Stephen Stills: Helplessly Hoping

June 28, 2007

In my opinion, this is one of Crosby Stills and Nash’s best songs, written by Stephen Stills and on their first album. Stephen Stills, fresh from the Buffalo Springfield, sings the melody on bottom, David Crosby, recently booted from the Byrds, sings the middle voice, and Graham Nash, formerly of the Hollies, sings high tenor.

The song is harmonically noteworthy because it begins on vi, or the submediant, and never really settles down to the tonic until the end of each version. That’s excellent harmonic control.

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