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Graham Nash “Our House”

| February 2, 2014 | 9 Comments

To celebrate Graham Nash’s birthday today, here is the story—in his own words—behind the classic “Our House,” one of the sweetest love songs ever written. Happy birthday, Graham!

“I came to live in America in 1969 and stayed with David [Crosby] for a couple of nights. He threw me a party and invited Joni [Mitchell] whom I hadn’t seen since meeting her when I played with the Hollies. After that party I went home with Joni and spent a couple of years with her in her home in Laurel Canyon.

“One day Joan and I got up and went to breakfast at a delicatessen on Ventura Boulevard, and a few doors away there was a little antique store, and in the window Joan saw this vase, went inside, fell in love with it, bought it and brought it back to the house.

“It was a kind of a cold gray morning as it sometimes can be in Los Angeles, and I said, ‘Why don’t I light the fire and you put some flowers in the vase that you just bought.” So she’s cutting stems and leaves and arranging flowers in this vase, and I’d lit the fire. Now, my and Joan’s life at the time were far from ordinary … and I thought, ‘What an ordinary moment.’ Here I am lighting the fire for my old lady and she’s putting flowers in this vase that she just bought. And I sat down at Joan’s piano and an hour later, ‘Our House’ was written.

“I think the only thing that I’ve ever really tried to do with whatever talent I was given by God, is that I want to touch people’s lives for the better. I have no choice about this writing thing; I have no idea where it comes from; I don’t want to question it too much. But I am so grateful that I can write.”

(The iconic 1969 photo of Graham and Joni was taken by the wonderful Henry Diltz [www.morrisonhotelgallery.com]. They were on the way to Big Bear to shoot photos for Crosby, Stills and Nash’s first album, and Joni went along for the ride to be with Graham.)

Category: Behind The Song

Comments (9)

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  1. Nick Brett says:

    I’m a British guy and have been a CSN fan since the beginning – hated the Hollies but loved the BYrds when I was at school…driving the Pacific Highway and staying the night in Santa Barbara for the first time. Wondered if Graham had ever lived here and Googled him, hence finding this web entry. Great song, brought back happy memories… Happy Birthday, Graham, and bet you’re glad you left The Hollies!

  2. Jeff says:

    Lydia,

    Thank you for the fast reply! I have been studying rock lyrics and history as a hobby for over 40 years and every now and then I become stuck on some very obscure pieces of information. The knowledge really helps me connect to the music when I listen to it and these are some of my favorite artists.

    Jeff

  3. Lydia says:

    Jeff — I remember Henry Diltz told me the song she was writing that day was “Willy” which is about Graham (William is his middle name).

  4. Jeff Perkins says:

    Great song! Thanks! There is another picture of Joni and Graham in the car on the way to Big Bear lake and she is writing a song on a yellow pad of paper. Do you know what song Joni was writing in that picture? I read about it somewhere but do not remember the song name or where I first read about they enlarged the image and could read the lyrics.

  5. Amy K. says:

    Great story, wonderful video. I sang along and started to cry when the whole audience came in with them. A lot of love here.

  6. Dan Beach says:

    Thanks, Lydia, for bringing out this iconic song. It never fails to tweak my senses and remembrances of a lovely time. Grahams’s story makes it so real and uncontrived.

  7. Doug Williams says:

    Oh, how I love to hear the story behind the rhyme!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Some nice quotes from the great Graham Nash here. He certainly does touch people’s hearts to this day and I would love to see C/N, CSN or just plain N again soon.

    God bless Graham for not burying his talent in the sand but having it return a thousand-fold!

  9. SHirley W says:

    I hope Graham’s birthday brings him as much joy as he has brought me for the past 40+ years. In times of happiness or when I am feelin down, his and CSN music has brought me peace and solice. May he celebrate many many more.

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