Crosby, Stills & Nash: “Southern Cross” (1982)

Yeah, so it does sort of sound like a lost Fleetwood Mac song, but it’s a cross that CSN bears with grace.

Kronomyth 7.2: Our hurt is quiet and our hearts tamed, as the sea may yet be tamed.*

“Southern Cross” has its origins in a different song, “Seven League Boots,” written by The Curtis Brothers and recorded with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (of future Fleetwood fame) in 1974. Stephen Stills rewrote the lyrics, added a new chorus and recorded it for CSN’s Daylight Again. Stills’ version is the clear winner, here re-cast as a healing sea journey, a retreat from the pain of love rather than a passionate pursuit after it as originally envisioned.

A music video was also produced, featuring the trio singing in the dark interspersed with film of Stills sailing that appears to date from 1977. (In a confusing move, the picture sleeve repurposed the cover artwork from their last album to extend the sailing motif.) The single version of “Southern Cross” is 40-45 seconds shorter than the elpee version and fades early at the end. The flip side is Graham Nash’s “Into The Darkness,” presumably written about David Crosby’s drug addiction and identical to the elpee version.

*From “Sea-Heroes” by Hilda Doolittle.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Southern Cross (Stephen Stills/Richard Curtis/Michael Curtis) (4:00)
B1. Into The Darkness (Graham Nash) (3:20)

Original 7-inch promotional single
A1. Southern Cross (short version) (3:55)
B1. Southern Cross (long version) (4:40)

7-inch single reissue (Atlantic Oldies Series)
A1. Wasted On The Way (Graham Nash) (2:52)
B1. Southern Cross (Stephen Stills/Richard Curtis/Michael Curtis) (3:55)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch in September 1982 in the US (Atlantic, 7-89969) and Germany (Atlantic, 78-9969) with picture sleeve. Reached #18 on the US charts (charted on September 18, 1982 for 17 weeks). Also released as two-track promotional 7-inch single in 1982 in the US (Atlantic, 7-89969).

  1. Re-released with “Wasted On The Way” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in the US (Atlantic Oldies Series, OS-13257) {brown label}.
  2. Re-issued with “Wasted On The Way” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in the US (Atlantic Oldies Series, OS-13257) {silver label}.

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