Fifty years ago, singer-songwriter Stephen Stills met singer-songwriter Judy Collins, known for her piercing ocean blue eyes. Their tumultuous love affair would later be immortalized by Stills with his composition “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” performed by Crosby, Stills & Nash on their landmark debut. Both artists would go on to shape modern music with visionary approaches, but Stills and Collins’ short fiery union remains a transformative era for the two artists.
This summer, the two icons of folk celebrated the golden anniversary of their formative time together. They appeared Saturday, Sept 9, at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. Their joint summer tour marks the first time ever Stills and Collins have been onstage together. The two music legends pulled from their rich catalogs, debut songs from their new album, “Stills & Collins,” to be released Sept. 22, and shared warm and intimate stories from their journeys and the 1960s folk and Laurel Canyon scenes they helped build.
Stills and Collins met in 1967 and dated for two years. Stills wrote and demoed his legendary love song to Collins right after he left Buffalo Springfield, before he joined CSN. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is a five-section romantic epic brimming with heartfelt sincerity. The song has been ranked No. 418 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time Poll.
Stills is known for his work with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and his solo work. In addition to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” Stills is best known for the hits “ For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and “Love The One You’re With” from his solo debut, Stephen Stills. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and ranked No. 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “The 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time.” He also has the added distinction of being the first artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice in one night (for his work with CSN and Buffalo Springfield). He recently released a sophomore album with The Rides, the blues-rock supergroup he formed in 2013 with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg, and is currently putting the finishing touches on his long-awaited, much-anticipated autobiography.
Click to see all of Larry Sabo’s images of Stills & Collins.