is augmented only by drummer Dallas Taylor and Crosby’s own strident rhythm guitar work.

The obvious disgust and resentment in Crosby’s vocal delivery has, if anything, grown more resolute in the subsequent decades as the message of questioning authority and the rights of the individual to be heard and acknowledged by their respective governments continued to be challenged. There are several notable concert recordings of “Long Time Gone” available. The song -- especially when Neil Young was in the fold -- became a tremendous showcase -- as well as showdown -- for the three electric guitar slingers Crosby, Stills and Young. The live version by the quartet can be heard on Four Way Street (1971), while an equally incendiary reading can be found by the core trio on No Nukes (1980). Plus, Crosby has also issued solo performances on It’s All Coming Back To Me Now … (1994) -- featuring Nash on vocals -- and with CPR on Live at the Wiltern (1999).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Crosby, Stills & Nash 1969 Rhino 4:17
No Image 1970
Various Artists
Warner Home Video
No Nukes 1980
Various Artists
Elektra 5:16
Daylight Again [Video/DVD] 1983 Rhino
No Image 1990
Various Artists
CSN [Box Set] 1991 Atlantic / Rhino
Rock Goes to the Movies: In Dreams 1993
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
The Acoustic Concert 2004 Rhino
Greatest Hits 2005 Warner Bros. / Warner Music 4:17
Grammy Awards: 50th Anniversary Collection 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory
CSN 2012 [Blu-Ray] 2012 CSN Records
CSN 2012 2012 CSN Records 6:30
No Image
Various Artists
Elektra / Rhino 5:23
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes Rhino 4:17
blue highlight denotes editor's pick