CSNY painted by Guy Peellaert in ‘Rock Dreams’
Although Neil Young apparently hated doing TV shows—one of the main reasons he supposedly left the Buffalo Springfield in 1967 was not wanting to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson—by 1969 Young had given a bit on this front, as he agreed to appear along with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills on the This is Tom Jones TV show. CSNY did a short “You Don’t Have To Cry” and then the Welsh belter joined them, as was the custom on his program.
From Jimmy McDonough’s Young bio, Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography:
September 6 also brought a surreal appearance on the This Is Tom Jones variety show, featuring Jones himself bellowing lead vocal on Crosby’s “Long Time Gone.”
“It was highly rated, sold a lotta records, but in retrospect it was embarrassing, just a bad call’, said Elliot Roberts. ‘Neil went, ‘The Tom Jones show! What possessed you? It’s that shit.’ He always used to say ‘that shit’. Crosby had this weed of doom… Neil never forgave me for that. He ripped me about it for a very, very long time. Years.’”
Given that nearly five decades have passed since this was taped, it’s actually pretty amazing. Nothing to be ashamed of, certainly. Tom Jones and his show might’ve been seen as somewhat “square” by the rockstar standards of CSNY—Nash would’ve been acquainted with the Welsh singer from his days in the Hollies, no doubt—but the man’s mighty lungs inspire the rest of them to keep up, it must be said. I love how (an obviously manic) Stephen Stills rises to the occasion with his, er, intense vocal contribution near the end. Bassist Greg Reeves might’ve only been fifteen years old when this was shot—look at how skinny he was—and that’s Dallas Taylor on drums. You’ll note how the expression on Young’s face goes from one of disdain/‘What am I doing here?” to “This fucking rocks” about halfway through. The goofy expression on Croz’s mug needs no further explanation.
More after the jump…