After a 50-year friendship and a failed romance that inspired an undisputed rock classic, Judy Collins and Stephen Stills are making beautiful music together…again.
The 78-year-old Collins and Stills, 72, are touring behind their joint album Everybody Knows, a reference to the Leonard Cohen cover tune they recorded. The 10-song collection also features Stills’ long-lost 1968 cut “Judy” and Collins’ Stills-inspired “Houses.”
Speaking to the New Yorker, Stills dubbed the album “the world’s oldest blooming flower” and recalls first meeting Collins at an Eric Clapton show at the Whiskey nightclub in Los Angeles in the late ‘60s.
“I kissed her hand,” he says. “And she said, ‘Oh, these kids!’ But I was in the perfect mental state to be overwhelmed by an older woman. And those eyes are even better live.”
Collins responds, “I don’t really remember that night. I was probably very drunk. I had that tendency in those days.”
The pair quickly became a couple. “It was very intense,” Collins says, “and full of the music. You have to imagine: you’re sitting in the studio with someone who is so brilliant, and you are both so ambitious.”
But their bi-coastal relationship didn’t last. Stills explains, “I was off to be a rock star. She was off to be a glamour-puss.” But their romance did inspire the classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” which Stills composed in the spring of 1968. It appeared on Crosby, Stills & Nash’s self-titled debut album the next year.
The two got reacquainted while sharing the bill at, of all, things, an AARP convention. Stills admits, “We laughed so hard about that. But then there was this thought: Maybe it’s time we finished things off.”
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